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Frequently Asked Questions about Mission Woodworking

Will this make my heater less efficient?
Are your covers made with solid wood or other materials and veneer?
Are the covers insulated?
Are the covers safe for electric bb heaters?
Fire Safety: How do you ensure that the wood cover is safe from fires?
What are my finish and paint color options?
What if I have a paint color that is not Benjamin Moore? Can you match it?
Will the bb covers need to be attached to the wall?
Will I have to assemble my covers?
Can I choose the type of wood I want?
How do I place an order?
How do I care for my baseboard covers?
Can I refinish/repaint my covers myself?
Shipping
How long will it take to receive my order?
Where is Mission Woodworking located?

Will this make my heater less efficient?

One of the concerns we often hear is, “won’t a cover like this restrict and “trap” the air inside, thus making my heaters less efficient?”  Actually, quite the opposite is true.  We have tested our covers extensively and have found that there is no adverse effect to the efficiency of the heater when our covers are enclosing them.  In some cases they make the heater more efficient.

Why is this? The basic premise: In our research and development, we found that when you prevent the hot air from moving up along a cold window or cooler outside wall (where most baseboard heaters are located), you can elevate the temperature of the "living space" using the same amount of heat BTU's. By reflecting the heat away from the wall and window, you can make the living space feel warmer. The window space is cooler than normal but you don't live there.

Think of it this way - on a cold winter morning, do you warm up the car by turning on the heat and directing it through the floor level vents or the defrost? While defrost is necessary to accomplish a clear window, you will be colder in the car using defrost as your heat source than if you use the heater. Again, the defrost puts out warm air at the same temperature as the floor air, but the window cools the warm air quickly. So, most times in the winter, you use the floor heat because that keeps the passenger compartment warmer.

In the same way, as the warm air from your baseboard heaters rises straight up, the heat will tend to dissipate against the cooler surfaces of the windows and outside walls. As a result because the air is cooler, the room will feel cooler. See how this works.

Are your covers made with solid wood or other materials and veneer?

We use a combination of solid woods and MDF.  First, the top and sides of your covers are made of MDF (medium density fiber core).  MDF is a fantastic material to use in this application because not only is it strong, it is very stable and will not have warping issues in an environment of constant temperature changes which surround baseboard heaters and radiators.  Conversely, solid wood will tend to warp much quicker and is better avoided.  Then the MDF is either painted or covered with a solid oak veneer. The veneer gives a much greater degree of quality control, thus allowing a high quality look even when compared to a solid piece of wood.

The front/grill is also made of solid wood (oak/poplar). The front/grill is made with either solid poplar (painted covers) or oak (stained covers – also available in other woods).

Are the covers insulated?

Yes.  We use a 1/4” foam, reflective insulation attached to the underside of the top for two reasons: first, it helps to reflect the he down and out the front of the cover.  The more the heat can flow out the front instead of rising straight up the better.  Secondly, the insulation keeps the top of the cabinet as cool as possible.  Insulating the cabinet will keep the top of the cover at a temperature that will allow you to touch it without burning yourself.  This also keeps curious, small hands safe as well as household pets.

Are the covers safe for electric bb heaters?

Yes.  Because electric baseboard heaters tend to be much hotter than hot water/steam heaters, we use a special insulation designed to withstand the higher temperatures.

This material, isoplan® developed by Frenzelit, is a special high-performance biodegradable, mineral and ceramic fiber material designed to be heat resistant in a high, continuous temperature environment. This allows it to be a very good insulation material which is why we use it in our electric baseboard covers. The particular isoplan® board we use is rated for up to 700°F. an electric baseboard heater could get up to around 200-210°F. For more information on this, click on the links below to download the spec sheets for isoplan®.

Isoplan® Profile
Isoplan® Information Sheet

In addition, we allow a minimum of 2 inches above and in front or the heater itself which provides the proper safety margins needed.

Fire Safety: How do you ensure that the wood cover is safe from fires?

There are two basic types of baseboard heat – hot water/steam and electric. For hot water/steam heat, the temperature is nowhere near the flash point of 450 deg, which is normally required over extended periods of time to start wood on fire. We have done significant testing with heat up to 215 deg for a solid 3 weeks to see if we can get any kind of product failure. Our covers performed excellently. With electric heat, we use a slightly different insulation on the inside, but with hot water, our standard insulation is perfect. Since electric heat tends to run hotter, we change the dimensions slightly to allow a greater margin of height and depth. Obviously, you should NOT expose our covers to any open flame. Our covers are NOT designed to cover natural gas/propane heaters with an open flame.

