How to Paint an Old Radiator

Written by maxwell payne
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How to Paint an Old Radiator
An old radiator can be painted red. (Martin Poole/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Old radiators are often made of cast iron and can weigh hundreds of pounds, making it nearly impossible to move them. Fortunately, if you want to repaint a radiator, you can do it on the spot. Whether you're redoing the room and want the radiator to match, or the radiator has simply become dull and rusty over time, the job can be completed inexpensively and efficiently.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Wire brush
  • Sandpaper
  • Oil-based primer -- zinc chromate if the radiator tends to rust
  • Oil-based paint
  • 2 paintbrushes

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  1. 1

    Turn off the radiator heat valve and allow the radiator to cool to room temperature.

  2. 2

    Use the sandpaper to remove paint, grime and rust from the radiator. Use a wire brush to scrub off hard-to-remove rust and paint. When finished, all the paint should be off.

  3. 3

    Dip an oil paintbrush into primer and apply a full coat. Get into the nooks and crevices of the radiator. Allow the primer to dry.

  4. 4

    Dip another brush into the oil paint and apply a first coat, coating all sections of the metal evenly. Wait for the initial coat to dry and then apply a second coat to complete the painting.

  5. 5

    Allow the second coat to dry. Give the paint time to properly bond to the radiator surface, and leave the radiator off for at least one day.

Tips and warnings

  • Metallic or bronzed paints can lower the efficiency of heat transmission. Do not paint with these if you are still using your radiator for heat.
  • Ventilate the room while you are working. Also, consider wearing latex gloves.

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