How To Use Radiator Paint

It’s a pleasant surprise when you make a home décor item an exciting focal point. If you know how to use radiator paint, then you’ll like what you can learn here. Those who have that magic home design touch will attest that a radiator can be a room centerpiece.  

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Painting a radiator is a splendid way to begin your journey as a DIY interior decorator. There’s no reason why a radiator can’t be a thing of beauty. Let’s see how you can transform one today.

Can You Paint A Radiator?

Yes, you can paint a radiator. The best paint for radiators is heat-resistant metal paint. Before you begin, you’ll need to learn more about your radiator.

Can You Paint A Radiator?View in gallery

Cast Iron

Cast iron radiators were common in the 1800s. Today, they’re almost relics. However, they look like antiques, which adds style to your home. As a radiator, they heat slow. Compared to their modern counterparts, they’re not easy to operate.

Radiators are heavy, but they’re also fragile and can shatter like glass. A three foot tall radiator could with 300 pounds. Also, the best time to refurbish a cast-iron radiator is in the spring or summer. 

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel radiators look sharp and are versatile. People will choose stainless steel t because they don’t rust, and they’re reliable. 

The steel radiators need to be cleaned. But they’re the most popular choice in among modern radiators.

Aluminum

Aluminum radiators are amazing. They can heat and room fast. The radiators cost more than steel radiators, which makes them less popular.

The radiators require more care than the other types. You will also need to be extra careful not to scratch or dent them.

Copper And Brass

Copper and brass radiators are popular. They were one of the first radiators ever. Copper heats fast, so it’s convenient and efficient. The radiators do not have a long shelf life.

How To Paint A Radiator 

How To Paint A Radiator View in gallery

Painting a radiator is easy. It does require prep work. First, you need to clean the radiator. Next, cover the parts you don’t want to paint with tape.

Step 1: Pick Your Paint

Both primer and paint are important when painting your radiator. You should choose an oil-based aerosol primer. You can choose either an oil or water-based paint if it is made for interior metal surfaces. 

They should both be rust and heat resistant. However, choose the right type of paint before choosing a color. 

Step 2: Get Radiator Ready

Turn the control valve clockwise to “off” or closed. Let the radiator cool off. Tape the control valve and radiator bleed valve. You don’t want to paint these areas. Also, don’t paint over the vents.

Make sure you use tape when painting anything like this because you do not want it painted over unless the radiator isn’t functional. 

Step 3: Get Area Ready

Use masking tape around the wall behind the radiator to protect it from paint. Place a few drop cloths underneath and around the radiator to protect the floor. Cloth works better than plastic.

Wear a mask and open a window. Aerosol primer is toxic and strong. Keep the room you’re working in ventilated. If you have a fan, point it toward an open window to reduce the fumes.

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Step 4: Sand The Radiator

Sand the radiator with coarse sandpaper. This will remove built-up debris and dirt. Then go over the whole thing with fine sandpaper. If you find paint peeling off, then stop what you’re doing.

You need to test the paint for lead. Lead paint can cause serious problems to your health. So test any paint that is older than a few decades. You can get at-home kits or send samples to the lab for testing.

Step 5: Clean Radiator

To clean the radiator, get a barely damp cloth and wipe it down. This is primarily to get rid of the sanding dust Then let the radiator completely dry. Only then can you begin priming and painting the radiator. 

Step 6: Spray Paint With Primer

Hold the primer one foot from the radiator and spray an even coat over the entire thing. Prime everything visible at least and the top of the back of the radiator even if this is rarely seen unless up close.

Step 7: Paint Radiator 

Paint the radiator like you primed it. For the best results, you should paint a radiator in stages – painting the edges first, before moving on to the face of the appliance.

When choosing the best radiator paint, you have four main options.

  • Proper Specialist Radiator Paint -use this paint if you’re painting your radiator white. Specialist radiator paint is less likely to yellow over time as the radiator heats up and cools down and is also heat resistant, which is obviously handy as that is what your radiator is going to do.
  • Solvent-Based Paint– solvent-based paints are the go-to paints for radiators. Water-based paints are also gaining in popularity because they don’t smell as bad when you use your radiator after painting it.
  • Radiator Overcoat – clear enamel radiator gloss is ideal for when you want to accent your radiator with color. The overcoat is fast-drying and cheap.
  • Spray Paint – you can find spray paint made for painting radiators. If you decide to use spray paint, wear gloves to protect your hands.

