What has 2020 been like in your home when it comes to all things DIY? Little did I know that when lockdowns and restrictions were coming into place, and everyone was running around stores to bulk buy toilet roll, I’d become seriously interested in drills. That’s right, while I had a little “baby” drill from IKEA that was good to use for building flat-pack furniture, as this year has seen much the home turn into a DIY project I never knew I’d get so invested in, I upgraded (or should be evolved?) into getting proper drills and all the bits. Now anytime something needs hung up or fixed around the house, I insist that the drill has to make an appearance.
There was one job though that my drill had to be careful of. A few years ago, we got an extension in our kitchen to make it more of an open-plan kitchen/dining area. For the longest time, the new dining bit always had a bit of a chill in the air. This was down to not having a radiator in there, in large part, due to not getting the floor piped up.
While we got lucky by learning about electric towel rails (that’s another story for another day), because we were drilling into a plasterboard wall, my lucky drill had to work its magic to get plugs in on the studs and get those brackets on to take the weight of the electric radiator. They’re naturally heavier because they’re already filled with water, or some sort of heating fluid.
Now, the story of using the drill isn’t exciting or enthralling. What I want to talk about here are some of the things I had to keep an eye out for when buying my towel rail. It’s a whole different ball game compared to buying any old radiator for the wall. Follow my advice, and you hopefully won’t make any mistake.
Firstly, I want to talk about function. With most people calling rails “towel” rails, it has to be the main reason why you’d get one, right? In my case, it wasn’t. I wanted a rail which would sit on a wall behind our dining table. I wanted a rail that would have flat rails, not curved, so no one would ever hit their seat off it when getting up from the table. I also wanted a rail which was independent of my central heating, as the dining room/section doesn’t get used every evening, so it would be a waste to use energy on it.
If the rail is going in a prominent position in the kitchen, and you know you’re going to throw a few tea towels on it, get one with the rails in sections, i.e. there are gaps. If you don’t, you will end up with a rail that you need to cram the towel into to stay there. And opt for one where those gaps are in the middle. Some of the designer options have funkier designs with low and high gaps, which looks great on their own, but you never want to be bending down all the time to grab your towels.
Let’s move on to positioning. I knew exactly where my rail was going to go, and because it didn’t need to be hooked up to my heating, I could hang it a good bit higher on the wall (mine is about 120cm from the ground). You’ll want to think about how high you can go, and whether you can get away with the rail being in a more unique position than a normal radiator. I would hesitate to put one near the sink or cooker, just because those are two areas prone to moisture in the kitchen, which can lead to you needing to clean and wipe down the rail more. And going back to what I said about ending up with rails at an awkward height, if you can get a pencil and mark on the wall the rough measurements for the rail, you can stand there pretend to reach for it, and get an idea of the range you can work with. This might sound silly, but if you are planning to install a rail in an elderly relative’s home, it’s almost a no-brainer to make it as accessible as possible.
Now those are just my two cents on how to choose the right towel rail for your kitchen. I purposely forewent talking about colours and such because everyone has a different kitchen colour scheme, so it wouldn’t make much sense if I said, “always get a silver rail”.
If you are reading this and are now glancing with contempt at your older kitchen radiator, it is well worth giving Trade Radiators a visit. They have some fantastic kitchen towel rails available at trade prices. You’ll get a great deal and can get a new kitchen rail in no time at all.
And always remember, if you’re getting anything new for the kitchen check to see if it is being reviewed and discussed in the review section.