How to paint a cast iron radiator

Update an elegant cast iron radiator with a lick of paint and enjoy the many benefits these practical period features can bring to your home.

As well as their elegant shape and decorative appearance, old-fashioned cast iron radiators offer excellent heat retention, allowing them to give off a more consistent and long-lasting heat than modern radiators. The tall shape of cast iron radiators is also excellent for saving wall space in your home.

With so many benefits, it’s easy to see why so many people are now choosing to install and restore old cast iron radiators in their homes.

Most cast iron radiators date back to the Victorian period, so whilst low maintenance, they will require some care, maintenance and a lick of new paint over the years to keep them looking their best.

Follow these four steps to add a new coat of paint to a cast iron radiator and restore it to its former glory.

Remove the old paint

To achieve a good finish, you’ll first need to remove the old paint from your radiator. Depending on the condition of your radiator, you may be able to use a wire brush to scrub off loose or flaky paint. The best way to guarantee a good finish though is to have the radiator sandblasted by a professional.


Next, thoroughly brush and clean all remaining dirt, debris and grease from the radiator to give you a smooth surface to work with. A solution of washing up liquid and warm water should do the job in most cases.

Apply a primer

Consult your tin of radiator paint to see if it suggests using a specific type of primer. If your radiator is rusty you can purchase a primer specifically for rusty radiators to ensure the best finish. Generally, oil-based primers are best for radiators and latex and water-based primers should be avoided.


Now your radiator is ready to paint! A spray paint is the most suitable option as it will make it easier to reach all the fiddly bits between the radiator’s columns, as well as achieving a more even and consistent finish. Always use a paint that is suitable for use on radiators or high heat objects.

Browse the reclaimed cast iron radiators that we currently have in stock, they all come with a 10 year guarantee for your peace of mind.