What are my finish and paint color options?

The type of finish:

We use one type of finish which would be similar to semi gloss/satin finish.

Paint options:

We use Benjamin Moore colors exclusively and can paint any color of Benjamin Moore paint. Our standard paint colors are: Brilliant White, Dove White, Linen White, and Super White. If you need to match a non-Ben Moore color, just stop by Benjamin Moore Dealer and identify an appropriate match. If it has been some time since you have painted your trim and you direct us to the earlier finish used, be aware that paint can fade slightly even over a short period of time and, as a result, you may not have a perfect match.

Stain finish options:

We use custom stain finishes from our local supplier. This allows us to keep the color very consistent from on stain container to the next. We have a set of stain sample we can loan you after your order is placed. Most of the time there will be a good match from this set of samples. However, if you don’t see one that will work for your situation, we are in most cases able to custom match your stain finish.

What if I have a paint color that is not Benjamin Moore? Can you match it?

Yes!  If you have a paint color that is not a Benjamin Moore color we can match it in one of two ways.  First, Benjamin Moore has over a thousand colors in their color fan.  There is a good chance you will be able to go to a Ben Moore dealer and find a match to your color from their color fan.  However, sometimes you may not find a suitable match.  Many times people will match the paint color they want for their covers with the color of their trim.  If this is the case, and if you have left over trim paint, simply dip a 5x7 card in the paint and let it dry.  Then you can send it to us and we will match it.

Will the bb covers need to be attached to the wall?

Depending on the size of the cover, you may not need to secure it to the wall.  However, we do recommend anchoring your cover to the wall, especially if it is in a high traffic area.  Our wall anchors (provided when you purchase your cover) not only secure your cover to the wall, but allow you to easily lift the cover up and off for cleaning and maintenance.

See the figure below for details and instructions. You simply attach the anchors to your wall at the appropriate height.  There is a routed groove on the underside of the top along the back edge.  Simply insert the front edge of the anchor “hook” into the routed groove on the top. Generally you will place an achor about every 6-8 feet along the back edge of the top of the cabinet.

Will I have to assemble my covers?

Most of the time we are able to ship your baseboard covers fully assembled so there is no assembly required.  The exception to this is if the covers are very long and shipped in two or more parts.  In this case there would be some assembly required.  However, we provide everything you need for this to make it go quickly. Radiator covers, if shipped via UPS will be shipped flat and will require some easy assembly. Instructions will be provided.

Can I choose the type of wood I want?

Yes.  Our standard wood is Red Oak. However, for an additional fee, you can also select a variety of other types of woods such as Cherry, Maple, Walnut, or Mahogany. The solid wood parts in our painted cabinets are all solid poplar.

How do I place an order?

Mission Woodworking specializes in personalized customer service. First Create Your Personal Account. Then browse our variety of Mission Woodworking products. When you have chosen a piece you want, click on "Add to Cart" and our convenient ordering system will show you full information on your personalized order. Within 24 hours we will be in touch with you to confirm production/delivery schedule and finalize all remaining details for your order. If you would like to ask us questions in advance, call us Toll Free at 877-848-5697 or fill out your question(s) on the "Contact Us" page.

How do I care for my baseboard covers?

  1. Our finish is rated as moisture resistant material. By this we do not imply that it is waterproof. Water and other liquids should not be left standing on the surface for extended periods of time. Always wipe up spills as soon as possible.

  2. Cleaning can be done with a damp cloth and then wiped dry. Strong detergents and abrasives should not be used for stained wood cabinets. If you desire to use a polish, a cream polish is suggested (such as a Bristol Polish). Aerosol polishes with siliconee are not recommended because over a period of time your finish will become dull and smudgy.

  3. Never allow anything made of vinyl to set directly on the finish. Vinyl continuously releases solvent in a vapor form, which can soften furniture finish and cause the vinyl to stick to it.

Painted cabinets can be cleaned occasionally with a glass cleaner product like Windex. When using glass cleaner, spray a small amount of cleaner on the cleaning rag. Do not spray the glass cleaner directly onto your painted cabinet. Frequent cleanings with a damp rag are best.

