Painting and Refinishing Your Radiator- Top Tips for a Flawless Finish

painting your radiator

Wondering how to paint your radiator? You all know that I love nothing more than a good home renovation project that makes a house more into a home by giving it a warm, cosy feel. Here I’m going to talk about something that can be found in the majority of homes and is surprisingly a big style-crush of mine, ever since we bought a slimline, column one for our kitchen. Something that when they look neglected, can totally spoil an otherwise beautifully finished room. What am I talking about? Radiators of course! Weirdly they’re something I really notice when I go into a house, and I have my eye on some beautiful ones for our hallway as I feel the one we have now just doesn’t do it justice.

 In addition to savings on your heating bills and being more environmentally friendly, cast iron radiators offer endless styling and customisation options. If you have just bought vintage style radiators or already have some installed in your home but they’re looking a little worse for wear, painting your radiator can be a great opportunity to update or change the look of your home. But what is the best way to get a beautiful, flawless finish that will complement your rooms? Take a look at some of my important tips to remember when attempting to bring your cast iron radiators back to their former glory

 Surface Preparation

 The design and beauty of cast iron radiators can turn into their worst aspect when it comes to cleaning them, so having the correct tools is essential to getting completely clean and smooth surfaces. If your radiators are rusted or have peeling paint, then it will need to be removed before refinishing begins. A good set of vent brushes, abrasive paper and hard bristled copper brushes will be adequate for smoothing off any imperfections while a damp cloth with household cleaner is sufficient for getting rid of dust, dirt, and grease.

 Avoid Using Powder Coat!

 Whether you are repainting your cast iron radiator, or are outsourcing the work to a contractor, make sure that no powder coat is used during the refinishing project. Powder coating achieves a beautiful looking finish but the heat required to bake the paint means your radiators face the risk of cracking or having their structural integrity compromised.

 Choosing the Right Paint

 The answer to the tip above is that there is no need to stretch yourself when it comes to buying paint to use on your cast iron radiator.  Most cellulose or acrylic based paints are suitable for achieving great looking finishes, the only requirement being that your chosen paint has to have the ability to withstand high levels of heat and is not water based as these tend to result in rust patches.

 Swap the Brush for a Spray can

For the best looking results, it’s best to paint your cast iron radiators using spray-paint. While cast iron’s texture makes it quite easy to achieve a flawless finish, using a brush to paint your radiator will make it quite hard to achieve a smooth and consistent finish. For this purpose, using spray paint will make it easier for you to reach in and around all the columns and those hard to reach areas.


Enhancing your home and filling you with the warmth it provides as well as pride in your achievement, a beautifully finished cast iron radiator can prove to be the centrepiece of any room and the envy of your visitors. Remember to plan ahead for things such as good weather for optimum drying conditions, as well as extra help if you are going to be moving the radiators as they can be quite heavy.

So, do you think it’s time to give your radiators a makeover?!


See some more of my DIY posts here


Thanks to Castrads for partnering The Spirited Puddle Jumper


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