How to paint a radiator? Advice, tips and tricks


Do you want to repaint your electric or cast iron radiator to give it a touch of freshness or to better integrate it into your new decoration? Know that it is possible and very simple to achieve. You just need to be well equipped and do the right things. Discover the advice of our decorating professionals and all our tips and tricks for painting your radiator without difficulty.

What type of paint does it take to paint a radiator?

You can easily find the right paint to paint your radiator without difficulty. Indeed, there are special paints suitable for all types of radiators in DIY stores.

It is imperative to invest in this type of product, because you need a paint that can withstand the heat that the device gives off when it is in operation. In addition, these paints are easy to apply and do not require the application of an undercoat.

However, if you want to repaint an old cast iron radiator that has never been painted, it is necessary to apply a ferrous undercoat that will prevent the risk of rusting. This undercoat will also be essential if you want to apply a traditional paint on your radiator, and not a paint suitable for this type of device. The undercoat will then preserve your color and prevent the product from flaking or blistering under the effect of heat.

If you go to a DIY store, you can find a wide range of colors for radiator paints. And if despite everything you do not find the shade of your dreams, know that many stores offer you to achieve the shade of your choice thanks to the use of tinting machines.

How to paint a radiator? Our advices

To successfully paint your radiator, you will need to follow the following steps.

Step 1: Prepare your device

Your radiator cannot be painted without prior preparation and cleaning. Clear all the space around the device so that you can work calmly and without discomfort. Carefully dust the radiator with a microfiber cloth or your vacuum cleaner. Do not forget any nook, especially if it is a cast iron appliance.

Once the dust has been removed, degrease its surface with a suitable product. You can clean it with a clean cloth soaked in acetone or with a sponge impregnated with a mixture of hot water and Saint-Marc-type degreasing detergent. Rinse the device then dry with a clean cloth.

If your radiator has been painted before, the old paint may blister in places or peel off. Carefully remove all flaking paint residue with a brush to allow the new layer of product to adhere well and obtain a harmonious and lasting result.

Finally, once all these tasks are done, lightly sand the surface of the device with a fine-grit sandpaper. This will smooth the surface and facilitate the adhesion of the paint.

Step 2: apply the undercoat

This step is only necessary if you are painting an old cast iron radiator for the first time or if you have purchased a classic paint for your device. In either case, the undercoat is recommended to prevent the radiator from rusting, to preserve the durability of the paint in the face of variations in temperature of the device in operation and to facilitate the adhesion of the paint. during its application.

To do this, apply your undercoat with a brush or with a paint gun. Don’t forget any nooks and crannies and adapt your equipment to your type of device to cover the entire surface. Then leave to dry for the time recommended in the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 3: apply the paint

Be aware that painting your radiator can be a long and very meticulous job. You will have to be patient and above all very applied to obtain a perfect result.

You can apply your paint with a brush, spray gun or direct spray.

  • The brush : the brush is the most suitable for an optimal rendering, but it also requires the most time and patience. Buy the brushes according to your radiator. Small, round, pointed brushes are most useful for painting hard-to-reach sides, corners and corners. Reserve flat brushes or small rollers with flatter and wider surfaces.
  • The paint gun : it is quick and easy since it allows you to apply the paint in just a few minutes and without effort. On the other hand, you will need to protect all your floor and wall surfaces around the radiator to avoid covering them with paint.
  • Aerosol : this solution is even faster than the paint gun. Also effortless and easy to apply, it likewise requires rigorous protection of the direct environment of the device.

To apply your paint, remember to prepare your product well beforehand and have your means of application within reach. For a brush application, pour the paint into a paint tray and carefully wring out your brushes on the grid before application. Be sure to apply enough paint to cover the surface, but avoid coats that are too thick, which will leave unsightly marks and may form sags.

Once the first coat is applied, let it dry for at least 12 hours and apply a second coat under the same conditions.

Our tips and tricks for successfully painting your radiator

For best results, here are our tips and tricks from the pros:

  • Arm yourself with patience and take your time, this is the recipe for your success!
  • Always paint your radiator cold. This one must not have worked recently.
  • If your heater is electric, remember to turn off its power before starting.
  • Carefully protect the floor and walls around your radiator to avoid staining them. Likewise, keep surrounding objects and furniture away or cover them with tarpaulins.
  • Make sure you work in a well ventilated room. If possible, ventilate throughout the application.
  • The undercoat may be essential in certain cases (first painting of a cast iron radiator, use of a conventional paint, etc.) and only recommended in other cases. Be aware, however, that an undercoat will always be a plus to prolong the shine of your paint and preserve your device.
  • Don’t turn your heater back on too soon! Wait at least 48 hours after complete drying. When starting up, gradually increase the temperature to allow the paint to quietly adapt to the heat and avoid the risk of cracks and blisters.
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