The radiators in our house were (as far as I know) installed in the 60s, and as you can imagine have definitely seen better days, although they still function extremely well. For those who might not know, in Europe, modern radiators typically found in European homes are white oblong steel panels fixed to the wall with metal brackets and a metal pipe leading in at some point. There is nothing very attractive about them.
In older homes like ours, or homes with older radiators, you’ll often find the type we have – which are based on the beautiful old Victorian column radiators made from cast iron. You’ll see the originals in most British hospitals and schools – while ours are nowhere near as good to look at as the original Victorian radiators, I do find them somewhat more attractive than plain modern styles, but they can be awkward to clean, as it is hard to get a cloth between the bars. Furthermore, ours could really do with a coat of fresh paint, or maybe even replacing…
My husband was a plumber before he retired early due to back issues, which is extremely handy when there is a leakage or similar. Due to his bad back, I don’t know if he would be up to fitting our house with new radiators, or indeed, if he would want to spend money on something that works perfectly well, or if we could really afford such a large home improvement project right now.
As I had no idea of the cost involved, I decided to do a bit of research.
Not what I expected
I was surprised to find that when choosing modern radiators, we are not limited to oblong panels, they actually come in a great variety of sizes, colours, designs and diverse finishes, from matt paint through to mirrored. These bold radiators look great and it seems manufacturers also must make sure their products meet rigorous EU standards (at the time of writing Brexit has not yet happened) for quality and have excellent heat outputs. So, the design is just one benefit, additionally, they must really work well as radiators.
So, how much will a designer radiator cost?
Unfortunately, there is no fixed answer as prices vary tremendously. If money is no object, then an individually custom-made radiator is an interesting possibility. I couldn’t find a price for these, as I guess each job is very different and requires an individual quote, but I am guessing even a smallish bespoke radiator would set you back at least £3000.
That’s not realistic for most people, and not for us, but some very interesting radiators can be found for perhaps two or three times the price of a standard radiator of the same output. Small unusual designer radiators can be purchased for about £400 in the UK, and a large size radiator will set you back less than £1,000.
Radiators created with stone
I was quite amazed to find there are a number of companies which sell stone radiators, such as marble or granite radiators. Prices start at under £400, for example, 400 x 600mm in granite with a 400W output is priced at £389+ VAT. Vat will add a further £19.
Budget Designer Models
If like us you are on a budget but looking for an unusual radiator, it is worth considering the designer radiator range by Stelred, which it seems is one of the largest manufacturers of radiators in the UK. While the company makes “average” radiators, they also have designer models that are interesting, eye-catching and do not even look like radiators. They have the wow factor, and probably very few people will be aware such items are readily available and competitively priced.
Radiators which have a mirror attached are another interesting style, widely available. You can expect to pay around £600 for a full-length mirror on a vertical radiator. Alternatively, there are radiators with a chrome-mirror finish look, which I found on eBay for just over £100 for a full-length model.
Nearly unique tube designer radiators
One of the most unusual radiators around must be the tubular radiator from Gunning Heating. The tube is not designed to stand out in the room, in fact, quite the opposite. It is a tube of just 10 cm diameter which sits against a wall just 20 cm above the floor. The design surprisingly has a high heat output, although the appliance is significantly smaller than the article we usually think of as being a radiator. It is perfect to place l in front of windows, and I imagine popular for those who have conservatories with low-level walls. A one metre tube radiator has an output of 630 watts.
So, am I buying?
Unfortunately not. My husband is not keen to spend money on replacing something which is not broken or falling apart, and quite a large part of me agrees with him. Oh well. As I am a self-confessed shopaholic when it comes to buying stuff for the home, I’ll have fun looking for something else, that hopefully will be more agreeable to Mr. Mackintosh!