Create a new Project Collection to add or add it to one of your existing collections.
How to Paint a Radiator

How to Paint a Radiator

Many older homes and buildings still have cast iron radiators in them. Whether they are operational or not, you can give them a quick facelift with paint to make them blend in better or become focal points in your rooms. You simply need the right paint and know-how to brighten them up with lasting results. These tips and techniques will show you how to paint a radiator.

Share this project
Print
Project Steps
Project Shopping List
    • Step 1: Turn Off the Radiator
       

      If your radiators no longer work, but have never been removed from your home, you’re in luck—you can skip to Step 2.

      Turn off the radiator and let it cool down before painting. Applying paint to a hot radiator will result in improper paint adhesion. You should be able to easily find the valve that controls the steam that heats the radiator and turn it to the off position. Generally, a radiator will cool down in approximately 30 minutes to an hour. When the radiator is still warm or close to room temperature, you should be able to start painting without affecting your finished results.

       
    • Step 2: Prepare to Paint
       
      Drop Cloth

      Prepare the area for painting. Cover the floor with a drop cloth and secure it with painter’s tape so it doesn’t get moved around and expose the floor while you’re working. Be sure you push the drop cloth underneath the radiator to avoid getting paint on the floor. Use painter’s tape to mask baseboards on which you don’t want paint. If you will be using aerosol paint, you need to protect the wall behind and around the radiator to avoid spraying paint on surrounding surfaces. Place a large piece of cardboard or poster board behind the radiator to protect the area.

    • Step 3: Remove Dust, Dirt and Rust
       
      brushmask

      Clean the radiator surface with mild detergent, water and a scrub brush and rag. Remove all dust, dirt and grime. Let the surface dry. Paint will not adhere well over rust, so the rust must be removed along with any existing, flaking paint. Remove both rust and flaking paint using a stiff wire brush. Use a shop vacuum to clean up debris.

      Safety Alert!

      Wear a dust mask and safety glasses when removing rust and any old paint.

    • Step 4: Choose the Right Paint
       

      Use paint formulated for metal surfaces, such as X-O Rust® Paint & Primer in One, if your radiator is non-functioning. A working radiator should be covered with paint that can withstand high temperatures, such as Premium Décor® high-heat aerosol enamel or non-aerosol oil-based, high-heat enamel.

    • Step 5: Paint the Radiator
       

      Spray on a coat of True Value® X-O Rust Paint & Primer in One, Premium Décor high-heat aerosol enamel or apply non-aerosol high-heat enamel using a small- to medium-sized paintbrush. Spray painting gets the job done fast and provides excellent coverage and a smooth finish. Hold the can about 10” to 16” from the radiator and keep the can moving in a sweeping motion to avoid excess paint from dripping. Apply several thin coats (within an hour time frame) to avoid dripping.

      If using a brush, start at the top and work your way down, getting in between the pipes for full coverage. Remember not to paint the valves, as they may stick and be difficult to open. Follow manufacturer instructions for dry times. Add a second coat if necessary.

      Safety Alert!

      Ventilate the room by opening a window while painting.

      Great job! Your radiator has been painted and made to look new again.

  • Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.

    Before you begin, use the shopping list below to uncheck the tools you already have to complete this project.

    Then, print or save your updated list and bring it to your local True Value hardware store, where an expert Hardwarian will give you the remaining tools and expert advice you need to complete this project.

    You can also shop online for these project items at TrueValue.com and receive FREE shipping to a participating store.

    60 character limit.
  • Update with Low-VOC paint

    Update with Low-VOC paint

    Get a fresh, new look while promoting a cleaner environment.

    Learn More

  • Paint a Decorative Faux Headboard

    Paint a Decorative Faux Headboard

    Learn how to create a headboard illusion. Learn More

  • How to Paint a Radiator

    How to Paint a Radiator

    Give your radiator a facelift with these painting tips and techniques.

    Learn More

  • How to Select Paint Color Palette

    How to Select Paint Color Palette

    Explore your True Value® paint color options, learn what makes colors work together and get inspired.

    Learn More

  • How to Stencil a Wall or Border

    How to Stencil a Wall or Border

    Stenciling is a simple and inexpensive way to give your walls a new look. ​
    Learn More

  • Pinterest

    Follow Us On Pinterest

    ​Visit our Pinterest page for great do-it-yourself project advice and home inspiration.

    Learn more

$7 Instant Savings

×

On all paint and stain through June 23rd, 2015. For a location near you call 1-800-6-Hardware or 1-800-642-7392. Available while supplies last. Offer available at participating stores. Product, prices, and promotion period may vary. True Value retailers are independently owned and operated and may decide to opt out of the promotion.

PAINT SALE - $5 FOR A QUART OF EASYCARE PAINT

×

Buy a quart of EasyCare Ultra Premium paints for $5 through October 6th, 2015. For a location near you call 1-800-6-Hardware or 1-800-642-7392. Available while supplies last. Offer available at participating stores. Product, prices, and promotion period may vary. True Value retailers are independently owned and operated and may decide to opt out of the promotion.

 

Paints ranked by a leading consumer magazine for various qualities. Results varied by sheen. EasyCare was priced lower than those in top ten ranking based on published retail values at time of testing.

$5 off Paint Sale!

×

On a gallon of EasyCare EasyCare Platinum an EasyCare Ultra Premium through January 31, 2017. For a location near you call 1-800-6-Hardware or 1-800-642-7392. Available while supplies last. Offer available at participating stores. Product, prices, and promotion period may vary. True Value retailers are independently owned and operated and may decide to opt out of the promotion.

$5 off Paint Sale!

×

On a gallon of EasyCare and WeatherAll paints, and Woodsman stain through November 8th, 2016. For a location near you call 1-800-6-Hardware or 1-800-642-7392. Available while supplies last. Offer available at participating stores. Product, prices, and promotion period may vary. True Value retailers are independently owned and operated and may decide to opt out of the promotion.

Questions? Comments?

Contact Us