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Radiators on a platform

Jakek Member Posts: 55
I'm considering removing a number of radiators and having them powder coated. While they are in the shop, seems like a good time to improve the area that they occupy. The radiators are mostly propped up on one end to counter the settling of the floor. The look of a radiators on shims has always bugged me so I was wonder if anyone has built a small platform for the radiator and has any tips to do so. The biggest problem would seem to be getting the riser up 1-2" without running a whole new pipe. (Not being a plumber, maybe this is easy.) Suggestions?

I figure the platform should have a base with material less likely to sag and get worn like wood. Granite maybe?


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,916
    You've hit the biggest problem quite neatly. I can think of a dozen ways to handle it, but... the simplest seems to me to punt: check your pipe size(s) and find close nipples the correct length to raise the radiator the amount you want. Hook them to the cop of the existing pipe with a union rather than a simple coupling -- more expensive, but may save heartache later -- and off you go.

    I'd not use granite. It stains. If I could find a place which sold it in the thickness I wanted, I'd use hard New York or Vermont slate, or possibly "bluestone" (really basalt). Do not fall for softer imported slate -- it scratches badly -- nor marble.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,796
    Places that sell granite usually will also carry the type of slate that @Jamie Hall suggests above. When you go to these places they might be happy to get rid of some of the pieces that they have as remnants for cheap or even free. That of course depends on the size that you need.

    Your thought to do this when the rads are out for painting is a very good idea.

    Would like to see the end result.
    If you don't mind, please post some pictures when it is all done.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    If these are radiators on the second floor of a two story home, how about just lifting the flooring off and sistering some 2X's next to the existing joists for added support and relevel the floor. For the radiators on the first floor, jack the joist back up where it has sagged and sister joists from the basement.

    Adding granite or slate or any other stone will just add a lot more weight to an already sagging floor.
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,796
    @Fred that's true, but if @Jakek decides to only do two of the legs with the slate to provide the pitch needed he should be fine.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,916
    On the weight... stone, say two inches thick, is only going to weight about 20 pounds per square foot, and it's a distributed load -- not a point load. An average man will load the floor with around 100 pounds per square foot... may I humbly suggest that if the floor can't take a two inch slab just under a radiator, there are other problems with the structure which need to be addressed first.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Jakek
    Jakek Member Posts: 55
    Thank you everyone for the comments. I probably won't get the radiators out until July so it will be a bit before the project is started. BTW, anyone have a recommendation for powder coating shops in the Boston area? I've been speaking with Pike in Allston and they at least seem responsive.

    As for the weight, I'm not too concerned about adding 15-20lb. Like most houses of this age, the floor slopes toward the center of the house as it's settled. The area under the radiators is in surprisingly good shape but since the risers are near the outer corner of the room, the house has settled in the opposite direction of what's needed for draining, hence the common shims under the radiator legs.

    The idea would be to get a small slab of bluestone (good tip) which is slightly larger then the base of the radiator. I would then make a wood shim to counter the angle of the floor and put that under the rock with some nice wood trim around the base to make it look clean. I'm also thinking of making a permanent reflector for the wall -- maybe a shiny piece of "pillowed" stainless backed by a thin insulator with a wood trim. Shoving bubble-wrap reflectors between the wall and radiators might work but it's hardly pretty.

    First thing is to buy a pipe coupling and just make sure I can get the height needed.
  • brandonf
    brandonf Member Posts: 205
    I usually buy fender washers that are the same diameter as the legs. Although it depends on how much you need to shim. Anything more than half an inch I would suggest using small decorative pieces of tile.
    Homeowner, Entrepreneur, Mechanic, Electrician,

    "The toes you step on today are connected to the butt you'll have to kiss tomorrow". ---Vincent "Buddy" Cianci
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    Quarters work as well to place under the legs.—NBC
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,473
    In the past I've used two pieces of Plywood or solid wood about 1-1/2 X 5-8" long depending on the radiator. I can use different thicknesses depending on what I'm trying to do, if you stain and varnish them they can look pretty good.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,021
    IIWM, before trying to extend the length of all the risers, I would try to remove the valves. These can be a challenge and sometime require the destruction of the valve...…..which also means removing the spud from the radiator.....another challenge.

    But if all the valves survive there is a fitting called a nipple extension which is about 2 1/2" long. It is female on one end and male on the other end. Maybe the largest is 1".