Can I refinish/repaint my covers myself?

The Short Answer

“Can you repaint your cover yourself and get the quality finish and look we put on it?” Probably not.  There are too many factors to control in a home environment with equipment too inexpensive to do it.  But can you re-coat your cover?  Yes.  Here is the process. Note: (I would do a test on the back of a grill or somewhere like that before doing entire cabinet).

  1. Talk to a trusted paint company in your area telling them you have a cabinet with Pre-catalyzed lacquer finish. Ask them what they recommend to go over it.  Most likely, they will get some kind of oil base paint as the answer.

  2. Disassemble the cabinet leaving you with 2 sides, 1 grill, and 1 top.  Paint these individual pieces so you can work most of them in an horizontal plane.

  3. Wipe down each part with a solution of V.M.P. Naptha to remove any residues like silicone from furniture polishes, etc.

  4. Lightly sand all surfaces so they aren't glossy to improve adhesion of new paint.  This can be done with 320g sandpaper, or ultra fine Scotch Brite pads.

  5. Apply the new finish using 2 or 3 light coats with the recommended time between coats according to the paint manufacturer's instructions.

  6. When dry, reassemble cabinet.

***For a more complete answer to this question please read the long version below.

The Long Version (More Thorough Answer)

The answer to this question is somewhat challenging. In short, we give you a qualified “Yes”. Here is the qualified part.  All current finishes fall into one of several types:  the basic lacquer finish, the pre-catalyzed lacquer finish, the post-catalyzed lacquer finish, and finally epoxies and resins.  Each finish has different properties. Here are the pros and cons.

  1. Lacquer finish

    1. Pros

      1. Easiest to use.

      2. Provide a nice finish.

      3. Can be recoated down the road if necessary.

      4. Lower cost.

    2. Cons

      1. Not as durable. For example, not a great finish for a dining room table, etc.

  1. Pre-catalyzed lacquer finish

    1. Pros

      1. Easy to use.

      2. Reasonably durable.

      3. Can be recoated down the road if necessary.

      4. Once the paint container is opened it has a six month “pot” life with a three year shelf life before opened. This means less waste because we can use excess paint as the first coat on the next job.

    1. Cons - still not a great choice for a high use surface.

  1. Post-catalyzed lacquer finishes.

    1. Pros - Very Durable

    2. Cons

      1. Must mix resin & catalyst together before using.  

      2. Short pot life - this mixture is good for 8 hours, then must be disposed of as hazardous waste.  

      3. Cannot recoat down the road, recoat only within a 12 hour window.  

      4. More Expensive – about twice the cost of a Pre-cat finish.

  1. Epoxies & Resins

    1. Pros - Very durable

    2. Cons

      1. More Difficult to work with.  

      2. Short pot life.

      3. Expensive - 4x the cost of a Pre-cat finish.

So, which finish is the best?

At Mission Woodworking, we use a combination of Pre-cat and Post-cat finishes.  We use a Pre-catalyst finish for most radiator and baseboard covers.  The same basic material is used for both painted, and stained finishes.  The painted finishes (i.e. brilliant white, Dove White etc.) have tint added to the clear finish to obtain the desired color.  This tint load ends up weakening the finish somewhat, which is why we usually see more wear on a painted cabinet than a stained cabinet.  The wear exists on the stained cabinet also, but the grain variations end up helping to hide the wear whereas on the solid color, it is easier to see if there is any color or surface variation.

For commercial applications when we are doing a lot of cabinets at one time, we will switch to the Post-catalyzed finishes. It is more durable and because we are finishing a large quantity at one time the same color, the Post-Cat finish is cost-effective.  However, if a customer orders one cabinet, we will shift back to the (Pre-catalyzed topcoat) for this one cabinet.

Other Considerations

One question we ask of any finish we use is, “What is the open time?”  Open time is the time between applying the finish, and when the finish "skins" over so that any dirt in the air will no longer adhere to the drying finish. A lacquer base finishes (think oil base here) is a quick drying material.  We are looking for open times of 1-2 minutes.  You can imagine that you are painting a wall with a 12" wide roller and latex paint.  If the latex paint open time was 2 minutes, that means that after about a minute, if you roll the paint roller over that paint, it will actually damage the wet paint causing it to pull off the wall.  Retail paints often have open times of 15 to 60 minutes so the user can "work" the paint until they are satisfied with how it lays on the trim or wall. In the commercial setting an advantage of a short open time is you can apply more finish on the edges because it will "close" or dry before it has much chance to sag or run.

