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Cast iron radiators- is there water in the feet?

murthogmurthog Member Posts: 4
Strange title, I know, but I need to cut about 1 inch from the center feet of a 5 foot 6 inch cast iron radiator.

Due to an unwise installation, the floor has collapsed under the center feet, and distorted the old tongue and groove flooring. See images.

The quick fix is to remove 1 inch from the center feet only and realign the floor boards.

Does the water jacket extend down into the feet casting? and if so, how far?


  • ALIGAALIGA Member Posts: 194
    i am pretty sure it is solid to support the weight.

    but hopefully someone chimes in and confirms.
  • murthogmurthog Member Posts: 4
    Wet feet?

    "i am pretty sure it is solid to support the weight.

    but hopefully someone chimes in and confirms."

    I would think so too-also to make sure that the mount point does not get hot.

    I would like to be sure, before I cut. Thanks
  • Steam_StarterSteam_Starter Member Posts: 87
    Holy Moly!

    That rad has to weigh more than a VW bus!

    You might be better off removing the rad itself to repair the floorboards.  Then installing a "platform" of some sort to disperse the weight of the rad over the joists.  Otherwise, you are just going to wreck the floorboards again. 

    This would entail changing the riser and lengthening the return pipe which might be very difficult but not impossible.  When I replaced all of the flooring on my second floor I pulled all the nipple risers which were 5" and went to 6" nipples.  It was tough to get them out but they came out with a little penetrating oil and a big butt cheater bar on my pipe wrench.

    Good luck!
    "Hey, it looks good on you though..."
  • murthogmurthog Member Posts: 4
    Limited options


    Thanks for the advice, but removing the radiator would drain and shut down the whole system. In a 240-year-old house. Which has no flat even floors anywhere!

    The heater is level now. And supported at either end on 12 inch oak beams. There is no weight in the center. If I put it on a platform, the angle will rise about 2 inches at one end.

    The decision to cut the feet came after exploring every other option. I'm hoping that someone has an image of, or experience with, what the lower insides of these monsters looks like.
  • Steam_StarterSteam_Starter Member Posts: 87

    Here are a couple of posts I found on the subject...,377329

    And if you look at the "end shot" picture it seems like there is some sort of ridge or seam just above the legs.  That would lead me to believe that they are solid.

    It makes sense that the legs are NOT hollow.  However, the back one might be a struggle to cut against the wall?

    Are you going to resupport the center of the rad after cutting?  Eventual sagging would most-likely crack the rad. 
    "Hey, it looks good on you though..."
  • Tim_The_ToolmanTim_The_Toolman Member Posts: 2
    Feet serve a purpose

    I do not recomend taking away the center support on this radiator. They are there for a reason, for center support.

    Doing so may in time cause the unit to sag and leak. As this picture shows the weight of the unit has settled in and cracked the floor boards.  

    Typicaly these units can be jacked up just enough (fractions of an inch) on both ends to then replace the boards and add support where its needed. Or satrt at one end and move jacks as you progress.

    Good luck
  • Is it a hollow leg??

    I would not take a chance on cutting the feet off. Jack it up a fraction, and therefore gain clearance for the repair. When you let it down, use some 1/4 inch plates to spread the load.--NBC
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Radiator with middle leg:

    The carpenter in me says to be very careful. I would say that there are other issues that an old house carpenter might see that someone else might blindly rush in and create another dilemma. From what I see of the under floor framing, it has made that spot on the back of my neck get hot.

    If the house is a Vic, it's probably balloon framed. Perhaps the "ribbon" that holds the joists (that is notched into the wall studs) has broken. Perhaps, because the supply and return for the radiator that was run into the corner was run into the wall below. Are the pipes exposed in the room below?

    You need to get a mirror and look in there. Or find someone with a "See Snake" device and look for what is wrong.

    That radiator is an old dog. You probably have a lot more like it without feet. Find the longest one without middle feet. If it's a Longfellow", without the feet, it will give you some idea as to how long a radiator has to be before it needs the center feet. You need to look farther into why the radiator did what it did. It wasn't like that when the old dead guys installed it.

  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Parallell Flooring:

    It also appears that the finish flooring is run parallel with the floor framing joists instead of perpendicular. That makes it so that the joists only have the flooring underneath to hold them in place and not the joists.

    Like I said, you need an old dog carpenter that knows old houses in your area. It is an art and a science.  Where do you live?
  • MDNLansingMDNLansing Member Posts: 297
    edited November 2013
    Sagging Rad

    Originally that floor and radiator would have been straight and level. If it is high in the middle, the ends are sagging. That could cause water to pool in the end and put strain on the rad sections.. Eventually, this will keep sagging and the rad sections will separate and start leaking. Its a far better option to jack it up and level it.
  • murthogmurthog Member Posts: 4
    Thanks to all who answered.

    Just to clarify.

    The radiator weight is NOT the major cause of the floor distortion. There is a clearance of 1/4 inch under the center feet.

    The astute observation -"It also appears that the finish flooring is run parallel with the floor framing joists instead of perpendicular, " gives a clue as to the stupidity involved in the construction of this addition, to what was then an already 150 year old house.

    A 2 x 10 header plate was attached, with square cut nails, driven up on a 30 degree angle, to the exterior of a 12 inch beam. The joists were then run perpendicular to that one plate. Naturally enough, the plate has loosened, causing a high spot in the floor at the original solid beam. There is no easy access to the underneath. Had the T&G been installed properly, there may not have been as noticeable a problem.

    As for "originally that floor and radiator would have been straight and level," I have yet to find a single run of more than about 2 feet anywhere in this 230+ year old house that is "straight and level!"

    I have found enough information here to resolve my problem. I thank you all for your efforts on my behalf.

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