Can You Paint A Radiator With Gloss?

In the UK around 260,000 radiators are sold every year and although they can be very affordable, some cost over £400 each. For that reason, it makes sense to keep your radiators well maintained and looking good. To do that, lots of people choose to paint their radiator with gloss.

However, there are preparation steps you need to take as well as specific product choices to ensure you get the very best results for your efforts. To help you get your radiator looking great, here’s everything you need to know about painting a radiator with gloss:

Can You Paint A Radiator With Gloss?

You can, but you need to prepare the radiator well. The paint used also needs to be radiator gloss, not standard household gloss which will quickly yellow and crack due to the fluctuating temperatures of the radiator.

Which Gloss Paint Is Good for Radiators?

With various paint jobs around the home, you can allow some degree of error because it won’t be too time-consuming to repaint. With radiator painting, though, you really do want to use the very best products for the job. Keeping the radiators off can leave your home cold, and painting the radiator can be very fiddly too. Radiator paint can also be quite expensive so, it really does make sense to choose the right gloss paint the first time.

The best gloss paint for radiators is Ronseal Stays White Radiator Paint. In terms of aesthetics, the crisp white stays white much longer than comparable products. That means you don’t need to touch up the paint as quickly and the beautiful aesthetic of the radiator is in place for longer.

Even better, the product is highly durable so knocks, scuffs and general wear and tear of the radiator are much less likely to produce tarnished paint, again boosting your radiator aesthetic overall.

To further boost the convenience of the Ronseal Stays White Radiator Paint as a product, it only takes one application for full coverage, painting up to 13m2 per litre. Two coats painted with a brush, though, is recommended and you only have to wait six hours for the first coat to dry. With the paint applied in two coats and 24 hours left for it to completely dry out, you can have your heating back on in less than two days.

Is Satin or Gloss Better for Radiators?

Although you can use gloss or satin paint for a radiator – as long as the paint is made for use on radiators – the best paint type is usually satinwood paint. This is because it gives the radiator a beautiful, luxurious sheen that is often available in more colours than a gloss. This enables you to tie the radiator in with your chosen interior design colour scheme.

Satin paint is also generally much easier to work with than gloss because it is thinner, so it provides much better coverage and you won’t get any pooling. This factor helps to create a much more professional finished look, perfecting your overall design aesthetic whilst not having to be a master painter to achieve it!

Will Painting A Radiator With Gloss Make It Less Efficient?

If you use a standard household gloss on your radiator the chances are that it could make your radiator less efficient, although not by much. The efficiency difference tends to happen with metallic paints which can reduce the ability of the radiator to radiate heat.

The main issue, though, is the aesthetic which will be very cracked, bubbled and generally not very nice to look at. This is because standard gloss isn’t made to expand and contract in the way that paint does with extreme temperatures, like those put out by a radiator.

When you use radiator paint, though, the radiator is able to work as efficiently as before and it may even be more efficient depending on the colour you choose. Scientifically, black radiator paint is the most heat efficient, however, to what degree that is, is disputed so, you should always choose a radiator paint in the colour that suits your individual taste.

How Should You Prep the Radiator Before Applying Gloss?

To get the very best results when you paint a radiator you need to do a little preparation beforehand.

To effectively prepare your radiator for painting follow these steps:

  1. Ventilate The Space – open windows and doors so that air can flow through and allow odours and chemicals to escape. Ventilation will also help the radiator to dry.
  2. Turn Off The Radiator – by turning off your radiator well in advance of your painting session you ensure it is cold enough to have the paint adhere to it. Even a little warmth still within it will affect the paints consistency and ability to stick to the surface.
  3. Clean The Radiator – as well as hoovering the radiator crevices you need to properly cleanse and wash the radiator of stains, grease and debris that has accumulated. You should allow it to fully dry after this.
  4. Sand – sanding the radiator helps to create a flattened, even surface to paint on. If you don’t do this, you may find the finish of the painting is very rough.
  5. Clean Again – after sanding it makes sense to hoover the radiators and potentially wipe it down again so it is completely free of debris before painting.

If you choose to use a radiator paint that doesn’t require a primer the preparation steps above should be enough to get the radiator ready for painting. If you are using a primer you can use one now, including rust primer for rust spots that cannot be sanded away.

Common Pitfalls of Using Gloss to Paint Radiators

There are gloss paints suitable for use on radiators but there can be some pitfalls with using them, including:

  • Because gloss paint is so smooth and perfect, if it is finished off with a brush the aesthetic result can be unsightly. You can ensure the best results by using a radiator spray paint.
  • Oil-based gloss tends to yellow more quickly. You can avoid this by avoiding oil-based gloss for the job completely.
  • Cracking will occur if the gloss used is not meant for radiators as it simply cannot expand and contract with the heat created by the radiator.

With Radiator Paint It Pays To Use The Best On The Market For The Best Results With Gloss

You can get away with cheaper paints for all kinds of DIY jobs around the house. When it comes to gloss radiator paint though, it really does make sense to use the best on the market. Budging elsewhere and investing in the right radiator gloss paint saves you time, money and creates the very best results too.