FAQ: How To Paint A Radiator

Radiator Paint

Spring and Summer are the perfect times to think about repainting your radiators. This is because of the warmer weather meaning that they are less likely to be in use during these seasons. So, lets take a look at how to paint a radiator.

Step 1 – Paint A Radiator Preparation

First of all you need to make sure that the radiator to be painted is cold and that it is not due to come on during the painting. If the radiator is new, and you are just looking to change the colour, then the ideal thing would be to paint it before attaching it to the wall. This will make life much easier for you in the long run. However if you have an existing radiator that is already fitted then ideally you should remove it.

If you have never removed a radiator before it is worth checking the following guide on YouTube: How To Temporarily Remove A Radiator.

Can I Paint A Radiator Without Removing It?

If removing the radiator is not an option, or you are not comfortable in doing that, then you can always paint it whilst it is still fixed in place, but you will find that painting the back can be a little more tricky. However use of a long handled roller will certainly help you to reach some of the more tricky spots.

Paint A Radiator: Clean And Prepare

Whether you have removed the radiator or it remains fixed to the wall, the next job is to clean it and remove any dust. Use either a fine or medium grade sandpaper to remove any rust spots and create a rough surface which the new paint can adhere to.

The next job is to vacuum the surface to remove any remaining dust particles before wiping over with a damp cloth to ensure that all debris has been removed. Once completed allow the radiator to dry fully and whilst that is drying you should begin laying dust sheets and covering any furniture that may be caught up in the paint.

How Do I Remove Paint From A Radiator?

A common question is “how do you take paint off a radiator?” or “how do you remove emulsion paint from a radiator?”. Firstly it is not always necessary to completely remove the old paint from a radiator. Generally rubbing the radiator down with a wire brush or using a wire wool attachment on a drill will sufficiently remove enough of the existing coating for the topcoats to cover them seamlessly. However, if you do wish to remove the existing paint, (this could be due to the previous colour being too dark and you maybe want to go for a lighter colour this time) you will need to use a paint stripper such as  Centrecoat ProStrip Water Based Paint Stripper. 

Step 2 – Paint A Radiator – Priming

You may be wondering “Do I need a primer when painting a radiator?”. If the radiator is bare metal, then the answer would be yes, you will need a radiator primer to help the new paint adhere to the surface. In this instance we would recommend Rustoleum CombiPrimer, which is a great rust inhibiting primer.  The CombiPrimer should be followed with a CombiColor topcoat, Rustoleum 7300MS or Bedec Radiator Paint.

If the radiator is already painted, then no primer is required as the existing paint will act as the primer for you, but please remember you must ensure that you have followed the earlier preparation steps before applying any topcoat.

Step 3 – Paint A Radiator – Topcoats

What Paint Should I Use On My Radiator? Well there are a number of options available depending on if you wish to use a spray paint or a brush or roller. There are also options when it comes to colours, metallics and textures. We have listed a few of our most popular items below to help get you started:

Bedec Radiator Paint

Paint A RadiatorA water based non yellowing gloss paint, affording a tough durable finish.

Bedec Radiator Paint is a heat resistant coating that works exceptionally well at providing interior radiators with a protective coating that decorates the surface with a white gloss, satin or matt.

Features Technical Details
  • Quick Drying
  • Heat Resistant
  • Low Odour
  • Non yellowing
  • Smooth long lasting finish
  • Clean up with water
  • Apply by brush roller or spray
  • Touch dry in 30 minutes
  • Dry in 2-4 hours
  • Fully hardened after 2 weeks
  • Theoretical coverage: 12 to 14 m2 per litre
  • Available in 0.75ltrs

Teamac Hammercote Hammered Enamel Paint

Paint A RadiatorHammered finish paint for trailers, metal, radiators, garden furniture, Hammerite.

Teamac Hammercote Hammered Enamel Paint is best used for providing a hammered finish and excellent protection to a variety of metal surfaces and is suitable for use on cars, radiators, trailers, fences, railings and garden furniture, tools, casings, metal furniture, gates and railings, interior and exterior.

Features Technical Details
  • Fast Drying Coating
  • Only 15 minutes to become touch dry at 20 degrees Celsius
  • Provides a hammered finish
  • One coat system
  • Non yellowing
  • Oil and grease resistant
  • All colours are lead free
  • Can be applied directly onto any metal surface using brush, roller or airless spray
  • Best results seen when all coats are applied in quick succession
  • Theoretical coverage rate of 5-10m2 per litre
  • Available in 5 litre tins

Ardenbrite Metallic Paint

Paint A RadiatorThis paint is best used for brightening the appearance of various different substrates giving the effect of a brand new metal surface even if the surface is not actually metal itself.

Available in bronzes, silvers and golds, Ardenbrite Metallic Paint is a great way of refurbishing radiators, giving them an aesthetically pleasing finish. It is particularly popular as a silver radiator paint.

Features Technical Details
  • Rapid drying
  • Can be applied by brush roller or spray
  • Touch dry after 15-30 minutes at 20c
  • Second coat can be applied after 1-2 hours
  • Ideal if you wish to give your radiator a Victorian look
  • Liquid metal coating
  • Available in 11 top of the range metallic colours
  • Theoretical Coverage: 12m2 per litre per coat (2 coats recommended)
  • Available in 500ml, 1litre and 2.5 litre tins

Paint A Radiator: Applying The Topcoat

Most radiator paint can be applied by either brush, roller or airless sprayer. Using a spray will give you a much more even coverage, but if you do not have this option then a brush would usually be next best choice, as it is easier to get within the grooves.

When using a brush make sure that the paint is stirred thoroughly. Using a 2″ brush paint in strokes from top to bottom, overlapping a small area each time to give an even finish. Be careful that you do not apply the paint too thick as this can lead to runs and blistering. Unless you are using a rapid dry product, such as those listed above, you will need to wait 24 hours before applying the second coat.

Finally, make sure the radiator is completely dry before turning the heat back on (this usually takes a couple of days). Keep the room well ventilated during this time as there will be a smell of paint for a few days.

Radiator PaintWhere Can I Buy Radiator Paint?

If you are looking for the best radiator paint, you are in the right place! Promain have a vast range of products from white radiator paint through to metallics and everything in between. As well as having products to suit most budgets, we are also able to assist you with advice on questions such as how to paint a radiator with spray paint, how to remove paint from a flaking radiator and even how to paint the inside of the radiator.

For more information on how to paint a radiator and the products that Promain can provide, please contact us today and we will be happy to help.


Radiator Paint is also sometimes know as:

  • Radiater paint
  • Cast iron radiator paint
  • Radiator heater paint
  • Heating radiator paint
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