Constructing Bookshelves Above a Baseboard Heater
In the past I've made ladder-type bases into heat plenums (for forced air heat ducted through the floor) and cut vents into the baseboard of the casework. As a precaution, I screwed a layer of drywall underneath the bottom of the cabinet (at the "top" of the plenum cavity) to insulate the books and cabinetry from heat transfer. This may be unnecessary, but it's easy enough to do while installing the unit and is cheap insurance.
From contributor J:
I built a 10' wide by 80" high wall unit over a baseboard hot water radiator in Maine a few years back. I hung the whole unit on a french cleat with a couple of additional cleats lower down the wall. I used lots of screws to hold this thing up - this job was actually three individual cabinets.
Underneath the unit (at the joints), I used heavy duty furniture levelers to take the some of the weight off the french cleat. I built a removable toe kick assembly that was basically a small face frame with brass wire mesh in the center to let the heat out. I got the wire mesh from Rockler. I placed a couple of rails on this frame to hide those furniture levelers. I put the wall unit high enough above that radiator so that anyone who ever had to work on it could have access. The home owner wanted to cover the radiator up - real bad idea!
From the original questioner:
It is a hot water baseboard unit that radiates the heat (no forced air). I like Contributor J's idea of hanging the shelves and building a face frame/base unit with some type of grill inside. I also agree with the use of levelers as insurance.
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