Radiator paint is something you cannot mess about with, you must use the best to avoid cracks, smells and terrible coverage. A radiator paint must withstand heat, but also hold the colour without cracking or flaking away.
This is why you should always use premium paint for your radiators in the home.
Over time your radiators will lose their bright white colour, you can paint them a different colour or go with the traditional white which always seems the correct choice for me.
Preparing Your Radiators Ready For Painting
I would also recommend you sand any radiator back to the metal, this will help your new radiator paint key to your radiator when dry.
If you paint over the original radiator paint then you “WILL” discover that it starts to peel off in sheets, that’s why you should always prep your radiators before painting them.
- Sand your radiator before painting
- Use a sander or a woodblock
- Sanding a radiator will help coverage and key
- This will also prevent cracks and peeling
TOP TIP: Always score the previous paint on your radiator to help the new paint key to the radiator surface and stay there.
The Best Radiator Paints
Here is the list of the best radiator paints currently on sale in the UK for indoor radiators.
I have used these options for many years, so I know they work great, cover well and hold their colour for many years.
Hammerite Radiator Paint
Currently, there is only one radiator paint I use every time which and that’s Hammerite. Their paint formula is the best and most presentable because it looks great every time.
If you prep your radiators before applying Hammerite radiator paint you will experience bright white radiators for many years to come.
This is also relevant to any colour your paint your radiators if your going for a grey or black the process is the same every time, the more prep the better your radiators will look for longer.
The Hammerite brand provides a variety of colours that air dries in around 6 hours. Yes, it does let off smells but nowhere as bad when compared to some enamel paints.
In all the Hammerite smells less provides great colours and does not split, crack or peel if applied correctly.
- Drying: 4-6 hours
- Colours: various
- Volume: 500ml
- Effects: gloss & matt
Jenolite Radiator Enamel Spray
I always prefer a paintbrush to apply my radiator paint, because spray paint can cause disaster if you apply too much due to drips and runs.
If you are using a spray enamel and you start to see runs then you will need to grab a brush and, the trick to spraying a radiator is:
- Covers floors and walls with dust sheets
- Sand your radiator and take any shine away
- Start at the top of your radiator
- Be consistent when spraying
Jenolite Radiator Enamel Spray Features
Jenolite provides the best enamel spray paint for radiators. It will require a few coats depending on the condition of the radiator.
Preparation is a must before spraying so the best results will be when you sand the radiator right back to the metal and then spray around 3 coats.
- Drying: 30 mins to 3 hours
- Colours: white
- Cost: £9-22
- Volume: 400ml
- Effects: gloss
You can also spray this brand onto rust, but be sure to sand and clean any loose debris before applying this spray. If you have a rusty radiator then you might need 3-4 coats to fully cover.
I would recommend the use of newspaper, paper sheeting or plastic sheets to cover the walls and floor. If you get this enamel paint on the floor it can be hard to get off because it sets quickly.
Radiator Painting – FAQ’S
No, never take them off if you are not a plumber because you have to undo the pipes, bleed the system and lift them off their racks. You must leave them in place and paint them on the wall. Use a curved brush if you are having trouble painting the backs of your radiators.
If you find that your radiator paint is rubbing off or peeling away then you did not prepare them correctly. You need to sand and take away the sheen of the last coat of radiator paint. Your paint does not have a key to set/dry against so it will peel away. You need to start again and remember to prepare and sand your radiators!
No, you do not need an undercoat when painting radiators. If your radiator is rusty then you could use some iron oxide which is red and anti-rust. But at this point, it might be time to replace that radiator!.
Yes, you can paint radiator pipes with Hammerite. Just be sure to score the pipes with high grit 220 sandpaper. This will score the pipes and make the new paint stick much better. You can use Hammerite on all copper pipes around the home, just be sure to score the pipe so the paint does not flake away after a few months.
No, you do not need to bleed your radiator before painting. Once your system has been painted bleed your system and turn your boiler on, top up the pressure if needed. Heat the radiators 24 hours after painting them.
Radiator Paints – Conclusion
Using inferior enamel paint can lead to disaster, they smell bad, yellow quickly and do not cover the radiator as advertised.
Some are almost translucent when dry and are not worth the time and effort it takes to prepare and paint your radiator.
I would say painting with a brush is easier and more productive, plus is it much cheaper than sprays because you’re not going to get many coats from a single can.
Realistically you will need two spray cans per radiator. If you have ten or so radiators in your house to clean, sand and paint paying twice as much will add up.
Gas Or Electric? You Decide
Will your next radiator be gas or electric? Electric radiators are becoming widespread due to the reduction in gas/fuel dependency.