The Truth (Maybe) on Refinishing Radiators


So there we were, running pex and looking at radiator valves, when suddenly we thought- oh! we should paint these radiators while they are disconnected and not heating our house!  Which set off a crazy amount of googling by me to find the best way in which to do this.  Usually when you paint something you want to get the old paint off first and that is defininately the case for radiators.  The more layers of paint, the harder the heat has to work to get out of the radiator & the less efficient the system works.  Makes sense.  But did you know that the COLOR you paint can affect the amount of heat given off?  Me neither.  Black = more heat given off, white = less heat. And metallics dont work as well either.   Right now the radiators dont have too much paint on them, which is good, but they’re all silver (which looks good but  if we have them off the pipes & away from the wall, why not create another task, right?)  Most paint is rated to withstand heat up to 200 degrees.  Steam radiators can get much hotter than that, but our system is hot water and by the time the water gets to the radiator the temp is lower so we could use regular metal paint.  Another option we arent considering is to send the radiators out to be sandblasted, or dipped into acid to remove the paint.  That seems a bit excessive but then again these arent totally caked with paint either.   The next problem of course is to PICK A COLOR!  Right now the front runner is a dark bronze… very ooh la la. 

urbane bronze(radiator image from

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