How to Paint a Radiator

how to paint a radiator

Radiators are a key element in any property that has an old-fashioned heating system. They are usually found in older buildings, but they also remain in new houses to ensure homes are as energy-efficient as possible. If you have an old-fashioned radiator or you need to replace one, there’s good news: painting them is a fairly simple task that can be completed fairly quickly. Paint is not just something we use to give walls, floors and other surfaces visual appeal. In fact, paint also serves many practical functions that can help your home operate more efficiently and cost effectively. For example, painting radiators can help to lower the operating temperature of the heating system by insulating all exposed metal surfaces. This means it will cost less to heat your home and you won’t need to raise the thermostat quite so high during the winter months.

Let’s take a look how to paint a radiator easily and efficiently.

Why is Painting Radiators Important?

Painting radiators is important for a couple of reasons. First, it will help to protect the surface from corrosion. This is particularly important for older radiators that may have been treated with lead-containing paints. This is because lead is a toxic substance that can be released into the air when it is corroded by water or made to rust. If painted, this risk can be greatly reduced. Another important reason to paint radiators is that they will help to increase the efficiency of your home’s heating system. This is because paint has excellent insulating properties. Whether you have cast-iron radiators or radiators made of another material, painting them can help to reduce the amount of heat that escapes. This can lead to big savings on your utility bills and a reduction in CO2 emissions as well.

Before You Start: Reset the Radiator Timing

First, before you paint your radiators, it is important to reset their timing. While painting the radiators is a relatively quick job, it is important to ensure that your home’s heating system runs more efficiently once the paint is dry. Simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions to reset the timing on your radiators.

What You’ll Need

Brushes and Rollers – You can use either a paintbrush or roller when it comes to painting radiators. If you want a smooth finish, then using a roller is a good choice.

– Cleaning Materials – You may want to invest in some cleaning products that are designed to remove grease, grime and dirt from metal surfaces. Alternatively, you can make your own cleaning solution. Simply mix water with a tiny bit of dishwashing liquid.

– Safety Gear – Don’t forget to protect yourself while painting radiators. You can use a respirator mask to prevent inhalation of harmful fumes. Alternatively, you can use a carbon filter mask.

– Covering the Floor – You should cover the floor with a drop cloth. This will prevent paint from splattering and getting on the floor.

– Paint – Make sure you use paint that is specially formulated for metal surfaces. This type of paint will help to prevent corrosion while also providing excellent coverage.

Step 1: Sand and Lightly Scrape the Surface

Before painting your radiators, you should sand them lightly to remove any rust buildup and rust spots that may be present. If your radiators have a glossy finish, you can lightly scrape the surface to make it dull. This will make the paint adhere much more effectively.

Step 2: Apply Primer

If you are painting radiators made of iron, you should apply a primer before painting. This will help the paint to adhere to the metal surface.

Step 3: Paint!

You can now use a high-quality metal paint to paint your radiators. Make sure you apply two coats of paint to ensure that your radiators are fully covered and protected against corrosion. Once the paint has dried, you can use the radiators as normal.


Radiators are an energy-efficient way to heat your home, but they can also look a bit old-fashioned. Painting radiators is a quick and easy way to spruce them up. Not only does painting radiators look better, but it can also help to increase the efficiency of your home’s heating system.

Categories DIY

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