This is a guide about installing kitchen cabinets over baseboard heating. Modifying your cabinetry during installation can save some time and money. It is important to plan ahead before you begin.
Preparation: The first step in this project was finding the location of our baseboard heating and marking the final height of the cabinets. If you live in a cold climate, it is necessary to determine how your cabinetry will affect the heating system within your home. Elements such as electrical switches and outlets should also be located and marked before installation to avoid costly mistakes.
Tools: The following tools were used for this project:
- Tape measure
- Chalk line
- Hammer and nails
- Router with a flush-cut bit
- Drill with driving bits
Tools mentioned above can be purchased at any home improvement store or via Amazon.
Materials: The following materials were used for this project:
- Baseboard heating
- Kitchen cabinet plywood bottom shelves
- Panel adhesive
*Note* If you are installing kitchen cabinets over tile or stone, it is recommended that you purchase high-grade panel adhesive.
Step 1: Locate your baseboard heating and mark the height of where you want your cabinets to be installed. If this is a new project, take into account the height of appliances that will be going into your kitchen as well as where outlets should be placed to avoid cutting through electrical wiring later on during cabinet installation.
Step 2: Cut your cabinet plywood bottom shelves to the width of your baseboard heater and nail it into place. The nails should be countersunk below the surface of the plywood so there is no risk of puncturing your heating element.
Step 3: Mark the location of electrical outlets for future reference if not marking during step 1. Be careful not to mark through electrical wires when doing so.
Step 4: Using a router with a flush-cut bit, trim the bottom to size so that the cabinets fit tightly against the baseboard heater. This is not necessary for tile or stone installations as there will be no gap between your floor and cabinet. Caution should be used in this step since electricity can still be running through the baseboard heating. A router is a very powerful piece of equipment and if not careful, you could cause serious injury to yourself or damage to your cabinets and walls.
Step 5: Apply panel adhesive to the backside of your cabinetry and install it over the top of your cabinets.
Step 6: Once the adhesive has dried, your cabinets should be ready for use. If you are installing over tile or stone, it is recommended that you lay a layer of mortar underneath the cabinets before setting it into place to create a stronger bond between tiles or slab and cabinetry. It is always best to pre-fit your cabinetry before installation to ensure proper measurements were taken.
Can you put a shelf above a baseboard heater?
Yes. It is possible to place shelves above the metal elements of a baseboard heater heating system. The heaters themselves will not get hot enough to melt or scorch the wood, even if the wood touches them while they are on high. You should use care in selecting your support system for your shelf, keeping in mind that it may need to support more weight than it does currently.
The shelf will need some sort of support at the wall on which it projects out from. A common method is a metal strip with a groove cut into it that can slot onto the baseboard heater’s metal element and hold there securely, leaving enough room for you to slip your shelf into the groove.
Second support for your shelf is necessary, as it will sit on top of your metal element and rest on the shelf itself (unless you construct a bracket system that sits within the groove). A shortboard cut to width and installed at an angle from the wall towards one end of the shelf can be the support that you need.
Weight and Balance
With metal baseboard heaters that are not designed to be removed or moved, the shelf weight will likely rest on the element itself, as well as resting against the metal strip which supports it at the wall end; this may cause your shelf to become warped over time if enough weight is applied.
Metal heating elements that are designed to be removed and reattached (many newer models) may need a board cut and placed vertically under the shelf, as it rests on top of the element: this allows the weight to rest more evenly on both supports.
Wood shelves will become heavy when loaded with books or other heavy objects; most boards will bow or sag after a certain point (such as 10 pounds per square foot).
If you find that your shelf bows under the weight of items on it, you can either cut and install diagonal supports at the wall end of the board to prevent inward warping or purchase longer screws and drill new holes in order to shift the shelf’s position on the metal element; you can also use brackets (for shelf support) in combination with longer screws to prevent warping.
Can you put furniture against baseboard heating?
This is a common question and there is no concrete answer. It really depends on the type of baseboard heating you have installed in your home.
There are two types of baseboard heating: convection and radiant. Convection heaters blow air through them which takes the warmth from the heater and spreads it throughout the room (like an electric fan heater). Radiant heaters emit infrared radiation (heat) which warms people and objects in the room, like an oven.
An easy way to tell if you have radiant or convection baseboard heating is that if your baseboards are hot then you most likely have radiant; if your baseboards don’t feel warm then you probably have convection heaters.
With convection heaters, it is not recommended to place furniture against them because the air being blown can have an under-cabinet effect and cause things placed underneath the cabinet to slide or fall over. For this reason, you should keep your baseboards clear of objects at least 15cm away from heating elements.
Having said that, it is totally optional, some people do put furniture against baseboard heating and some people don’t.
It’s probably fine as long as there is still enough space between the heater and your furniture so that air can circulate behind the heater. If your baseboards are in good condition and properly maintained, you shouldn’t have to worry about furniture or any other items getting too hot.
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