Seven ‘simple’ DIY steps to follow when painting a radiator

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With the cost of living crisis affecting households across the country, painting yourself, without hiring a professional, is just one way to refresh the home without breaking the bank. DIY expert Michael Rolland from The Paint Shed, has shared his seven steps to “successfully” paint a radiator with ease.

To paint your radiator you will need a variety of tools including, a metal primer, metal paint, dust sheets and a synthetic brush. DIYers will also need to hand sandpaper, a cloth as well as protective gloves.

1. Turn off the radiator

The DIY expert explained: “This might seem obvious, but the first and most important step before you start painting your radiator is to make sure it is turned off and cold. Painting on a warm radiator will lead to blistering and dripping, so make sure it is completely cooled down before you begin painting.”

2. Protect the areas around the radiator

Before starting, lay down a dust sheet around the radiator including the floor below and secure it with some tape. The expert said making sure it is a paint-proof type of dust sheet so paint doesn’t seep through it or get ruined.

Michael added: “This will prevent ruining your floors, skirting boards or carpet with any accidental paint splashes or stray paint drops. Another tip is to place some card or slide paper between the radiator and the wall, this will help protect your wall paint behind the radiator.”

DIYers should make sure to cover any valves or vents with tape, preferably masking tape. After this, you’re all set to clean the radiator.

3. Clean the radiator

The DIY expert continued: “It’s always a good idea to clean anything you are about to paint for a seamless finish and this is the same with a radiator. Clean the radiator with warm water and mild detergent to remove any dust. You could also vacuum the radiator to be sure you have removed all dust and debris before painting.”

4. Sand the radiator down

Taking your sandpaper (120 grade), give the radiator a good once over to make sure you are buffing away any unsightly lumps or bumps in the old paint. Your dust sheet should protect the floors from any debris.

5. Prime

If there is any bare metal exposed through the sanding process, the expert said you should apply at least one coat of metal primer paint prior to painting with colour. He added: “Make sure you research which primer to choose for metal surfaces.”

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6. Prime the radiator

Michael said: “The best paint to use for a radiator is a water based satin or gloss finish metal paint, as it is best suited to constant changes in heat and a nice finish. 

“Make sure you stir the paint well before and during use. Using a synthetic paint brush, start painting the radiator, in the same direction as the grooves. Less is more when it comes to loading up the paint on your brush. 

“You should extend the brush into the paint tin or paint pail so that only one-third of the bristles are dipped in the paint, otherwise, you will drip paint everywhere. For best results, you should paint your radiator in the following order. Using the edge of a two-inch brush start by painting the edges then move onto the face. 

“At the front work in small sections, beginning with the mouldings then the top followed by the bottom before bringing the two together. Finish painting the top and bottom edges overlapping onto the previous paint for an even finish.

“When it comes to painting the back of the radiator this can be a bit tricker. You can use a long-handled mini roller frame and mini microfibre roller cover. If your radiator is close to the wall and you are unable to fit a roller behind, you can use a small brush and reach around as far behind as possible.”

7. Leave plenty of time to dry

Leave the paint to dry overnight and then apply a second coat, the exact same as the first. The expert said several thin coats are a lot better than one or two thick ones.

Michael said: “You will not only achieve a much smoother surface appearance but you will get a harder and more chip-resistant finish. You should also ensure that the paint is completely dry before applying another coat of paint on top – otherwise, the results will be disappointing.

“Only turn the heating back on when the paint has thoroughly dried out. Leave a minimum of 24 hours. This is really important to avoid ruining the paintwork you have just completed.”

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Checkatrade also recently shared top tips on spray painting kitchen cabinets. With the average kitchen in the UK costing £9,500, according to the company, it is no wonder so many are opting to make changes to their existing spaces rather than completely renovate.

To start with, remove the cabinet doors and set them down in your work area, making sure they do not get messy. It may be worth labelling the door so you know which cabinet they belong to. Next, clean the cabinet doors and the cabinets with sugar soap and a lint-free cloth to remove any grease or dirt.

The experts said: “Using a brush to apply the primer and paint to the cabinet frames, sides and trim will avoid the need for protective sheeting, therefore saving you time. At this stage, you can repair any holes or dents with an appropriate filler and putty knife. Once dry, sand all the areas you wish to paint.”

Once dry, this means you are ready to apply a light coat of primer to the cabinets and door fronts, either using a brush or a spray gun. Checkatrade recommended using a brush for the primer, leaving it to dry for the recommended time. DIYers will then need to wipe the surface clean and apply a second coat of primer. Once dry, it is time to prepare and fill the paint sprayer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Some paint may need to be thinned before using so it is worth following the instructions on the product. The experts added: “Wearing a mask, spray the door edges first. Next, spray any detail on the doors. Then, keeping the nozzle of the spray gun 10 to 12 inches from the surface of the cabinet door, sweep your whole arm back and forth to apply a light coat of paint to the entire door.

“Any drops can be touched up gently with a paintbrush while the paint is still wet. Allow to dry overnight before giving the doors a second coat. The whole process will need to be repeated on the other side of the door once the first side is dry.”

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