Tuesday, April 23, 2024

How to Box In Pipes For Strong Aesthetic Look In Your Home

Pipes can be an eyesore in our homes. You want your walls to be clear and smooth, not brimming with dirty copper.

You don’t need a plumber to relocate your pipes, so don’t bother pulling your Yellow Pages book out and scouring every plumber from 1999.

There is a much easier way. With some simple dad DIY, you can learn how to box in pipes to create a tidy and seamless appearance.

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When I moved into my home, it was what you would call a do’er up’er. Pipes were strewn across my walls, so I needed to quickly learn how to box in pipes.

I will share what tools and supplies you will need and numerous ways and strategies for efficient boxing in of pipes.

We have you covered whether you have vertical or horizontal pipes that need to be hidden. Let’s get to it.

how to box in pipes

How To Box In Pipes Which Are In The Middle of a Wall

This method is perfect for pipework in the middle of a wall or beneath your boiler.

Leave enough room on either side of the piping to accommodate two single timber battens. Here’s an example of how to box in pipes using this method:

Step 1: Measure How Far the Pipework Comes Off the Wall

The first step is checking the distance between the exposed piping and the wall. This measurement will determine the width of your boxing. 

Use a tape measure to check the distance between the pipe’s edge and the wall.

Ensure accuracy; the last thing you want is a wonky box. It’s a good idea to double-check your measurements multiple times along the length of the pipes. 

To avoid contact between the boxing and the pipes, use the largest measurement and add a few millimetres for space.

Step 2: Measure the Length of the Area to be boxed in

The next step is to measure the length of the area you want to enclose.

For example, measure the total length if you want to box pipes from the skirting board to the ceiling. 

Measure from the bottom of the boiler to the top of the worktop if you’re boxing in pipes beneath a boiler over a kitchen work surface.

Step 3: Cut the Timber Battens to Size

Cut two equal lengths of your timber battens using the measurements. These battens will be fixed on either side of the pipes to form the boxing framework.

Step 4: Fix the Battens To The Wall

Hold the batten against the wall and drill holes through each batten to secure them in place.

Make sure to double-check they remain level. Insert rawl plugs into the holes and screw the battens to the wall to secure them.

Step 5: Cut The Front Board to Size

Now that your battens are in place, it’s time to install the front board covering your pipework.

I suggest using MDF, plywood, or plasterboard, but that is your choice for the box.

The width of the board should match the distance between the battens, and the height should match the length of the battens.

Once you are happy with your measurements, use your saw to cut the board to the appropriate size.

Step 6: Fit the Front Board

You can now secure the front board to the battens by nailing or screwing it in place. Make sure to use several screws along the length of the battens so the fit is secure. 

If using screws, drill the heads below the board’s surface to have a smooth surface.

If using nails, be careful when hammering them in. For a seamless finish, you can add boards to the sides of the battens, creating a consistent look. 

Fill any screw holes with poly-filler and sand them smooth. Finally, caulk the edges between the board and the battens for a professional-like finish.

how to box in pipes

How To Box In Corner Pipes

Step 1: Measure the Length of the Area to be Boxed-In

Measure the entire length of the pipework you want to box in as you did in the previous method.

Step 2: Cut Timber Battens to Size

Once your measurements have been taken, you will need three timber battens for the structure. Mark your measurements on all three battens and cut them to size.

Step 3: Fix Two Of The Battens to the Wall

Secure your first two battens to each wall around the pipework. Ensure they are as close to your pipework as possible, checking their level.

Drill holes into the battens and hold them against the wall. Once you’re happy with the holes, insert the rawl plugs and get your batterns secured to the wall by screwing them in.

Step 4: Cut Your First Board to Size

Measure from the inner corner of the wall to the far edge of one batten to determine the width of the first board.

Check this measurement along the entire length of the batten, as it may vary based on the angle.

Cut the first board to the appropriate size. Scribing ensures a perfect fit between the first board and the wall if necessary.

Step 5: Fit the Corner Batten

Once you’re happy with the first board, position the third batten flush against the edge of the first board and attach it using your choice of fixings. This batten will help support your box and create a clean finish.

Step 6: Install the Second Board

Cut a second board out to match the length of the battens. Once cut to measurement, attach it to the corner batten; this board will complete the boxing, covering the pipework in the corner.

What Time Are You Allowed To Make DIY Noise?

Learning how to box in pipes can be noisy work, check out our article on What Time Are You Allowed To Make DIY Noise In The UK? So you don't offend the neighbours!

Additional Tips and Considerations When Boxing In Pipes

  • When choosing the appropriate battens, make sure they are sturdy enough to support the weight of the boxing and any materials used to cover it. I would always recommend plasterboard as it is durable and easy to cut and finish.
  • If you anticipate the need for future access to the pipework, consider using either double-sided velcro to attach the front board to allow easy removal for access or a cupboard, door-like hinge design.
  • If cutting around the skirting board, ensure you take your time to ensure the cut is as neat as possible. It’s best to have a spare skirting board to allow a consistent box in the finish.
  • Remember your safety gear! Goggles and gloves are essential when cutting or drilling materials; better safe than sorry!
  • Suppose you need clarification on any part of the process or feel uncomfortable working with specific tools. In that case, it is best to consult with a professional in your local area to provide advice or complete the work for you.

When it comes to the choice of material when boxing in those ugly pipes at home, we see the top contenders for the task as MDF, plywood, and plasterboard.

Each material has its unique qualities that make it suitable for different scenarios.

You can buy professional time for a tradesperson to box in your pipes for you.

This is the most logical step if you need more confidence in completing a good enough job.

Take a look at our top 5 reasons for boxing in central heating pipes:

Aesthetics: It makes your home and room look neater and doesn’t have pipes on show in your home.

Safety: It prevents potential burns and injuries from hot pipes, which is very important if you have children.

Insulation: Learning how to box in pipes can help reduce heat loss, ultimately saving you money on energy costs.

Noise Reduction: Sometimes, when your system kicks in, pipes can be noisy. Boxing them in will help dampen noise from flowing water or steam.

Protection: Boxing your pipes in simply guards against any potential damage that could happen.

When deciding to box in any household pipes, always consider access, as you may need to get to the pipes for potential maintenance in the future.

It would help if you used a multi-tool to cut around the pipes. Nevertheless, if you do not have a multi-tool, you could try cutting the skirting from top to bottom to get the shortest length possible.

Then, split it along the grain (lengthwise) using a hammer and a wood chisel.

If you decide against using plasterboard for your boxing in, consider using MDF or Plywood.

These are the ideal woods for your home due to their flexibility and durability.

The Bottom Line

Now that you have learned how to box in pipes, you can ensure that pipes running from your central heating system to your skirting board are never seen again. Another valuable skill added to your dad’s DIY checklist

Once the boxing is done, consider plastering and/or painting to your style.

Say goodbye to unsightly pipes and hello to a beautifully finished space now you’ve learnt how to box in pipes. Step back, admire your masterpiece and grab a beer; you deserve

How To Box In Pipes

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I'm Chris, and my life revolves around two profound passions: embracing the joys of fatherhood with my energetic 2-year-old son and channelling my skills into transforming every nook and cranny of our home.
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