Painting Cast Iron Radiators

So you have sourced some wonderful reclaimed cast iron radiators, or you want to refurbish your Victorian period radiators, but what is the best way of bringing them back to their former glory?

Below are a few tips to achieving a stunning yet hard-wearing painted finish on cast iron radiators.

1. DON’T power coat!

Some companies offer a powder coating service. This method can produce a fabulous finish, BUT… cast iron radiators are not designed to go through the high oven temperatures and prolonged baking process involved in powder coating. Many experts advise against this option as there is a very real risk that the seals between sections will be damaged during baking which will lead to leaking radiators. For this reason, powder coating will invalidate any manufacturer’s guarantee.

2. DO use cellulose or acrylic based paint

There is no need to use expensive specialist radiator paints. You can achieve a perfect finish using cellulose-based paint or acrylic-based spray paint. For instance, car paint is perfect for radiators as it is designed to cope with extremes of temperature and be tough enough to withstand relatively intense wear and tear. If you like the look of powder coating, then a similar looking end result can be achieved by using products like “Plasti-kote”, a spray paint available from many DIY stores.

3. DON’T use water based paint

If you use water based paint on cast iron you will almost certainly end up with orange “rust blooms”. Some “specialist” paint is water based and even has a picture of a cast iron radiator on the tin but use this at your peril!

4. DO spray paint rather than brush paint

Cast iron’s textured finish is forgiving, so a good paint finish is easily achievable. If you are planning on painting the radiators yourself by hand, then we recommend using spray paint as it is difficult to reach into the middle columns and achieve a consistent finish using a brush.

For more information on this subject, then it is advised you speak to an expert.