The free diy home improvement guide with answers to your questions on a wide range of do it yourself projects.


Painting radiators

Diy guide to painting radiators, dealing with removing rust priming and finishing with enamel paint.

Say goodbye to rusty radiators

It’s not until the heating goes on for winter that most people notice the ugly rust patches and general state of their radiators. Fear not: there’s still time to repair and repaint as long as the right materials are used.

De-rust first

old style radiatorThe first job is to remove any rust on the radiator. Rust on radiators is quite common, caused by corrosive water in the system reacting with the steel. In fact steel reacts readily with oxygen in water and air and the addition of heat only compounds the problem. It’s easily resolved though – strip the surface back to bare metal. Loose rust can be removed with a stiff brush and the remainder removed using Rustins Strypit paint and varnish stripper. Clean thoroughly, then prime the metal with Rustins Red Oxide Metal Primer to completely seal the surface and reduce the chance of further rusting. Once dry, simply apply Rustins Radiator Enamel.

Paint it right

Don’t even think about using ordinary paints on radiators: heat resistance, odour and yellowing are just three of the potential problems they present.

Radiator Enamel is specially formulated for central heating (not free-standing oil-filled electric radiators) and has all the right attributes - it’s heat resistant, low odour and does not yellow with heat.

Paint it onto the cold radiator, then turn up the heat to help it dry. It’s available in gloss and satin finishes.

Apply in the same way as you would other paints. To get a good finish you should keep a “wet edge” going. On a standard radiator, you can do this by painting a couple of flutes at a time. Paint the top and bottom then fill in the first two flutes. Repeat the process all the way along the radiator. Because you’re only painting a small area at a time, you can brush the next section without leaving brush marks in the previous one as it won’t have begun drying.

Paint and go

Alternatively, Rustins Quick-drying Radiator Enamel is a quick-drying, water based option with similar properties and is touch dry in just 30 minutes.

Incidentally, it’s also perfect for touching up white household appliances such as fridges and washing machines.

Nice prices

All of Rustins’ specialist metal finishes are available from good DIY stores. Prices for 250ml tins are around £3.75 for Red Oxide Metal Primer, £5.45 for Radiator Enamel and £5.45 for Quick-drying Radiator Enamel.

Full details of each product are on

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