How to Paint a Radiator


Ok so you’ve got your redecoration plans all in place – you know the colour scheme, the accents and where all the furniture is going to go. You’ve even taken the radiators off the wall ready to be hung once the paint’s dry. So you can use this chance to paint your radiators too. Find out how to make a professional job of it right here.

First of all, the most tedious part of any DIY job, and that’s preparation. Your radiator will need to be drained (find out how to do that here ) and then disconnected and taken off the wall. If you are at all nervous about doing this then perhaps get someone in to help you, and make sure someone else is there when you are taking the radiator down, since they can be very heavy. Alternatively, if you prefer and you find it easier and haven’t already taken your radiator down, then you can paint it whilst it is still attached to the wall; just paint what is visible. If it is still attached to the wall, then do make sure that it is completely cold before you start painting, and in addition to this, protect the surrounding areas as the oil based paint that you will be using is very difficult to remove if it drips or splashes on somewhere it shouldn’t!

Next up is cleaning up and priming your radiator ready for the paint. This means getting rid of any grease and marks, and lightly sanding it to give it a rough surface that the new paint will be able to stick to. If there are any rusted areas, pay particular attention to them with the sand paper. If there is any rust or bare patches on your radiator, then it will also need to be painted with an anti-corrosive primer which you will have to ensure is completely dry before you actually get down to the real painting.

There are special radiator brushes out there which are handy for reaching into any awkward nooks and crannies, but if you want to save a little money, then feel free to use normal brushes too. If it is only the one radiator that you have to paint, then consider cheap brushes which you can throw away after use, as since the paint will be oil based, the brushes will have to be soaked in turpentine before cleaning.

Okay so now that the radiator is all prepped and ready to go, you will need to select your paint. If it’s plain white you’re wanting, then you’re in luck as there in fact spray can types of radiator paints out there which usually only come in white. If you are spray painting your radiator, make sure to do it outside, and wear eye protection and a mask over your mouth and nose.

If you are going down the traditional paint in a tin route, then this is actually much more cost effective, even if it does take a little more time. Using traditional paint also comes with the added advantage that it comes in a much wider variety of colours than the aerosol paint. Enamel paints can also be suitable for radiators so check the tin as this can provide an even bigger range. Coloured paints are an easy way for you to make your radiators harmonious with your room, so do consider skipping the traditional white for something a bit more congruous with your style. (Check out this funky spray paint video here for an out of this world radiator!)

As for the painting itself, it is much like painting a wall; don’t overload your brush so there will be no unsightly drips, and get all of the parts that you can see, as well as ensuring you are in a well-ventilated space. As with the primer, make sure that the paint is completely dry before you rehang it and reheat it again as not only will the paint still be tacky, but the paint can give off strong fumes too. As you can see, the majority of the time you’ll spend on this task is the preparation work. Do this right though and it will help make the job much more straightforward and simple.

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