Designing around radiators
My 70-year-old kitchen has two cast-iron radiators, which are causing problems with my kitchen design. I've talked to designers, plumbers and contractors and gotten different advice from each.
The radiators are flush with the wall, they don't stick out at all. One is 20-inches square, the other is 20 by 34. They're two-pipe radiators for an oil-powered, steam heat system.
I've been told that putting anything in front of the radiators or above them will block the heat, and that the trapped heat will warp wood cabinets.
The advice I've heard includes:
to not use base cabinets near the radiators, and to have only counters on legs in the area, with mesh panels in the back of the counters for heat to rise through;
to have custom cabinets built that would be set a few inches off the wall;
to have custom base cabinets on 22-inch legs;
or some combination of all of the above.
I've also been advised to cap off the radiators and use space heaters or electric toe-kick heaters.
There is nothing in front of the radiators now, and I hope to increase my storage and work space by using those areas. My kitchen isn't very big, so giving up new cabinets and/or counters near the two radiators would really be a shame.
Even with the two radiators, the kitchen is always chilly. I'm going to replace the windows, insulate the exterior walls, and insulate the ceiling of the garage, which is directly under the kitchen. But I'm still going to need heat from those radiators.
Anyone have any experience with something like this? Thanks.