Painting radiator covers - how to match color and what tools to use


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Old 10-15-14, 12:12 PM
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Painting radiator covers - how to match color and what tools to use

I have a 20 year old house. Heating system is hydronic with metal baseboards all over the house. All are the same color and design, a kind of pale ivory (not powder coated from what I can tell).

Situation is a follows: many of the radiator covers are dinged from normal use and 4 are severely corroded from dog and other mammals urine.

What I want to do is recondition the 4 badly damaged ones and touch up the others. The backboards cannot be removed so they need to be refinished on site. The covers and end-caps can be worked in the shop.

My problem: There is no equivalent color match in spray paint. Not Krylon, not Rustoleum, not Vaspar. If I want to do touch up, I need the color to more or less match.

My questions: How to proceed? What tools should I use? Low pressure spray system? How do I match the color? What kind of paint should I use? I know I can easily buy latex and get it color matched at HD or something equivalent but will that work on metal? Should I go with finer tools such as Testor air brush system?
 
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Old 10-15-14, 12:31 PM
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I wouldn't try to touch them up, even if you have the original paint that was used the touch is still apt to show ..... and it's not that big of a deal to paint them. If you don't find a rattle can color that suits your fancy I'd get a quart of oil base enamel mixed up in the desired color and either brush or spray the covers with it. Most any cup gun or HVLP will handle the spraying.
 
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Old 10-15-14, 12:36 PM
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Ok but I need to do this job on site, with all kinds of obstacles and precious objects nearby. Brush on metal won't look good but can I control the overspray with a cup gun? I am concerned about fine control as metal drips easily and I would not want to paint my new TV (one of many such large objects to avoid!

And what about primer? Same answer?
 

Last edited by Fredct; 10-15-14 at 12:38 PM. Reason: Forgot one detail.
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Old 10-15-14, 12:41 PM
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You should only need a primer [solvent based] if you sand down to bare metal. If you thin down the paint, use a good natural bristle brush and sand between coats - the brush marks will be minimized. An HVLP doesn't put out a lot of overspray but you still need to cover everything up well. Even overspray from a rattle can will travel a ways.
 
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Old 10-15-14, 12:47 PM
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I had not thought of using a brush but it would solve one problem: spraying on the fins themselves.

The rust damage is severe so a few pieces will be sanded down for sure. The wear marks are through the paint and when I experimented with cans, the dark iron spots showed through the paint.

What ratio of thinning are we talking about? 1 solvent 2 paint?
 
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Old 10-15-14, 12:49 PM
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While you might need to thin it more for spray, 10% thinner is normally good for brushing. Thinning more than that can cause adhesion issues with brushing.
 
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Old 10-16-14, 06:32 PM
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Update in case someone else is having this problem. Oil paint is hard to find. If you know your brand of radiator, you can buy a touch up spray can that should match what you have. If that fails, you will need to go to auto shop and get paint matched and mixed, in liquid or spray form. Either way, not an easy problem to fix but doable. Also, the pitting from rust will leave some texture.

I did one radiator using primer and then spray (not exact color match). Without glasses, it looks good but I did all the components. It would not work for smaller repairs. As indicated in earlier posts, spray carries very far. I am not sure how I will do rest of house.
 
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Old 10-17-14, 03:46 AM
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Have you tried visiting a local paint store? not a paint dept. I don't believe an automotive type paint would brush well. Some states have stricter VOC laws making it harder to buy solvent based coatings
 
 

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