Help with baseboard heating and cabinets

kayakjennJuly 15, 2011

Hello from a GW-addicted lurker! I'm hoping someone may have a creative solution I could suggest to a home improvement contractor.

A little the not-so-distant future we'll be doing a cosmetic kitchen redo- mainly counters, backsplash, flooring and appliances. My oak raised panel cabinets will be staying but maybe darkened with a gel stain finish (that would be dyi if I'm brave enough!)

On one wall I have a 12' run of upper cabinets and a counter running that entire length that has no base cabinets but does have hot-water baseboard heating the whole 12'. (Why does this exist? Apparently the former homeowners ran a daycare and used that counter to feed six kids at a time! The counter is hung about 4" lower than the other kitchen counters as to be kid-friendly. It's fantastic :) ) The existing formica counter is poorly supported, but I know brackets/supports could solve that problem if I keep the design similar on the redo. What I am thinking of doing is installing two 24" base cabinets in the center of that run of counters. It would give some additional storage, support and better cosmetic appeal (I'd use stock 3-drawer cabinets I could finish.) The reason I'm not installing base cabinets that entire length is the under-counter space is PERFECT for our cats' food and water dishes (no kicking over food and water!) With just those two cabinets I'd still have space on either side for the dishes.

So what happens with the baseboard heating and those two 24" cabinets? Do I need to have the heating "bumped out" to run to the front of the kickplates? Could I vent the kickplates and have the contractors notch the cabinets in the back to fit around the heating. Should I just say "oh well...", stick with the current layout and leave "as is"? I do need to keep the cost of the project under control....

Has anyone found a creative solution? I'm using the home improvement company my sister used for her total kitchen remodel and they were very open to hearing suggestions throughout her project. Thanks for your help!

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I think, if I understand your dilemma correctly, I have a solution. In our recent remodel of our 1950s house with hot water heat (boiler), we faced a similar problem with the baseboards in the kitchen and adjacent dining area. The solution was to replace the baseboard with a relatively new type of fan driven vent. It comes in different sizes and fits in the toe kick under cabinets (the toe kick needs to be 4" high) Each vent has a thermostat that turns on the fan when it senses hot water running through the pipes. Each vent -- depending on the size -- can replace anywhere from 15-25 feet of baseboard.

I have the complete specs on these vents if you think they would work for you.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 9:48AM
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Well, I probably shouldn't chime in here, because I am at the beginning stages of addressing this question myself and in the process of switching from forced air furnace to a boiler system which is going to change everything.

But, the system we are using will allow the option of baseboard as toekick, which is interesting to me. My partner, however, let it slip yesterday that he is considering radiant heat on the countertop... I am practicing masking my immediate reactions as my part of the 'let's-make-this-fun-and-be-a-good-team' strategy, but alas I think my eyes widened and my jaw dropped to a discernible degree...

I know you can vent kickplates, and it seems to often involve a fan to push the heat out from under the cabinets. This -has- to be something KD's deal with all the time. Have you asked them what their general approaches to this are?

Just for fun, here's a pic of those toekick heaters, done in red.

Here is a link that might be useful: red baseboard heat

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 10:13AM
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We had a similar issue, and ultimately decided to use a long counter-height table along that wall, because there's no way I was losing my wonderful baseboard heat. The table has a lower shelf where I store my Le Creuset pans.

However, as we were doing Ikea cabinets, another option we nearly went with was something I saw at Ikea - their wall cabinets are hung from metal brackets which are mounted on the wall first. We realised we could simply use wall cabinet boxes, but hung at worktop height, selecting a cabinet size which would sit above the baseboard heater. We would have put some 'feet' on the cabinets, for aesthetic reasons, and then mounted the countertop on top of the whole thing.

Alternatively, you could have cabinet boxes made to stand on feet, but sitting above the height of your baseboard heater, and no toe-kick - we wanted the wall cabinets, because we wanted shallower depth.

Lots of ways to think around it!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 11:35AM
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@MCMesprit - I don't know about the OP, but I would love to hear more about the vents/fans you used. What company made these?

Thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 11:29AM
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We had Turbonics kick heaters installed in our kitchen when we reno'd (we lost all the baseboard heating in the kitchen when we moved cabs and part of a wall). The Turbonics heaters work very well and are quieter than most (our plumber, who'd tried to dissuade us from using any kick heaters, was very impressed with these when he installed them for us).

Here is a link that might be useful: Turbonics

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 6:04PM
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Steph2000 and OP --

We used Beacon Morris Twin-flow kick space heaters in our recent remodel. They work very well. The fan has a high and low speed; we found the low to be adequate and fairly quiet (and it gets very cold here in the upper mid west) You can also turn the fan off which can be helpful when it is located near another intermittent heat source (like a fireplace or wood stove) The twin flow comes in several different models, depending upon how many feet of baseboard you will be using it to replace. Our plumber figured out the appropriate model for each space (we installed three). One of them is installed under our kitchen island and vents toward the sink. Very nice on cold mornings when you're washing up.

Hope this helps. I put a link to their website below.

Here is a link that might be useful: kick space heaters

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 9:04PM
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