Technical projects manager, Gavin Byram, offers heating and plumbing installers some advice on concealing pipework

Heating and plumbing installers regularly fit different types of pipework, whether gas supply and flow and returns for central heating systems, hot and cold feeds for taps and showers or soil and waste pipes. In retrofit projects, lengths of pipework can often become long and complicated – for example if a boiler has been relocated to meet regulations or to fit in with a new internal layout, or if bathroom sanitaryware has been moved around to create more space or increase accessibility for an elderly or disabled person – and a decision will need to be made about whether to conceal the pipework or leave it exposed.

While there is clearly a current trend for exposed pipework (particularly copper heating pipes, which can help to create a vintage or industrial look), and many installers spend time ensuring their pipework is attractive enough to remain on display (justifiably taking pride in the neatness of complex configurations), many homeowners think heating and plumbing pipework is unsightly, and will want it concealed.

This leaves installers with the job of ‘boxing’ it in. Some will pass the work on to a carpenter or joiner, especially if they are not confident or experienced in woodworking or decorating. The carpenter or joiner will usually fabricate a solution on site from wood or MDF, cutting the material to size, gluing it around the pipework and priming and painting it.

But even for skilled professionals, this method still takes time, and is therefore costly. And using another tradesperson means the installer loses out on revenue, and the customer might be left waiting for an appointment if the work hasn’t been booked in advance. It can also be a risk; the installer’s reputation could be damaged if the customer is left unsatisfied with the results.

This isn’t the only option available to installers. They can keep control of the work (and the associated profit) by using pre-formed, made-to-measure boxing in solutions, which conceal pipework cost-effectively, quickly and easily. They enable installers to achieve a neat, unobtrusive, consistent result without the need for any carpentry or decorating skills, or reliance on other tradespeople, in around half the time it takes to fabricate boxing in sections on site.

While the initial upfront cost of pre-formed pipe boxing might be perceived as more expensive than buying lengths of wood or MDF, when the time savings are considered, along with the aesthetic benefits and the consistency of fit and finish, pre-formed pipe boxing is a cost-effective solution.

If pipework needs to be accessed in the future for routine maintenance, repair work or annual servicing, pre-formed solutions can be easily removed and refitted, and can also be fitted with access panels. Removing and replacing boxing in fabricated on site might not be as straightforward, and could cause aesthetic damage and refurbishment costs.

Made from melamine-finished plywood (negating the need for painting), our Pendock Profiles boxing and casing products are practical and versatile. They effectively conceal heating system and boiler pipework, as well as mains water and waste pipes.

Our TK boxing is ideal for concealing radiator pipework and other low-level horizontal pipework at skirting level, as well as mains water pipework, while our TKD boxing is designed to cover both horizontal and vertical pipework at mid-wall. Meanwhile, BC boiler pipe casings neatly encase pipework above and below a boiler, and the MX range is ideal for larger drainage, wastewater and soil pipes.

All Pendock Profiles products are available in a wide range of sizes to meet most requirements, but they can also be easily cut to length on site. Installation is simple, requiring just wooden batten and screws, and any holes that are needed (for example to accommodate radiator pipework or valves) can be easily cut out or drilled. A comprehensive range of accessories is also available, including internal and external corners, stop ends, butt joints and access panels.

All our pipe boxing and casing products can be viewed here.