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How to Lay Wood Floors Around a Cast Iron Radiator

Alexis Lawrence

Unlike most heating systems, which either install in a closet or to the wall in a home, radiators take up floor space, which means that when you want to install any type of new flooring, you must work around the radiators during the installation process. If you want to install wood flooring in a room with a cast iron radiator, for instance, you must trim the wood flooring planks to fit the space and to fit around the radiator base.

Measure multiple times before cutting new flooring to fit around a radiator.

Step 1

Install the hardwood flooring on the floor in the room with the cast iron radiator as recommended by the manufacturer. Continue laying planks in rows until you get so close to the radiator that you cannot lay a plank without cutting openings for the radiator feet.

Step 2

Measure the distance from the last plank lain in front of the radiator to the wall behind the radiator. Subtract 1/2-inch from this measurement for the flooring spacers and cut a wood plank lengthwise to create a flooring plank that fits into the space where the radiator sits if the radiator weren’t in the way.

Step 3

Measure, with a measuring tape, out from the end of the last plank laid directly next to the radiator to the first foot of the radiator, measure the width of the radiator foot, and measure the space between the feet on the radiator. Make a note of all of these measurements.

Step 4

Lay the plank you cut down for the radiator space on the floor in front of the radiator in the direction that the plank must face when installed beneath the unit. Recreate the measurements you took to the radiator feet on the flooring plank, marking each measurement on the back edge of the plank nearest to the radiator.

Step 5

Measure the distance from the last plank lain in front of the radiator to the front of the radiator legs. Recreate the measurement on the wood plank by measuring the same distance from the front of the plank toward the back and marking the surface of the wood lightly as a guide.

Step 6

Cut inward from the back of the plank with a jigsaw at the marks made for either side of a radiator legs. Continue to cut into the plank until you reach approximately 1 inch away from the light mark you made on the surface of the plank. Cut between the two cuts to remove the strip of wood in that section, and then repeat for the other radiator leg.

Step 7

Slide the wood plank back along the floor so that the radiator legs slide into the holes that you made in the plank. Watch where the plank stops to determine how much more of the wood you should remove from the openings you made for the radiator legs. It should be close to the mark that you made on the plank surface, but remove the wood a little at a time to ensure that you don’t remove too much.

Step 8

Put the plank into place on the floor once you have it cut to size. Go to the side of the radiator nearest the wall and mark the plank where the backs of the radiator legs hit. Remove the plank from the space and cut off the back part of the plank that extends beyond the radiator, and then put the plank back into place.

Step 9

Measure the distance between the back of the radiator legs and the wall and subtract 1/2-inch from the measurement. Cut a piece of wood to this size from a full-size plank or a plank scrap and lay it behind the radiator. Continue down the wall on the other side of the radiator once you lay the radiator pieces.