THE BEST RADIATOR PAINT PRODUCTS THAT WON'T PEEL
Maintaining the flawless look of a radiator is a tricky task. Not only will you need a good metal paint, you’ll need a paint that resists extreme heat. And while there are many paints for woodwork and metal available on the market, the choice is quite limited when it comes to specific radiator paints.
If a scarce choice wasn’t enough, there are also several other features to consider. Like the formulation of the paint and its susceptibility to discolouration.
Choosing a radiator paint can be somewhat confusing. That’s why our expert team has tested and rated most of the products in the UK. Our top picks below have met or exceeded our high standards and we truly recommend all of them.
OUR BEST PICK RADIATOR PAINTS
Best Of The Rest
Water-based paint for radiators, woodwork and metal surfaces – non-toxic and easy to use.
One Coat radiator paint ideal for most metal surfaces – it may need more than one coat though.
Non-toxic quick-drying radiator paint available in mid-sheen and high-sheen finishes.
POPULAR RADIATOR COLOUR PALETTES
Radiators are often painted in white, and most speciality paints aren’t even available in other colours. However, if you’d like to stand out from the crowd, you could consider painting them in a different shade.
If you just want to replace white but don’t want to experiment with bolder tonalities, choose a neutral shade. Cream is a great alternative if you want to avoid discolouration but beige is also a lovely shade. Pick a colour that matches the hue of the walls to achieve an elegant finish.
Grey is a popular colour that comes in a wide range of shades. Dove grey is perfect for a traditional home, while slate grey works better in an urban renovation. Both tonalities look amazing on woodwork too, and you can paint both the window frames and the radiators in the same shade.
Bolder choices include dramatic shades like dark red or purple. It’s tricky to paint a radiator in these shades, but not impossible. Dark green is another beautiful choice and the colour pairs well with ivory or cream walls.
A bright blue radiator paired with white walls is an inspired choice for a coastal home. Alternatively, use blue on the walls and white on the radiators. Don’t be afraid to play with nonconformist tonalities. Pink, lime green and electric blue could look amazing either in the kid’s room or a home decorated in a nonconformist, modern style.
Black is often avoided, but the colour gives its best on a radiator. This shade is elegant and aggressive at the same time and it looks great paired either with neutral walls in a sophisticated environment or with a bare brick wall in an industrial renovation.
Through testing and feedback we’ve really warmed to Hammerite Radiator Paint. Ideal for all interior metal surfaces and specifically formulated for radiators and hot-water pipes, this paint dries to an attractive gloss finish and boasts a hard-wearing formula.
Though solvent-based, the product has a low odour that doesn’t annoy. However, the concentration of volatile organic compounds is high – a feature that has both positive and negative consequences.
On a positive note, the high content of VOCs contributes to the non-yellowing characteristic of the paint. On the downside, it makes the product unsuitable to use in enclosed spaces.
What surprises is the quick drying time for a solvent-based product. This radiator paint touch dries in only 6 hours and it can be re-coated after approximately 16 hours, in ideal conditions. We also liked the adherence.
Priming is often unnecessary if the product is applied on a previously painted surface. However, you will have to prime bare surfaces with an adequate product.
Hammerite Radiator Enamel is offered as an alternative to the Hammerite paint above. Manufactured by the same company, this product boasts many top-rated qualities, including its ease of application.
Like many aerosol paints, this radiator enamel is a breeze to apply. Just shake the can, press the top and apply an even layer from the recommended distance. That being said, not everything is so easy with this product.
One big drawback is the waste. Painting with an aerosol spray means a lot of the paint will end up dispersed. And this lowers the average coverage to as little as 0.5m²/litre. This is still quite good if you only have to paint a radiator, but the product is unsuitable to use on large surfaces.
Drawbacks aside, the enamel dries to a satin heat-resistant finish that provides a tough, long-lasting result.
Rustins Quick Dry is a range of water-based paints for interior wood and metal, including hot water radiators. The Radiator Enamel in the range boasts an acrylic formulation, which touch dries in only half an hour to either a gloss or satin finish.
