What is primer in the kettle

Painting and varnishing radiators: this is how it works


Over the years, radiators lose the radiance of their color. Old models in particular often turn yellow due to the heat. Cigarette smoke can also negatively affect the appearance. But that need not be. A coat of paint gives your heating system a new shine. You do not need any specialist knowledge for this. In this step-by-step guide, we'll show you how to do it.

The right paint and the right brush

The first step is to choose the right paint. You should only purchase heating varnish or paint, as this has the required heat resistance. In addition to paint for painting, the specialist trade also offers spray paint. You should therefore also ask yourself whether you want to paint or spray.

Spraying can be easier by hand. On the other hand, it is a challenge to apply the paint evenly. You are also at greater risk of contaminating the environment, such as the wall behind the heater. Laypeople should prefer to use a brush paint. When choosing a brush, it depends on the type of paint:

  • Acrylic varnish: Brush with plastic bristles
  • Alkyd resin paint: Brush with natural bristles

The ideal shape of the brush depends on the design of the heater. Tubular and ribbed radiators have small spaces between them. For this you need a corner brush with a long handle. If you have a continuous surface with small indentations, you can use a short-handled brush. If you have radiators with a smooth surface, a paint roller is recommended. With this you can paint very quickly.

Before painting the radiator: Thorough pre-treatment


You should turn off the radiators in question in good time so that they have cooled down before painting. Then you should treat damaged areas. Sand down unevenness and remove rust, use sandpaper or a more elastic abrasive fleece, depending on the heating. You should then clean the heater and completely remove it from dust. Otherwise, dust prevents the paint from adhering.

Now cover the floor under the radiator to protect your flooring from paint splatters. Mask the valve and the thermostat precisely with masking tape. Before painting the radiator, you should also ensure that the surface is optimal: where there is no more paint, you should apply a primer with rust protection.

Painting the heater: care comes first

After this preparatory phase, you can paint your radiator. Make sure that you apply the heating varnish thinly. You should also cover all areas, including the inside of the ribs if there are gaps between them. Usually you should apply two coats. Let the paint dry, roughen it up slightly and repeat the painting. If you distribute the paint using a spray can, you should wear a respirator.

Hire a painting company

If you want to have your radiator painted by a professional, you should contact a painter. Professional painting is recommended for some design models because they have a special and difficult-to-treat surface. The costs consist of the labor costs, the material costs and, if applicable, fees for the journey.

The costs for having radiators repainted differ considerably, as painting companies charge highly different hourly fees or flat-rate prices. You should always get a quote beforehand to avoid nasty financial surprises. Due to the manageable need for paint, the material costs are usually within manageable limits.