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Painting a radiator

(8 Posts)
suntodayplease Thu 15-Nov-12 11:01:57

We have one of those fancy vertical radiators in our bedroom (previous occupiers installed) which whilst I don't love, it actually throws out a lot of heat and it's going to cost a lot to replace, plus it's cheap to run according to the plumber. We are about to redecorate at last, and said plumber suggested we paint it, using car body paint. The decorator didn't bat an eyelid when I mentioned this. Does this sound right?

PigletJohn Thu 15-Nov-12 12:27:04

I suppose he means a spray acrylic from Halfords or similar? The spray would be a way to get into the complicated columns which is difficult with a brush. It gives you the chance to use a bronze or metallic finish if you so desire, and is very hard and glossy. Have never done it myself.

It is vital to clean it very thoroughly beforehand. If the decorator has done it before I expect he knows how to clean it and mask off the wall. I imagine it will be the last thing in the room to paint, so there are no drips or splashes on it. Ask the decorator has he done it before, and how he will set about it.

I sometimes take radiators off the wall to paint; but it is labour-intensive and they might get knocked carrying and refitting them (plus, if iron, they are very very heavy)

Like any paint, it will smell for a week or so when you first run it hot, and must be very clean first as dust may stick to it when first heated.

Caerlaverock Thu 15-Nov-12 12:28:14

You can use ordinary emulsion and then coat with special stuff

suntodayplease Thu 15-Nov-12 14:15:10

The decorator has taken radiators off elsewhere (I'm a fussy client!) so he thought it would be best to take it off to paint. Apparently he has special tools to give it a very fine key to help the paint take. It sounds like he knows what he's doing. He said normal paint goes yellow after a while - wanting it to be a crisp white. Good tip on making sure its clean before using it. Plumber isn't coming back for a week after decorators so it will be off the wall for a while and will get a good chance to dry.

Thanks for your tips!

nocake Thu 15-Nov-12 18:01:49

I've painted radiators with satinwood paint, which smells less than most other metal and wood paints. It gives a good finish, far better than I ever acheived with radiator paint. The only issue you may have is getting full coverage on a column rad, getting it into all the gaps.

digerd Thu 15-Nov-12 18:13:57

I was recommended to use a proper radiator enamel paint in matt for maximum heat output. Is it a flat panel or a column rad?

nocake Thu 15-Nov-12 18:34:03

I found it impossible to get a good finish with radiator enamel. I guess it might work if you spary it but with a brush it's rubbish. And it stinks for weeks.

PigletJohn Thu 15-Nov-12 20:50:39

I too prefer satinwood, it stands up to wear better than emusion, and dust does not stick to it so it is easier to keep clean. I apply it by brush, and use a thin brushed coat of metal-preservative (anti-rust) primer under it.

You can't sand radiators because they do not have a flat surface, but a green scourer will soften brushmarks. It is easier to paint them if you take them off the wall and lie them flat (do all the edges first), and carry them by the tails or hangers.

It is pretty well impossible to detect any difference in heat output from radiators whether you paint them matt black or shiny silver. Despite the name, most of the heat is by convection, they are only about 40C above room temperature. With a TRV they get the room warm and then turn themselves down. I prefer a 50% bigger radiator to warm the room faster, it makes more differemce than any paint.

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