Available in Brilliant White, the paint is specially formulated to stay white, and it won’t turn yellow over time. Thanks to its heat resistant properties, the product is ideal to use on hot-water pipes and boilers too.
Heated surfaces aside, the Quick Dry radiator enamel can also be used as a topcoat or touch-up paint on a variety of properly primed surfaces, including woodwork and white equipment.
Re-paintable in four hours depending on the temperature and humidity, this paint is definitely worthwhile and we recommend it to those looking for an eco-friendly and long-lasting alternative to any noxious solvent-based paint.
Ronseal One Coat is a speciality radiator paint designed to cover and protect water-heated surfaces in a quick single step. According to the manufacturer, the product performs best on non-primed surfaces, but our tests showed that priming is necessary on bare radiators.
We were also sceptical about the “one coat” claim by the manufacturer. This radiator paint will probably only provide satisfactory results with just one coat if applied on a radiator previously painted in white and only if the old paint is in good condition.
Even subtle colour changes will require more than a single coat, but we didn’t consider this a major drawback.
On the other hand, we really liked the product’s coverage. A litre of paint covers up to 8m² and in some cases even more. Resisting scuffing and scratching exceptionally well, the product provides long-lasting results.
Johnstone’s speciality paint for radiators is a great water-based paint to use on hot water radiators and pipes. It comes in a range of sizes and two finishes, a contemporary satin and a traditional gloss.
Covering up to 12m²/litre, the product boasts an eco-friendly formulation that is safe to use in enclosed spaces. The acrylic paint also dries faster than its solvent-based counterparts and can be re-coated after only four hours.
Like most water-based products, this speciality paint doesn’t enjoy the best covering power. We recommend a minimum of two coats, but substantial colour changes may require much more than that.
One positive side is the non-yellowing formula which truly stays white, thanks to the absence of oils. Another positive is its resistance to scuffs and damage. Despite the affordable price, the product doesn’t peel off easily and promises to resist for quite some time.
HOW TO PAINT A RADIATOR
• Radiator paint
• Drop cloths
• Painter’s tape
• Paint stripper
• Putty knife
Step 1 – Clean and prepare the surface
Painting a radiator is a quick and straightforward job, but only with proper surface preparation can you guarantee a successful outcome.
The first thing to do is to turn the radiator off and let it chill. Bare radiators need minimal preparation and it is usually enough to wipe them clean with a damp cloth.
If the radiator has been painted previously, the first thing to do is to assess the state of the old paint. Remove any flaking or peeling paint by sanding the surface, then clean all dust with a dry cloth. Wash the surface with a mild detergent to remove any stains and let it dry.
Removing the old paint, regardless of its state, could be necessary if you want to switch from solvent-based to water-based paint.
In this case, use a chemical paint stripper and a putty knife to remove the old coat completely, then proceed with cleaning.
Once the radiator is clean, lay a drop cloth on the floor under the working area and seal all areas not to be painted with painter’s tape.
Step 2 – Prime the surface
Like most paints, radiator paints usually bond well to previously painted surfaces and priming may only be necessary on new or bare surfaces.
Use a specific radiator primer that resists heat for this purpose. Some paint manufacturers provide clear indications on which products are recommended to use as an undercoat. Apply the primer according to the manufacturer’s instructions and wait for at least 24 hours before moving on to the last step.
Step 3 – Paint the radiator
Select a suitable radiator paint and a high-quality paintbrush. Both solvent-based and acrylic products should be applied in the same way.
Use the paintbrush to apply a thin and even layer of paint to the surface. Work on small sections at a time and apply the paint from top to bottom with a firm movement. Fix any drips before moving on to the next section.
If you’re using an aerosol paint, apply the product as instructed on the can.
Leave the first coat to dry for as long as necessary, then apply a second coat. The second coat is recommended even if you’re satisfied with the coverage, because it will increase the level of protection.
Apply the second coat following the same application method. Let it to touch dry and remove the painter’s tape and the drop cloth. Wait for at least 24 hours before touching and only turn on the heat when the paint is fully dry.