Renovating Radiators

As our radiators creak to life again, I’m reminded of how obtrusive they can be. You can’t really use the space, and all it seems to function as during the warm seasons is to be a spider’s paradise. I’ve been trying to think of ways to spruce up my radiators, so that even if they can’t hold anything for me, they could at least look good not doing it! You have two main options to radiator renovating: painting or covering.


To start with, if you have a previously unpainted radiator you’ll want to coat it with a bare metal primer to help prevent against rust and for a smoother paint job. If it’s already painted a color you’d like to change, you’ll have to sand it first. You can use sand paper and do it by hand; try taping it around toothbrushes or metal wire to get in all the nooks. Another option is to sandblast it, which will be much quicker and thorough, although the harder part is removing and carrying the radiator outside to do so.

Painted Radiator
From there, you have another two options to the type of paint. You can bring it to a shop that paints bikes and cars and ask them to powder coat it, which will give you the most even application. Powder coating is a dry powder cured by heat to form a hard finish that’s more resilient than conventional paint; hence the use of it on bicycles and cars.
If you decide to paint it yourself, which is absolutely do-able, make sure to use an oil-based or a high-heat spray paint. By doing it by hand with oil-based, you’ll be able to use multiple colors and create any kind of design; either by tracing existing filigree in the metal or painting your own mural. Spray paint is going to get into all those edges easier than fumbling with tiny brushes will ? just make sure you do an even coating. It’s also handy for creating ombré effects or other designs that need to blend.

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