Monthly Archives: May 2018

How to paint a radiator

As you look around your house, you may find that some of the main fixtures and fittings are in need of a bit of a facelift.

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Almost every room in your home likely boasts a radiator, unless you have underfloor heating. Their painted finish will deteriorate through use, and you may want to bring them back to life with a lick of paint. How should you go about it?


There are different types of radiators ranging from classic old-style radiators to column radiators and convection radiators. The modern trend for column radiators means you may wish to replace rather than upgrade.

Examples can be found at

The easiest way to upgrade existing radiators for those afraid of DIY would be to go to the professional body for painters and decorators and source a professional, but if you want to have a go, here are some tips.

Keep in mind it is not like painting a wall or woodwork; there is a lot more to it than that.

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First, make sure the heating is turned off or the radiator is isolated from the system via the control valve. Next, give the radiator a good cleaning, removing dust and any loose debris.

Give the dry radiator a gentle rub with a fine sandpaper and remove any rust with a wire brush.

Put down a dustsheet and place masking tape on any surrounding areas.

Specialist primers are available for radiators to cover any rusted or bare spots to provide a base.


Do not use just any paint; seek out a heat-resistant alternative. Specialist radiator paints are available that will help prevent heat discolouring. You can use a clear radiator overcoat over an ordinary emulsion, but a radiator paint is preferable.

Although a radiator spray paint provides a good finish, you will need to remove the radiator first. Then, open a window for ventilation and begin to apply your paint in long, even strokes, following the contours of the surface wherever possible. If you are struggling, an angled radiator brush may help.

Add a second top coat 24 hours later. You may want to wait a further couple of days before turning the radiator back on. You may notice a smell coming from it once it is back on, but this will quickly fade.