How To Paint a Radiator

how to paint a radiator

Are you tired of your old radiators that are already old? Has its color faded? Do you want to give them a facelift and modernize them ? No problem, it is not necessary to change them to renew your decoration. Nowadays customers can find specialist radiator paint, resistant to heat, in cans or in aerosols (spray painting), and there is something for everyone. It is ecological and economical paint and saves you the hassle of investing in new hot water radiators. Repainting a heater is a task accessible to all  DIY enthusiasts. Knowing how to disassemble a radiator (not mandatory), apply masking tape, use an angled or angled brush,  and dilute the paint according to the manufacturer’s instructions are the main tasks that make up the project.

Paint for a radiator

paint a radiator -  using an anti-corrosive primer or specialist radiator primer
How to paint a radiator

Radiator paints are known to be heat resistant and non-yellowing, often containing anti-oxidant agentsto ensure the durability of the paint. Some do not require a primer. To repaint your radiators, you first need to know what type of radiator you have so that you can choose a suitable paint.

How to paint an electric radiator

For electric radiators, acrylic radiator paint is recommended. Easy to apply and almost odourless, it dries faster and is more respectful of health and the environment.

How to paint a hot water radiator

For hot water radiators, it is advisable to use a solvent-based radiator paint, and if possible,  one that contains an antioxidant. It has greater adhesion and contains anti-yellowing agents. Also, most of these paints do not chip.

Radiator renovation paint

There are also specific renovation paints for radiators that do not require a primer and require very little preparation (water-based paint). Lastly, there are radiator spray paints, which are very easy to apply and adhere wellHow to paint a radiator – Before you start

Before you start radiator painting
Radiator painting – how to paint a radiator

Before you begin, you should assess the condition of your radiators. In the case of electric convectors, if the paint does not peel off, a light sanding, cleaning with acetone and two coats of radiator renovation paint are enough. If the paint peels, it is advisable to sand everything or even sand (pneumatic sandblast) the convector and start over with a suitable anti-rust primer and two coats of paint.

In the case of accordion-type hot water radiators, if the paint is chipped and the radiator is rusty, it will be necessary to:

  • Sand or brush with a wire brush to remove loose parts;
  • Clean with acetone;
  • Apply a coat of primer and two coats of solvent-based radiator paint.

If the radiator is heavily rusted, it is advisable to apply an anti-rust or rust-stopping product before the primer coat to prevent the rust from spreading.

Radiator painting

To begin with, and obviously, the radiator must be cold . So you have two options:

  • Disassemble the radiator, bearing in mind that some will require bleeding (hot water radiators);
  • Leave the radiator hanging on the wall, in which case place the different protections around the radiator so as not to stain the wall with paint.

Whichever method you choose:

  1. Install a tarp  or cardboard on the floor to prevent paint stains on the floor .
  2. Mix the paint well so that it is homogeneous.
  3. Use a small, short-haired roller for large surfaces. There is no point in stretching it too much.
  4. Use the  flat paint brush or brush for small corners and the angled brush for hard-to-reach places.
  5. Paint radiators and radiator pipes, making sure to apply the paint to the entire surface.

Masking tape before first coat is used

Remember to properly prepare the surface for painting to avoid the tape peeling off with the paint. The substrate should be clean. The tape will be difficult to stick to damp surfaces and freshly painted surfaces.

Drawing paint

Although it is easy to use, taking it off can be a bit of a problem. The consolation is that it can be removed quite simply without damaging the surfaces that are both outside and inside. The tape should be removed immediately after painting, when the paint is slightly dry and when we know that we have applied all the layers. Also, be careful not to tear the tape off too late, as this can make the tape tear into pieces or glue sticking to the walls.

Application of a second coat

Let dry for the time indicated on the can, then apply a second coat the same way the first was applied.

You can also use a paint gun when indicated on the paint can. It is a real time saver and it is very comfortable, because the layers are uniform and cover a large area in a short time.

Note: The radiator must be allowed to completely dry for at least 48 hours before being put back into service.

Radiator spray paint

paint a radiator a sheet of dust behind the heater

If we want to paint a radiator, we can think at first that it is such a common household item that it does not need a special paint. But it turns out that the main characteristic of this type of device, which is to produce heat, can generate secondary effects if we use a paint that is not prepared to face high temperatures. Stains, yellowing or chipping are the most common reactions.

As its name indicates, we are not talking about a paint for steel radiators, or a paint for aluminum radiators: spray paint it is a valid product for all cases. Nowadays it possible to but spray paint with great resistance to high temperatures, specifically up to 100 ºC. Spray painting will mark out excellent hardening and high resistance to scratching.

How to paint a radiator – How to get started

In the first place, if you are interested in radiator painting, it is best to do it at a time of year when we are not going to use it, when it’s completely cold, since this will make it easier not to turn it on and respect the total drying of the product.

Once we get to work, we must protect, as is usually obvious, all the parts that we do not want to be painted; from the floor (we suggest placing damp cloth and wash it from time ti time in warm water or use old sheets) and the wall to the tap or radiator bleeder.

Of course, we must clean and degrease the surface of radiator properly. It will also be necessary to remove corrosion, if any, with a wire brush or thin scraper. Sanding the entire surface gently will be very useful to open the pore of the original paint.

Next, we just have to shake the product for 1 minute, test the distance and flow of paint on a test surface and paint keeping the spray as vertical as possible. Be careful especially when applying final coat. Remember that applying several thin layers, carefully respecting the drying times, is always better than a thick one.

paint a radiator - old radiator paint with standard emulsion paint use angled radiator brush. how to paint a radiator? use normal emulsion paint. You can paint a radiator it in a contrasting colour.
paint a radiator

Once you have finished, remember that inverting the spray can and shooting for a few seconds until the paint stops coming out will help prevent the diffuser from clogging and you will not need to change it for a new one the next time you use it.

When the aerosol has been completely used up, do not forget that it is a recyclable container.

Having special paint in aerosol the laborious task of painting the nooks and crannies between the metal tubes becomes an easy, fast and fun process, applying a completely reliable and durable product. It’s not obligatory to wear a face mask during this work.

Black radiator paint


In modern designs, white shades usually appear. They give a subdued character and allow you to create any atmosphere. When you compose them with wooden furniture and accessories in warm colors, you will get a cozy and homely decor. On the other hand, bright furnishings with dark accents will make the living room, kitchen or bedroom more elegant and luxurious. An interesting idea is choosing different colour, for example black or gray paint for radiators. Both cast iron and aluminum models then look mysterious and intriguing. Dark colors optically reduce the space, so they are best used in spacious rooms. Bold accents are mainly found in industrial and modern style.

Painting radiators – recommended tools

How to paint a radiator, clear radiator overcoat

When painting the radiator, we can use brushes, sponges or rollers. However, you should have sponges and rollers for painting with paints based on inorganic thinners. An ordinary wall paint sponge will swell and tear, leaving fragments on the painted radiator. For painting traditional radiators with cast iron ribs, choose a special brush.

How to paint a radiator – summary


Painting a radiator is an activity that you can successfully do yourself. For this task you need not only efficient hands and enthusiasm, but most of all the right paint. This article can be used as step by step guide for those who will try to do this work by themselves for the first time.