I have an ancient steel tubular radiator that fits nicely into a purpose
built alcove in my hall. It is rather attractive in an industrial sort
of way and has therefore been retained whilst all the other have been
replaced with slim modern units.
Problem: it has gained many coats of pain over the years, many of which
have run and generally been applied badly.
Question: do I strip it with Nitromors (or equivalent) and then
repaint it with difficulty or are there places that will dip, strip and
If you'd like it brought back to its original condition, which is lovely,
then have it professionally done. But if you want something to do at the
weekend, then get your overalls on and off we go.
Because it is a metal radiator it takes a lot of heat, so the best way to
remove the old paints is to burn it off. Now burning it will produce fumes,
so this is best done in a well ventilated open area, outside if you can, and
can be done with a flame torch, the preferred method, or dump the radiator
on a big fire until it has bubbled and blackened then scrub at it with a
wire brush. The choice is yours.
When you heat the paint it should begin to bubble and blister, and just when
it reaches the point of leaving the surface, then it's time to move in with
your scraper, keep and old damp cloth beside you to knock the paint off the
scraper, and start to remove the paint in slow strong strokes. The best
scraper to use is the small triangular type, you'll see them in DIY Stores,
as it lets you get in to all the nooks and crannies.
You may find a pattern under the paint which you never knew was there, as
many of these old cast radiators where used for display as well as function,
so don't think you've reached a piece of stubborn blob of paint that wont
come off with the scraper and damage the design.
When you're satisfied that you've done your best, take a wire brush to the
rest of it to give you a keyed surface to apply your new coating to. The
best type of coating is a hot applied one, but they are messy to use and
tricky to apply, so stick with a good product like Hammerite, which comes in
both a smooth and hammered finish and a variety of colours, and it should be
applied with a large soft brush.
The reason I say a large soft brush, is that people tend to pile it on with
a smaller brush and make it look just as nasty as it was before. A large
soft brush holds more paint and lets you push the coating out over the
surface of the metal a lot better, and stops it clumping together in the one
Allow the coating to cure off and you should be left with a brand new
radiator ready for connection to your system. If you take your time with
it, it should produce a lovely piece of ornamental art for the property. I
just love those old things.
Good luck with it.
| >If you'd like it brought back to its original condition, which is lovely,
| >then have it professionally done. But if you want something to do at the
| >weekend, then get your overalls on and off we go.
| Sounds like a lot of work to me.
| Must admit I'd have given the nitromors a try. If it works you can
| then scrape off the lifted paint with a scraper, followed by a wash
| with a hose or something. This will probably take several
| applications, and that's assuming that nitromors will work with
| radiator paint (I think it probably will but I can't remember having
| A point worth making here is not to forget about giving the inside of
| the radiator a thorough rinsing. The amount of crap that comes out of
| a used radiator is almost unbelievable and I've found the best method
| is to take it into the garden, connect a hosepipe and put some mains
| water pressure through it. Repeat for the other feed tube. It also
| helps to turn the radiator upside down and back again whilst this is
| going on.
| Do you need a handyman service? Check out our
| web site at http://www.handymac.co.uk
id seriously consider taking it of getting it sandblasted and powdercoated!
If you're going to do it yourself I'd try nitromors first. If that doesn't
work, cellulose thiners almost certainly will. Then, having wirbrush it and
sandpapered it smooth, repaint using a radiator spray which you buy in cans.
This will give you a smooth professional finish if done properly.
I successfully stripped a radiator using wallpapaer paste. This was an
accidental discovery - after getting some paste on the radiator whilst
hanging wallpaper I noticed the paint blistering and lifting, so I covered
the whole thing, left it for a couple of hours then scraped everything off.
I guess it depends on the type of paint....
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