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?

how do i remove old paint from radiators what kind of paint to use
Here is thé rad with the chipped paint but that metal is gorgeous! Tips or suggestions?
i think natural metal works be great....
  11 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!