Painting Radiators - A Guide

Updated: September 4, 2023

Radiators have been warming our homes for generations, standing as silent sentinels against the cold. As time has passed, these once gleaming fixtures can become rusty, chipped, discoloured or simply out of sync with our modern home decor. The question then arises: should you paint your old radiator or invest in a new one? We'll talk about this in this guide, offering insights and answers.

Why Paint your Radiator

The choice to paint radiators is often driven by a couple of key factors:

  1. Restoring Aesthetic Appeal - Old radiators can lose their charm as paint chips away, leaving them looking rather unsightly. It can be tempting to try to paint them to restore their original appeal.

  2. Tailoring to Your Home Decor - Sometimes, it's all about making things come together with your decor. Picking a radiator colour that matches or complements other parts of your home's style can make everything feel more in tune and put-together.

A Kind Warning

It's important to understand that painting your radiator isn't a quick job. Cutting corners won't yield the desired results when it comes to this task. Proper execution is essential to avoid potential pitfalls. Not preparing the radiator's surface properly, or using the wrong type of paint can lead to ugly paint peeling, defeating the very purpose of attempting to enhance its appearance. Additionally, choosing the wrong type of paint can inadvertently compromise the radiator's overall efficiency.

Before even starting on painting your chosen colour, you will need to clean your radiator, strip the existing paint, sand, sand and sand your radiator to ensure a smooth surface, all while being careful not to damage the original structure of the radiator. Then you will need to prime your radiator surface, and only then can you think about painting it with your chosen colour.

In essence, without a genuine commitment to this job and proper execution, your efforts are likely to fall well short of the desired outcome. Therefore, attention to detail is paramount when painting radiators.

What is the Right Paint for My Radiator?

If you understand our advice above, and you're cool with it, here are your options for paint:

  1. Brush-on Paint: If you really want to DIY it, grab some regular paint and a trusty brush. It's simple and doesn't break the bank. Just remember, you might need to touch it up here and there as time goes on.

  2. Spray Paint: If you're aiming for a better DIY look, spray paint could be your best option. But make sure you prep the area right, or you might end up with more mess than magic.

  3. Professional Powder Coating: If you want a really top-notch finish, you can consider sending your radiator to the pros for powder coating. It's essentially how radiators are painted by the manufacturers. It gives a sturdy finish, looks seriously slick, and you can pick any colour you want.

So, whether you're in the mood for a DIY project or you're all about that pro touch, you've got choices aplenty to give your radiator a rad makeover.

The Case for Buying a New Radiator

If you want to paint your radiator because it's old and needs a refresh, opting to give your old radiator a new coat of paint might not be the savviest financial move. If you were to get your radiator professionally powder coated, you would likely pay around £100 for a small radiator. Hold up though! You could also nab a spanking new small radiator for roughly the same price.

Now, here's the kicker: the technology of modern radiators has come on leaps and bounds. Think better materials and designs that not only use less energy but are also generally much better at heating up your room. So investing in a new radiator may potentially yield considerable financial benefits. Contemporary radiators can boast efficiency levels up to 50% higher than their counterparts before the year 2000.

Radiators now come in all kinds of styles, colours and orientations. If you're hoping to spruce up a traditional style radiator, then there are modern takes on this style which can bring you efficiency and savings with traditional charm.

Frequently Asked Questions

Painting radiators is usually done for two reasons: restoring aesthetic appeal to old radiators that may have lost their color or are peeling, and tailoring the radiator's color to match or complement your home's interior decor.

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