To say that I got carried away while painting our master bedroom would be a bit of an understatement. I love the colour so much that I ended up painting everything.
The eagled eyed amongst you may have noticed that my painting escapades didn’t stop there.
I painted the radiators, too!
I love how everything seamlessly blends together and now that everything is the same colour the room not only feels larger but also much more tranquil which has got to be a good thing in a bedroom.
We’re so lucky to still have the gorgeous ornate original radiators in our apartment and I’m now slowly working my way around painting all of the others, too.
In an ideal world, I’d have the radiators sandblasted and spray painted. It’s definitely what I’d recommend if you can as it’s the only way to get the elusive perfect finish, especially if you have column radiators like ours.
Annoyingly, it’s not something we can do at the moment as we can’t empty the heating system which therefore means we can’t empty the radiators to be able to take them off the wall.
As there’s so much detail lost under layer upon layer of old paint, I’m hoping it’s something we can do in the future although I’m not sure how easy it’s going to be to drag our radiators down 4 flights of stairs, especially as some of them weigh a whopping 200 kg or more!
I did attempt to strip the paint on the radiator in our guest bedroom but quickly decided that it just wasn’t worth the effort as it basically just made a huge mess and I couldn’t reach most of the areas to strip anyway! It probably wasn’t helped by the fact that the paint stripper I used was useless. (I should listen to my own advice and only ever use Peel Away!)
In the end, I decided that coving the yellowed radiators with a clean coat of paint would be the best option and I have to admit that the difference is quite staggering – although that may have something to do with the fact that I also cleaned the radiators for the first time since moving in (don’t judge), too!
If you’re thinking of giving your radiators a refresh, here’s our quick guide on how to paint a radiator.
This is what you will need:
- Water, sugar soap & sponge (and gloves)
- Paintbrush (we love these brushes and use them for everything)
- If you have a column radiator you’ll need a long reach paintbrush, too
- Paint – make sure to use a paint that’s suitable for radiators, is heat resistant and includes a primer for rust (or prime the radiators before painting)
This is how to paint a radiator:
When painting anything, the key is in the prep, and it’s no different when painting radiators. We often find, that the prep work actually takes longer than the actual painting but, as annoying as it may be, it’s the only way to achieve a long lasting result that you’ll be happy with.
I abandoned my paint stripping efforts but it doesn’t really matter if you’re completely stripping your radiators or if you’re painting over an existing finish – the most important part is to make sure that you have a perfectly clean, dry and grease-free surface to paint.
I love to use sugar soap to clean anything that I’m painting as it’s slightly abrasive. Just give your radiators a thorough scrub with a sponge and the sugar soap before moving on to the next step.
When the radiator is clean and dry you can move on to painting it.
As you can see, our radiator is damaged from when I sanded the floors and you can see a line across the front of the columns where the paint has chipped from where I kept bumping into them with the large drum sander.
Even if your radiators aren’t as badly damaged as ours, it’s really important to make sure that you use a paint that’s both suitable for radiators & heat resistant and is rust proofing, too.
When you’re ready to paint your radiators, start by painting the back, harder to reach columns first and then move on to the front section of the radiator. The long, angled brush is ideal for this as it makes it much easier to paint hard to reach areas of the radiator.
By painting the back columns first, you won’t end up getting paint all over you and your brush as you try to manoeuvre your paintbrush in the narrow spaces.
Turn the radiator to a low setting when painting it! It helps dry the paint and avoid drips. It’s likely, that your radiator will smell the first few times when you start using it as it’ll take time for the paint to fully cure. By painting when the radiator is on a low setting, you’ll be helping the paint to dry faster and therefore reduce the dreaded paint smell, too!
And that’s all there is to it! It took me a couple of hours painting per radiator but it was well worth it for the difference (and cleanliness)!
Now I just need to paint the rest of the radiators in our apartment. I’ve already ticked the bathroom, master bedroom, guest bedroom and living room radiators off my list – only 5 more to go! Then I can move on to the doors, skirtings, moulding, windows,.. The fun of DIY just never stops!
Have you painted your radiators to match your walls? Do you think it’ll be worth taking our radiators to be stripped and repainted or should we just live with the fact that some of the detail has been lost under old layers of paint?