Why Do I Need Baseboard Heater Backplates & Wall Brackets?

If you’re researching how to install a new baseboard heater or baseboard heater cover, you’ve likely come across some terms like “backplates” (or back plates) and “wall brackets” (or baseboard heater wall support brackets).

Let’s go over what each of these pieces are and why they are needed for a baseboard heater.

What Are Backplates & Wall Brackets?

A backplate is the piece of metal attached to the wall behind the baseboard heating element. It was originally a part of the exterior structure of the baseboard heater unit that supported it when attached to the wall.

Until Baseboarders® came along, the entire unit, including the backplate, would have to be replaced when an update was needed. However, Baseboarders® is designed to use the existing backplate so an update can be accomplished much more easily (and quickly).

Wall brackets are used to support a baseboard heater cover that doesn't have a backplate or needs additional support. They are attached to the wall and the baseboard heater cover is attached or hung on the brackets. Baseboarders® covers can be installed with brackets alone. If you have no backplate to work with, our products are a perfect option.

Wall brackets are also used when the existing backplate isn't as tall as the new baseboard heater cover. The old backplate does not have to be removed to install a cover using brackets.

Why Are Backplates & Wall Brackets Needed for Baseboard Heaters?

Backplates and brackets are essential to attach a baseboard heater cover to the wall. Whether you need one, the other, or even both is determined by your specific situation. You'll need to collect some measurements, inspect your current set up, and your new baseboard covers to figure out which is best.  Here's a quick guide.

When to Use Backplates for Installing a Replacement Cover

Backplates provide a framework of sorts for the baseboard heater cover to sit on. These are separate from the hot water pipes, fins, and other inner workings and are not necessary for the heater to function. 

That said, older homes with baseboard heating backplates attached directly to the wall with screws or nails can make it difficult to remove them during replacement. This is the very reason Baseboarders® was created. Our replacement covers are designed to simply slip on the existing backplate, making an update of the old cover an easy (and affordable) process. No demo. No endless hours of work. Just remove the old cover and replace it with a new cover. 

If using the existing backplate for installation, the minimum measurement must be at least 7-½” off the floor to accommodate the height of the endcap.  If your measurement is less than 7-½ tall,  you will need wall brackets for proper installation. No need to remove your old backplates. Just secure the wall brackets above the backplate and cover the whole thing with a new Baseboarders® panel.

When to Use Wall Brackets for Installing a Replacement Cover

Wall brackets are not necessary for all baseboard heaters. However, if any of the following is true with your baseboard heaters, you will need wall brackets. These conditions include: 

  1. If the existing backplate is shorter than 7-1/2” (shorter than 9-½” when using Premium Tall) from floor to top measurement
  2. If the existing back plate has been removed leaving only the finned tube heating element and pipes
  3. New construction homes/sites where a backplate has not been installed behind the new baseboard heater
  4. With electric baseboard heaters (which do not have backplate on the wall)

 

If you find you need wall brackets, purchase the Baseboarders® WB001 Wall Bracket (comes with a No. 6 wood screw). This wall bracket is 1-1/4” tall and available in White and also in each of our three special order color options. Please note the wall bracket will raise your overall installation height by 1-¼”. 

A good example is when a measurement of  7-¼” from the floor to the top of the backplate requires the use of wall brackets for proper installation.  The new installation height becomes 8-½” (7-¼” + 1-¼”). With an installation height of 8-½”, there will be a 1” space from the floor to the bottom of the endcap and a 1-¾” space from the floor to the bottom of the panel, which is fine as long as your heating fins do not show from underneath the panel.

Our products are designed for hydronic (hot water type) baseboard heaters, but can also be used with electric baseboard heaters. (see point #4 above). As always, be careful whenever using electric baseboard heaters as electric units generate higher surface temperatures.

How Many Wall Brackets to Purchase?

For panels that are 5’ long or less, you will need to use two wall brackets each (see image below for placement near each end of the panel).  For panels longer than 5’, you will need three wall brackets each.

How Exactly Do You Replace Baseboard Heater Covers Again? 

With Baseboarders® slip-on baseboard heater covers, you do not need any tools. All you have to do is remove the existing end caps and front cover, and then replace them with the new front cover and end caps. If there is a metal backplate in place, there is no need to remove it or touch any of the heating elements. 

 

Yes, replacing old baseboard heater covers with new ones from Baseboarders® is an easy tool-free reno job. Now with the bases covered ahead of purchase, you know whether or not you need to use your existing backplate for installation or use our wall brackets.

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