Step 8: Finish Up

Remove any tape left behind and by folding up the cloth carefully. Then you can wait another half day after it dries and then turn the heat back on to the radiator.

After you finish painting your radiator, wait 24 hours before you start using it. Also, you can expect the radiator to smell for one week.

The Legend Of Silver-Painted Radiators

In the winter of 1918, Spanish influenza ripped through the US and the world. The airborne virus would claim five percent of the world’s population. Ten years later, during the Great Depression, US leaders were worried that influenza would return. The US Board of Health passed a law forcing homeowners to keep their windows open to help prevent influenza from spreading.

During the winter months, homeowners needed bigger heaters because their windows were open. This spurred demand for large indoor radiators. After an influenza pandemic failed to return, American homeowners were stuck with large radiators that produced too much heat and cost too much to operate.

As a solution, the US government released a report that that said metallic paint, like aluminum-bronzing paint, would reduce heat produced by radiators With cast-iron radiators, 70 percent of its heat comes from convection. Meanwhile, 30 percent of its output is radiation, which steams onto people like sunlight.

The government report said that paint containing aluminum flakes, when applied to a radiators surface, would reduce radiation. And this why old cast iron radiators are silver. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Can You Sell Used Radiators?

Where can we sell Aluminum Radiators? Aluminum Radiator scrap can be recycled for cash at any local scrap yard near your locality. Please note that Aluminum Radiators is worth good money at the scrap yard. You just need to identify the right scrap yard that offers the best price for your scrap.

Can You Paint Radiators With Wall Paint?

Yes, you can but cheaper paints do not last as long. Before you know it, wall paint will begin to chip and peal and then you’ll need to paint your radiator again. If you use wall paint, cover it with a clear radiator overcoat after applying emulsion paint.

What If The Paint Has Lead?

If the radiator paint does indeed have lead, stay away from it and keep your kids and pets away from. Call a professional and let them remove the paint. 

Trying to remove lead paint alone is not a good idea. You can inhale lead without even knowing it or leave residue behind that can harm your pets and children. Hire a professional to remove it.

Can I Paint Non-Operating Radiator? 

Yes. In fact, painting a non-operating radiator is a great idea. You can cover up that old thing and make it a statement piece. Think of a fun way to transform it into something else like fruit or an animal.

You don’t even have to tape a radiator that doesn’t work, the rules are much more forgiving. You can paint the radiator like you’re painting anything else that isn’t electronic or gas.

What Is A Good Radiator Paint?

There are many good radiator paints. You can use Rust-Oleum if you’re not sure which one to choose, but any paint that is heat-resistant after it dries is good if it works indoors and on metals.

If you have cast iron, make sure that the paint can be used on cast iron. Stainless steel sanding between coats so that the paint sticks. Steel has a slick surface so be careful with paint dripping.

Do I Need Primer To Paint A Radiator?

Yes, you need primer. Primer offers good coverage and protects your radiator. Primer is not like paint. It is used underneath the paint and is thicker.

It is almost always necessary when painting but especially if you’re painting something operating or something that is a dark color. Anti-rust primer for radiators.

Does Painting A Radiator Affect Its Capabilities? 

This is pure myth and was first busted in the 30s. Painting a radiator does not make it work any better or any worse.

Are Certain Colors Better For A Radiator?

It has been said that dark colors absorb more heat than lighter ones, which is true. With radiators, the output of heat isn’t affected by the color of the paint used on the radiator.

This can be true for what you’re wearing, however. Darker colors may make you feel warmer than lighter colors. You can start there when deciding how colors affect heating capabilities.

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How To Use Radiator Paint Conclusion

If you’ve ever asked, “Can I paint my radiator?” Well, the answer is yes you can. Remember, read the label on the paint can before you start painting. There is a reason why products have labels and they’re aimed at protecting us.