How to Paint a Radiator

Radiators are a necessary evil if you want to stay warm. As such, while we are glad to have them, we generally try to minimise their appearance in our rooms. This generally means painting them.

The first question to consider is what colour to use. You may choose to blend into your wall, but it is important to remember that light colours radiate more heat than dark.

The second is what type of paint to use. Again, it’s important to take into consideration what conducts heat the best. Gloss finishes radiate better than matt. They also take longer to dry, so plan your project accordingly.

Before you begin, you need to isolate your radiator and let it cool down. Be prepared for the radiator to be out of commission for at least 24 hours; applying paint to a warm radiator or trying to turn it back on too soon will ruin the finish.

If the radiator has been painted before, use sandpaper to key the surface of the old paint. Use a good quality paint that isn’t solvent-based (using a solvent-based paint will result in yellowing – important to avoid, especially if you’re using white). Your best option is to use a paint that is recommended for radiators.

Using a small (5 cm) paintbrush, apply the paint, working from top to bottom. Do not paint the valves, as this will make them harder to open them. Leave the paint to dry for at least 24 hours before turning your radiator back on.

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