Ah, the trusty radiator pipes. They can look great alongside the right decor, but they can also look rather unattractive, and they can make a room feel unfinished leaving many homeowners with the dilemma of whether or not they should hide their exposed radiator pipes. Fortunately, there are ways to hide these pipes so that you don’t have to see them ever again!
In this article, we’ll explore why some people choose to do so, as well as what advantages and disadvantages there might be. We’ll also offer a few different ways you can go about doing it.
Why Hide Radiator Pipes?
The answer to this question is twofold: aesthetics and safety.
Although clean and shiny copper pipes can look great alongside some decor, especially in a room with a more rustic feel, aesthetically, exposed pipes can look very unappealing in a room that’s trying to be sleek or modern looking. Unfortunately, the pipes are 100% necessary for the radiator system to function properly.
Safety-wise, exposed radiator pipes with no coverings could present some major issues, especially with young children. Children are naturally inquisitive and are completely unaware of the dangers that hot pipes may pose and possible accidents that could happen including severe burns.
How to Hide Exposed Radiator Pipes
There are a few different ways that your exposed copper radiator pipes can be hidden, some of these ways will improve the aesthetic whilst being safe and others are more of a disguise. What you do depends on the reason that you want to hide the pipes in the first place.
Boxing is one of the more common ways to hide your radiator pipes. Boxing means that you can get a clean look with a material of your choosing which can either be left as it is or painted to match the rest of the room.
Some people do not like the look and feel of boxing in their pipes as they can sometimes look a little chunky and make a room feel a little smaller. However, they are one of the safer methods of hiding your exposed pipes to keep them out of the way of your curious little ones.
- Child Safe
- Keeps Pipes from View
- Can be Painted to Match Decor
Another great way to hide your exposed pipes without having your plumbing recessed into the walls or floor is with specially adapted skirting boards that are designed to hide pipes.
The skirting boards have a recessed section in the back that covers the pipes obscuring them from view. These are a great option if the pipes you are trying to hide are running around the bottom of your room, but they cannot be used for vertical pipes that may be going upstairs.
- Child Safe
- Clean Finish
- Keeps Pipes Hidden Well
Cannot be Used on Vertical Pipes
If the majority of your pipework is already hidden but you want to hide the section of pipe that comes up from the floor to the radiator, you can get radiator sleeves.
Radiator sleeves come in a range of colours and finishes to match your room’s decor.
- Hides Small Vertical Pipe from Floor to Radiator
- Different Colours and Finishes
- Cannot be used on Long Horizontal or Vertical pipes
The most obvious way that most people try and disguise their pipes is to paint them. Painting them is a great idea and can look really good if it is done properly although it will not make them any safer for the smaller ones in your house.
It is important that if you decide to paint your pipes, you do so properly and get a nice clean finish. We have a more in-depth guide on painting copper pipes here.
- Can Look Good
- Not Child Safe
- Not Truly Hidden
A common place to find radiators in many rooms is underneath a window and alongside the window, there will often be pipework coming down through the ceiling to reach the radiator.
A well-placed set of curtains can do wonders at hiding the pipes whilst also doing their job of being actual curtains.
Again, this is more of a disguise and not really child safe. You will also need to be careful when choosing your curtain material and although hot pipes are not really a fire risk, you may want to keep your curtains from touching the pipes for any length of time.
Note: Obviously, not all rooms are the same and this option may not be suitable for everyone.
- Vertical Pipes Next to Windows Can be Hidden
- Does Not Detract from the Decor
- Not suitable for Horizontal Pipes
- Not Child safe
- Limited Suitability
Other Notable Ways to Hide Pipes
A couple of other notable ways to hide exposed copper pipes is to use freestanding furniture or large potted plants. That way the disguise actually becomes a feature of the room and people won’t even be looking at the pipes.
There are also other ways such as some other kind of decorative covering or wrapping some kind of replica ivy vine. Really the list is endless depending on your level of creativity.
Things to Consider When Trying to Hide Your Radiator Pipes
There are a couple of things to consider when you are looking at hiding your pipes, not least of all the plumbing and any access that may be required later on.
One important factor to consider is the cost. Having your pipes hidden properly by boxing in or by having specialised skirting is not cheap and if at some point in the future it has to be removed to reach the plumbing, you could be in for another bill.
As you can see there are various different ways to hide exposed radiator pipes. Painting is a great and easily affordable option but just painting alone will not be the safest option for kids.
If you have young children that you are worried about hurting themselves, I think that having the pipes boxed in with custom boxes is the best way to go.
Plumbing Wizard Tips
“If you are boxing in gas pipes, speak with a professional first as there may be rules and regulations that need to be followed!”
“Boxing in is the best option for young children and pets, plus you have more control over how it will look!”
“Make sure that all pipework and fittings can be accessed without causing too much damage – plumbing does fail occasionally!”
“Specialised skirting can be a good option although you may have to shop about to ensure you get one that is the right height for your pipes!”
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you hide exposed radiator pipes?
There are so many ways to hide exposed pipes if you do not like the sight of them. From boxing in and specialised skirting to painting or decorative coverings. It all depends on what you are trying to achieve and your level of creativity.
Can you hide radiator pipes in a wall?
Yes, all water pipes including those for radiators can be recessed into walls although they will need isolation valves in case anything goes awry.
How do you hide vertical radiator pipes?
Vertical radiator pipes are often boxed in. This gives a tidy appearance and can be painted to match the rest of the living space.
I’m Lee the Plumbing Wizard. I’ve been a plumber for over 40 years and have seen it all. People used to call me a magician because I could fix things so easily – hence the name Plumbing Wizard.
I’m always happy to help out a fellow tradesman or woman, so if you need any advice or just someone to talk plumbing with, don’t hesitate to get in touch!