How to Put Bookcases Against Walls With Baseboard Heat

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Homeowners often choose baseboard heaters because they're efficient, inexpensive and easy to install. However, baseboard units can make furniture placement difficult because they span several-foot sections of wall. Furniture placed in front of the units not only blocks heat; it also creates a fire hazard. Although some furniture can be pulled away from the wall, your bookcase must sit flush against it. Adding legs to the bookcase -- to straddle the heating unit and raise the bookcase above it -- gives you more placement options without affecting the heater's function. Purchase legs that have hanger bolts already installed. A hanger bolt extends from the leg and allows you to fastens the leg to the furniture by simply screwing it in.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Furniture legs with hanger bolts preinstalled
  • Gypsum panel
  • Drill
  • Drywall screws
  • Drill bit
  • Measure the height of your baseboard heater with a measuring tape.

  • Turn the bookcase on its side on a work surface. Measure the bottom of the case with a measuring tape.

  • Purchase hanger-bolt-equipped furniture legs that are at least 3 to 4 inches taller than the top of the baseboard heater.

  • Purchase a 1/2-inch gypsum panel the same size as the bottom of the bookcase. Have the panel cut to size at the home improvement store when you purchase it.

  • Fasten the gypsum panel to the bottom of the bookcase using a drill and drywall screws long enough to pass through the panel and into the base of the furniture. Drive a screw every several inches, leaving the corners free so the screws won’t interfere with placement of the furniture legs.

  • Measure the length of the hanger bolts on the furniture legs with a tape measure. Drill holes the same depth in the corners of the cabinets using a drill and drill bit that has a slightly smaller circumference than the hanger bolt. Make sure the holes extend through the gypsum panel and into the bookcase.

  • Screw the furniture legs into the holes you drilled.

  • Lift the bookcase, then right it before carrying it to the wall. Lift it to reposition, if necessary. Hanger-bolted legs are strong enough to support weight that bears straight down, but they may loosen if you drag the bookcase or tilt it on the legs.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the bookcase is very wide or if the bottom shelf sags at all after placing books or other items on it, install additional legs as necessary to support the weight.
  • Gypsum panels deflect heat. You may not need to add it if your bookcase sits high enough above the baseboard unit that heat circulation is unimpeded and the bookcase can’t get hot enough to pose a fire hazard.
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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