Pipe boxing is an architectural feature that encases exposed pipes. They are commonly used for covering up hot radiator pipes, but may also be used for other types, including waste and gas pipes. While some pipes are underground or inside the walls, others need to be exposed to make them accessible for regular maintenance. According to Contour, a pipe boxing company in the UK, pipe boxing is a requirement for high-traffic areas, especially in schools, hosspitals, and office buildings.
Pipe boxing serve three purposes:
- To protect the pipes from outside forces, such as accidental bumps and the weather
- To protect people from coming into contact with hot surfaces
- To conceal unsightly pipes
The most common pipe boxing materials are aluminium and plywood. Both materials have benefits.
Aluminium pipe boxing is a good choice for outdoor applications, such as providing protection for gas and waste pipes. This metal has excellent thermal properties and is corrosion resistant, which is why it provides sufficient protection from the weather.
It works especially well in hostile environments, as it does not warp when heated. Aluminium is also exceptionally hard, making it impervious to rodent and insect infestations.
This type of pipe boxing is the preferred material in hospitals as the surface of the metal has anti-microbial properties – the smooth, non-porous surface limits bacterial and fungal growth.
Plywood is the preferred option for indoor applications, as it is adaptable and blends with the interior design of the room. Plywood does not heat up, making it ideal for use in bedrooms and bathrooms – it protects people from accidental burns caused by touching heating pipes.
Though not as robust as aluminium, plywood is still hardwearing and easy to clean. Plywood can also be treated with an anti-microbial treated paint finish to make it more resistant to fungal growth.
Though aluminium has an edge over plywood pipe boxing in terms of durability, plywood is often a more attractive option for indoor applications. Both materials have their merits.