How to paint a radiator

Painting a radiator isn't like painting a wall so if you would like to brighten up a room by applying paint, there are some things you will need to know. If you want to know how to paint a radiator including preparing, priming and applying a top coat, read on.


Before you find out how to paint a radiator, you'll need to prepare it. Turn it off and then allow it to become completely cold. You’ll need to check that it can’t come back on before the paint’s completely dried.


Painting a radiator that’s not attached to the wall is far easier but removing the rad is a difficult task, so unless you’re experienced with installing them, don’t attempt it. When it’s cold, clean it to remove any dust and grease. When that’s done, rub it down gently with sandpaper. This will give it a slightly rough surface which will make the paint adhere better.


When you're ready to go, you'll need to apply a metal primer or specialist radiator primer which will protect any bare areas of the rad. If there are any rust spots, you'll need to use an anti-corrosive primer.


You have two options here. If you're thinking of colouring your radiator the traditional white, you'll need to use specialist radiator paint as other paint types will go yellow over time. A good solvent-based paint, such as a non-drip gloss is a good option for other colours, as they're available in a wide range of shades.

Final stage

Now you know how to paint a radiator, you will just need to know what to do next. You should make sure that the paint has dried before you turn the radiator on again. Leaving it a day or so should be plenty. Be aware that you will experience a strong aroma of paint when you first turn it on but that goes away in a short time.

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