How To Paint A Radiator

How To Paint A Radiator

Radiators are essential fixtures in UK homes, providing warmth and comfort throughout the year. Whilst they serve a practical purpose, radiators do not have to be eyesores or overlooked. 

A simple solution? 

Paint them to seamlessly blend into your interior design, transforming these utility pieces into stylish features. 

With extensive experience in radiator painting, our team is well-versed in dealing with various radiator types. Our wealth of knowledge allows us to guide you through the step-by-step process of painting your radiators, ensuring a successful and visually pleasing outcome. 

Let’s delve into the details.

Can You Paint a Radiator?

Certainly! The answer is a resounding “Yes.” 

The great news is if you’re updating your colour scheme or want a change, giving your radiator a new coat of paint is not only allowed but a fantastic way to bring in a breath of fresh style.

Sure, it might take time and effort, but don’t worry – it’s doable.

Why Paint Your Radiator?

There are so many different reasons you should think about painting your radiator. 

Here are a few of the benefits:

  • You can enhance your room’s look! Radiators can stand out, blend in or complement the space – it’s up to you.
  • Painting your radiator black can save you money by reflecting heat back into the room. 
  • Painting is a budget-friendly option to replacing an old one.
  • Paint acts as a protective layer against rust.

As you can see, there are many reasons to refresh the look of your radiator. However, the key to a successful transformation lies in careful painting. Don’t worry – painting your radiator is doable for a determined DIY enthusiast.

How To paint Your radiator:

Lets look at the step-by-step process of painting your radiator and what materials you’ll need.

Tools and Materials Needed:

Before you begin, gather the necessary materials:

  • High-Heat paint (solvent-based paints like satinwood are a popular choice)
  • Primer
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Dust Sheets
  • Paintbrushes and Rollers
  • Masking Tape

Step-by-step guide:

1. Turn Off the Heating: begin by turning off the heating system and allowing the radiator to cool completely. Attempting to paint a radiator that is still warm may also result in the paint peeling off or not adhering to the surface properly. When you finish painting, ensure the heating stays off until the paint is dry.

Next, make sure you ventilate the room properly. Open a couple of windows and doors to minimise exposure to paint fumes. This precaution becomes even more critical if you opt for spray paint, as adequate ventilation prevents inhaling potentially harmful fumes. By taking these measures, you enhance the safety and the quality of the painting process.

2. Clean the Radiator: Wipe the radiator with a damp cloth to remove dust and accumulated grime. Cleaning the surface ensures better paint adhesion. This step is easy to overlook. But your radiator gathers dirt, grease, and grime, even in a clean home. So before you repaint it, deal with this layer of buildup.

3. Sand the Surface: Lightly sand the radiator surface with fine sandpaper (120 to 220 grit) to create a smooth texture for the paint to adhere to. Wipe away any sanding residue. It may be a good idea to use a vacuum cleaner at this point to remove any fine bits of dust. Follow up with a thorough wipe-down using a damp cloth, ensuring the radiator is completely dry before commencing the paint application.

4. Masking: Use masking tape to protect adjacent walls and surfaces. This step helps achieve clean and precise lines.

5. Apply Primer: Use a metal primer to coat the radiator evenly. Allow the primer to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This step enhances paint adhesion and provides a durable finish.

6. Painting: Once the primer is dry, apply the high-heat paint with a brush or roller. Work in even strokes, following the natural contours of the radiator. Be patient and allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next. Multiple Coats: Depending on the colour and coverage of the paint, you might need to apply multiple coats. Ensure each coat is completely dry before moving on to the next one. The re-coat time for paint varies with each brand, so read the instructions on the back of the tin.

7. Remove Masking Tape: carefully remove the masking tape once the final coat is dry to reveal clean edges.

8. Wait for Drying: allow the radiator to dry completely before turning the heating system back on. Doing this ensures that the paint cures properly.

Enjoy Your Newly Painted Radiator: Once the paint has fully cured, you can enjoy the refreshed look of your radiator. It’s now a stylish addition to your home, seamlessly blending with your decor.

Top Tips

  • Ensure the radiator is off and sufficient time is allowed for cooling before you begin preparing the radiator.
  • Thoroughly clean and dry the radiator before applying any paint.
  • Prioritise using a high-quality primer before commencing with the painting process.
  • Guarantee optimal room ventilation, taking precautions to safeguard furniture, carpets, or any other items from potential damage.
  • Maintain a continuous ‘wet edge’ during the painting process to prevent the formation of undesirable brush marks.
  • Allow the initial coat of paint to dry for 24 hours before contemplating a second application.
  • After completion, refrain from turning the radiator back on for a day or two.
  • Anticipate a temporary odour post-painting; this is considered normal, so ensure consistent room ventilation during this period.

If painting your radiator feels too difficult or time-consuming, our friendly team at Millennium Contracts can do the whole restoration and redecoration for you at competitive rates.


Painting your radiators is an effective way to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home. With patience and the correct materials, you can transform functional radiators into stylish features that complement your interior design. Now, as it gets colder, you can enjoy the warmth of your radiators, along with the added visual appeal.