Asked on May 07, 2018

How do I remove old paint from Radiators & what kind of paint to use?

Claire Vessot
by Claire Vessot
I have chipped paint on the radiators. I’d love to strip or repaint them. Any products or suggestions?

Here is thé rad with the chipped paint but that metal is gorgeous! Tips or suggestions?
i think natural metal works be great....
  20 answers
  • Elizabeth Burrows Elizabeth Burrows on May 07, 2018

    Sorry not an answer but please notify me of answers any may offer - have lots of rads which big paint hunks that have fallen off. Thanks.

  • AmericanPatrick AmericanPatrick on May 07, 2018

    Wow ! this is most likely a real Made in America cast iron radiator. 2 ways to consider. Remove it and media blasted back to original (my choice) but pricey. repair the damage to the paint with any heat resistant filler to smooth area and then repaint as you please...

  • Laura Parnigoni Laura Parnigoni on May 07, 2018

    I have the ones that are inset, so removing is not optional. any other paint removal techniques?

  • LIRR1926 LIRR1926 on May 07, 2018

    As the radiators are cast iron no paint remover will hurt them. I would be concerned with fumes and damage to the surrounding areas. There are relatively safe ones to use, something thick to stick to the radiator and plenty of drop cloths and ventilation.

  • AmericanPatrick AmericanPatrick on May 07, 2018

    Another thought on this project. Because of the age... there is most likely poisonous lead based paint on these radiators. Extra caution is required !

  • William William on May 07, 2018

    Former HVAC owner I and my crew have painted many radiators. Make sure you use rubber gloves and eye protection. Drape plastic sheeting under the radiator and extend at least three feet into the room. Place newspaper on top of the sheeting under the radiator. Keep some extra newspaper to wipe off the putty knife. Coat the radiator with Citristip paint stripper using a paint brush. Let it sit until you see the paint bubbling. Do not let it dry out. Just apply more stripper. Use a putty knife for scraping the majority off, and a wire brush to get into hard to reach areas. You can use a cloth to wipe off areas. Apply more stripper to keep it wet wire brushing, scraping, and wiping. Once clean wash down with a sponge dipped in one cup of vinegar to one gallon water to neutralize the stripper. Then you can paint with regular latex paint. Most of the time we painted them the same color as the room if it was neutral color or just plain white. Radiators that didn't have a lot of layers of paint just needed a light sanding to smooth them out, but yours has a lot of paint.

    • Susan Spoto Susan Spoto on May 08, 2018

      Completely agree - citristrip is the bomb. I am renovating a 120 y/old home and have used it on the front door and the 4 porch posts all which have never been stripped before. Citristrip did the trick. But I wish that I had read your post first...yes, definitely do not let it dry out - where I had not completely removed the paint it was baked on and had to use a torch to get the rest off.

  • Honighaus Honighaus on May 07, 2018

    We had to strip two radiators in our bathroom during the remodels. We did it the easy way and had a local company sandblast them clean. They were absolutely perfect, and all we had to do was paint them.

  • Alison Savill Alison Savill on May 07, 2018

    Buy a tin of nitromose then paint onto radiator leave for an hour until the paint as gone soft then use a thin scraper to scrape off paint

  • Honighaus Honighaus on May 07, 2018

    We had the plumber disconnect them and I took them to our local sandblasting company. They were absolutely perfect after the sandblasting, and we were able to spray paint them with Rust-Oleum. There were so many poorly applied coats of paint on each of the radiators that it would have been really difficult to strip them ourselves, and get them as clean and free from imperfections as the sandblasting did. I’m glad we chose the sandblasting route; each one looks perfect against all the new tile.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Nov 15, 2022

    Yes, Sand Blasting is the only way to get back to the base metal and save yourself hard and dirty work!

  • Any paint remover - Citristrip is a good choice for indoors.

  • Mogie Mogie on Jul 01, 2023

    Could you remove it and have the unit sand blasted. That would remove the thick chunky paint.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Oct 05, 2023

    Citristrip is a non-toxic paint remover, that would be a good choice. Paint it on and let the paint bubble up, scrape it off, repeat if needed. Wear protective gear.

  • Dee Dee on Oct 05, 2023

    Heat guns help to melt the paint away from the surface, making it easy to pull away without resistance. Be wary that high levels of heat can warp metal though, so keep the heat gun on a low setting a few inches from the radiator, moving in a back and forth motion.

  • Bandrentdrehfunc Bandrentdrehfunc on Oct 27, 2023

    For repainting, choosing the right paint is essential. Opt for a high-heat paint specifically designed for radiators. This type of paint can withstand the heat radiators generate without peeling or discoloring. It's available in various finishes, so you can achieve the look you desire.

    Your idea of embracing the natural metal finish sounds fantastic! It can give your radiators a sleek and modern appearance. Radiator Village might have more detailed product recommendations and additional tips to ensure a successful radiator renovation.

    Remember to take your time with the project and prep the surface properly for the best results.

  • Janice Janice on Nov 02, 2023

    I agree with William's excellent advice! It is a time-consuming messy job but well worth the effort. It looks as if you have many layers of paint to work through.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Nov 02, 2023

    Paint Stripping Gel. Radiator Paint!

  • Mogie Mogie on Nov 02, 2023

    If you want to remove all the paint I would think about detaching this and having it sand blasted.