Bookcase over baseboard heat?
I’d like to build a bookcase like the one in your May 2003 issue (FHB #154, pp. 64-69), but I don’t know how to deal with the baseboard heat. How do I let the heat out? Are there special steps to take because of this concentrated heat?
Robert H. Diehl Sr., via email, None
Gary M. Katz, author of A Bookcase That Breaks the Rules, replies: I’ve run into this problem many times, notably when I lived in a house in northern Arizona that had baseboard heat. I built bookcases on nearly every wall. My solution was to elevate them above the heaters, using legs to raise the cases. I experimented with several bookcase designs, each of which worked. Some incorporated simple 4×4 posts that were high enough to clear the baseboard heaters, and some had scalloped aprons that allowed the hot air to move freely beneath the bookcase. The aprons added a dramatic dimension to the built-in look that I hadn’t anticipated, especially because most of the bookcases were floor-to-ceiling structures. I discovered, though, that the heat played havoc with the joinery on the case bottoms, so I started installing drywall on the bottoms, which seemed to deflect the problem perfectly.