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How to box in central heating pipes

installer carrying out work underneath a boiler with copper pipes

Why would I box in pipes?

Any home with central heating or plumbing will naturally have some form of exposed pipework. While the visibility of such pipework will depend entirely on the method of installation and location within your home, it can be aesthetically pleasing to ensure that these pipes are hidden from view, creating cleaner decor and even allowing for forms of shelving.

Always check with a gas safe registered engineer before boxing in gas pipe work! There are certain regulations which need to be considered.

woman looking out the window in a kitchen with a boiler background

Tools required to box in pipes

o complete this task, you will require a number of tools. Boxing in pipes does require some skill in carpentry, so we recommend hiring a professional where possible to handle the work.

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Spirit level
  • Cutting saw
  • Screws
  • Wood or plasterboard
  • Battens
  • Wall plugs

As with all work, we highly recommend to double check everything you do - measure twice, cut once - and only perform any of the following work if you’re absolutely confident in your abilities; we recommend hiring professionals for all home improvement activities.

  1. Step-by-step guide to boxing in pipes
  1. 1

    Measure the pipework

    For this step, you will measure the area around the pipes you plan to box around, in order to know what material will be required. Measure the distance (depth) from the edge of the pipe - the one furthest from the wall - to the wall itself, note this down, and add a few millimetres to make sure the pipes don’t touch the box itself. Be sure to measure a few times from various points across the length of the pipe to ensure you find the furthest distance possible and use that across the entire boarding.

    You’ll also want to measure the width and length of the area you are boxing up. The width will be used to determine the amount of wood or plasterboard needed to cover the pipes and attach to each of the battens either side of the pipes themselves. The length will determine how long your battens and wood/plasterboard covering will need to be for the area you are boxing in.

    Once you’ve got your depth measurement, you can order the appropriate battens and wood or plasterboard.

  2. 2

    Cut battens to the appropriate size

    You should have ordered the appropriate depth of batten already, so the only cuts you’ll need to make are for the length itself. Mark the length measurement you made in step 1 onto the batten itself and prepare the batten to be cut.

    Ensure you secure the batten down and use all necessary safety equipment when performing the cuts. You should now have two equal-length battens that run the length of the pipework you are boxing in.

  3. 3

    Attach the battens to the wall

    During this step, you’ll be drilling holes into the battens at regular intervals, repeating this step for the walls, and then affixing the battens themselves. You should be sure to check that there are no electrics or plumbing behind the wall where you will be drilling.

    To start, measure equidistant holes that run the length of the batten and mark them with pencil. Once you’ve done this, drill a hole that runs through the entire depth of the batten itself, place the batten against the wall where you will be affixing it and drill through the same holes to create them in the wall.

    Once the holes have been made, place the wall plugs into the holes in the wall and then screw the batten to the wall itself.

  4. 4

    Cut the front board

    You’ll now need to cut the front board you’ll use to attach to the battens and complete the box. Depending on your purchase, you may need to cut length and width, though you might be able to purchase the right board for one of the two measurements.

    Simply mark the two values on the board itself - length for the length of pipework and battens, and width for the distance between the two battens. Note that you want to measure the width to the outer edge of each batten, so you have a clean box at the end. Make sure to take the necessary safety precautions when performing the cuts themselves.

  5. 5

    Attach the front board

    The final step is to attach the front board to the battens and complete the box. At this stage, your board should fit snugly over the top of the two battens, so you will simply need to either nail or screw the board onto the battens themselves. Be sure to do this at consistent, regular intervals to ensure it is secure.

    Optional steps

    If you want a cleaner finish, you can add boards to the side of the battens to give a consistent material all the way round the box itself. Furthermore, you can use filler to hide any nail or screws across the front of the board itself. Neither of these are necessary, however, and will depend on your experience and tolerance of the final look.


Boxing in pipes can be a great way to improve the way your home looks where pipework is concerned. It does take some time and is best handled by professionals wherever possible, but can be done completely DIY if you’re determined and work safely at all times.

If you want help boxing in central heating pipes