There is one CRITICAL rule when you consider re-coating a cabinet. First and foremost, most times, you cannot re-coat a cabinet with a different finish base.  This means if the original paint was a pre-catalyzed lacquer finish, you really want to use a pre-catalyzed lacquer finish on it when you re-coat.  This is the ideal world.  You definitely cannot cross finishes bases, meaning if the original finish is an oil base, or lacquer (and all the finishes listed above are oil derivatives), you cannot use a water or acrylic base paint over it.  You must stay with the oil base finishes.

Ok – So, Can I refinish/repaint my covers myself or not?

This long answer is almost finished. Ok, now that you have a basic finishing background, the question is, “Can I repaint my own cabinets?”  Remember, all our finishes are applied with spray equipment.  You will not be able to reproduce the factory finish look unless you spray the finish on.  Things to consider before you try:

  • Even if you have a quality, airless spray gun, you will most likely be spraying a finish from the retail side that is designed to have an open time of 15 to 60 minutes.  So, you are much more apt to get sags and runs on any vertical surface.  

  • Any spray equipment that is available to the homeowner more than likely will not atomize the paint (break it down into small atom sizes) at the level that we do with our high volume low pressure equipment (HVLP). So, you will likely get larger "globs" of paint that will eventually dry down, but will leave the finish feeling rough.

Finally – the punch line to the question: “Can you repaint your cover yourself and get the quality finish and look we put on it?”  I doubt it.  There are too many factors to control in a home environment with equipment too inexpensive to do it.  But can you re-coat your cover?  Yes.  Here is the process. Note: (I would do a test on the back of a grill or somewhere like that before doing entire cabinet).

  1. Talk to a trusted paint company in your area telling them you have a cabinet with Pre-catalyzed lacquer finish. Ask them what they recommend to go over it.  Most likely, they will get some kind of oil base paint as the answer.

  2. Disassemble the cabinet leaving you with 2 sides, 1 grill, and 1 top.  Paint these individual pieces so you can work most of them in an horizontal plane.

  3. Wipe down each part with a solution of V.M.P. Naptha to remove any residues like silicone from furniture polishes, etc.

  4. Lightly sand all surfaces so they aren't glossy to improve adhesion of new paint.  This can be done with 320g sandpaper, or ultra fine Scotch Brite pads.

  5. Apply the new finish using 2 or 3 light coats with the recommended time between coats according to the paint manufacturer's instructions.

  6. When dry, reassemble cabinet.

This is a long answer to the question, but hopefully you have a very good understanding about how to go about refinishing your cover should you decide to.

Shipping

When the order is received, your salesperson will confirm if the delivery will be on the Mission Woodworking truck, or if it will ship via UPS. If delivery is on our truck, you will receive an email or postcard 3 weeks before delivery advising you of the delivery date and time. If delivery is by UPS, you will receive an email in advance of the delivery.

How long will it take to receive my order?

When the order is received, your salesperson will confirm if the delivery will be on the Mission Woodworking truck, or if it will ship via UPS or common carrier. If your order is shipped on the Mission Woodworking truck, the lead time is approximately 10-12 weeks from when we receive your order, depending on the truck schedule for your particular area.  If your order is shipped via UPS/common carrier, it will take approximately 4-6 weeks from the time we receive your order. For an additional fee, we can put a “rush order status” on your order and get it to you in approximately 2-3 weeks. Most of the time this will mean it ships via UPS/common carrier.

If delivery is via the MW delivery truck, you will receive an email or postcard approximately three weeks before delivery advising you of the delivery date and time. If delivery is by UPS, you will receive an email in advance of the delivery with a tracking number.

Where is Mission Woodworking located?

Mission Woodworking is located on the south edge of Bristol, IN, 3 miles from Exit 101 on the Indiana Toll Road (I-80/90). We’re 110 miles east of Chicago. See Map. You’re welcome to visit us Monday through Friday, 8AM – 4PM. But in this cyber age, distance is less important—our products will come to you, quickly via our trucks or via prompt UPS delivery.