How to spray paint radiator

Painting radiators has become a popular trend. The idea is that by painting your radiators, you can easily change their color without needing to replace them. This is a great way to brighten up your home and make it feel a lot warmer. However, if you’re a bit wary of the idea, here is a quick guide on radiator painting.

This guide is more of a beginner guide than a general instruction. It assumes that you are well aware of how to remove the radiators from the wall and how to use spray paint. If you are unsure then seek advice on the matter.

spray paint radiator

Your radiator is the unsung hero of your heating system. It draws heat through its pipes and then out into the room to keep your home warm. But it isn’t much to look at, especially if it’s an old model. While radiators are usually considered more of a necessity than a focal part of your decor, you can dress up yours with a fresh color. Let’s learn the complete method to spray paint radiators.

Tools you need to paint radiator

  • Radiator spray paint
  • Sugar Soap to clean radiator
  • Paper or plastic sheets to protect walls and floors
  • Mask for protection of fumes
  • Gloves
  • Glasses for eyes protection
  • Sandpaper
  • Cloths or rags
  • Masking tape or newspaper

Prepare radiator

You should always have a cold radiator before painting it. That will ensure the paint not sticking to it and running away on you. Most radiators are cold anyway, so the best thing is to turn it off at least 4-5 hours before you plan on spray-painting them. You should also use paper or plastic underneath the radiator which is taped down in order not to get any paint on your floor or anywhere else.

Sand the surface of radiator for spray painting process

When sanding down a radiator that you are going to paint, always sand with the direction of the grain. This will make the paint last longer and have a better finish. Sand the radiator with a medium grit sandpaper, and then a fine grit sandpaper. If your radiator has a lot of rust, then you might need to sand it down further to get rid of it all.

Clean your radiator

Start by dusting the radiator entirely and then wipe it down with a damp cloth. Dry it off completely to make sure there isn’t any residue, preferably using a soft cloth that you regularly use for cleaning purposes.

Start by dusting the radiator entirely and then wipe it down with a damp cloth. Dry it off completely to make sure there isn’t any residue, preferably using a soft cloth that you regularly use for cleaning purposes.

paint radiator surface

Wash the radiator before spray painting radiator

Next, you should wash your radiators down with a sugar soap. Sugar soap is an available cleaning formula that will be listed on the container as to the ratio needed of sugar soap water. Wipe over your radiator completely with this mixture and let it dry out before usage.

Check everything before starting spraying radiator

When it comes to painting, preparation is everything. Before you even pick up a can of paint, remember to make sure that every room has been closed off completely – not only the rooms in which you will be applying the paint but also those leading to them directly – as well as all external windows; these should have been open for at least two hours before you start work.

Start painting radiator surface

Give your can a good shake for the next minute. Leaving around 20-25 cms between the can and the object you’re spraying, spray up & down to cover the surface.

Then give it a few left & right swipes to hit all corners depending on whether you’re holding you can vertically or horizontally respectively. That’ll take care of most of the room. Remember to leave sometime between coatings so as not to overdo it.

Though it can be tempting to just want to spray paint your whole radiator and be done in with it, if you don’t hold back, you could end up with things looking pretty terrible (laminates actually tend to splatter as opposed to chipping).

Instead, take a few minutes for each object/area you wish to paint after thoroughly cleaning it of dust. Then holding the can about 20 cm away from the surface itself (hold the can upright), give three short bursts of the fine spray. This should cover the area completely and evenly.


There are many different types of spray paints and not all of them can be used for your radiator. First of all, you need to know that there are paints made for specific surfaces, so you should never spray them on surfaces where they are not recommended. The paint should be light-fast, which means that it shouldn’t fade quickly when exposed to light. Now when it comes to spray paints which can be used on radiators, enamel paints are the best option. These paints are made for metal surfaces and can withstand hot and cold temperatures. Another thing you should know is that these paints are tough, but they might not hold up if you paint right after the radiator has been heated.

You need to prime the radiator before you paint it. Priming is not just any preparatory work, it is the most important step in any painting job. Priming is used to prepare the surface to be painted. Priming fills any pores or imperfections on the surface that can cause problems when painting. You can use a paint sprayer or a brush (for smaller areas) to apply primer. If you use a sprayer, use a paint sprayer with a fine nozzle to cover all the areas of the radiator. If you use a brush, make sure the brush is clean, and use the best-quality primer.

There are two types of paints: water-based paint and oil-based paints. Oil-based paints are more suitable for painting radiators. Glossy paints are also more suited for radiators as they give the radiator a shiny appearance. Water-based paints are cheaper to use and are more environmentally friendly, but they don’t last as long as oil-based paints. If you want to use water-based paints for your radiators, you will need to use two coats of it.

Yes, you can use a gloss paint on a radiator, but it should be a water-based type, especially Dulux gloss. Using Dulux will help restore your radiator to its original good looks and make it shine again. It also serves as a protective layer of paint.


We hope you’ve enjoyed learning how to spray paint radiators. This is a really easy bedroom DIY project that can make a real difference to the look of your decor. We hope you’ve found this step by step guide useful and that you’ll be able to quickly and easily use the steps we’ve given to make your job easier! If you have any questions about spray painting radiators or any other parts of the home, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us anytime in comments section.

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