How to Restore Cast Iron Radiators

Cast iron radiators that have been in use for some time may need to be restored. You can restore radiators that have chipped paint by applying a fresh coat of paint. Here are a few instructions for restoring a cast iron radiator.

Things you'll need:

  • Paint Stripper
  • Paint brush
  • Scraper
  • Sandblaster
  • Bucket or container for drained radiator water

Step 1 – Detaching Your Radiator

Before you restore your radiator, you will need to detach the radiator from the hot water pipes. By removing it, you will you be able to gain access to all surfaces on the radiator that may need repainting. Be sure you shut off the radiator's valves that controls the flow of incoming water before attempting to disconnect the radiator. When you have closed these valves to stop any incoming flow of water, drain into a bucket the water from the radiator.

Step 2 – Determine If You Should Remove Old Paint

In order to decide if you should remove old paint on your radiator, examine the radiator for chipping or peeling of existing paint. If you are satisfied with the condition of the existing painted surface, you can begin painting without removing the existing paint. If you plan to remove this paint, you'll need to decide from several removal methods which method will work better for you.

Step 3 – Determine how to Remove the Radiator's Paint

If you have decided to remove your radiator's old paint, one of the most efficient and effective removal methods is sandblasting. However, unless you have access to sandblasting equipment you'll need to have the sandblasting done by professionals. Expect this method to cost considerably more than other methods. If you don't mind paying more for sandblasting, take your radiator to a company that has the equipment and expertise to perform this service.

Step 4 – Paint Removal, Using Chemical Remover

If you prefer to use a less costly paint removal method, try using a chemical paint remover. Be sure to wear waterproof gloves before you begin applying this chemical. Use a paint brush to apply it to your radiator's old paint, one small area at a time. If you apply it to a larger area, some of the paint remover may dry before you can scrape it and the old paint off the radiator. After applying, allow the paint remover to sit for about ten minutes to dissolve the paint. Then, use a scraper, such as a putty knife or drywall knife, to scrape off the paint and paint remover. Apply a second coat where needed.

Step 5 – Applying New Paint

When all the old paint has been removed from the radiator, allow residual moisture on the radiator to dry. Then apply a paint primer. You can use a paint sprayer to apply the primer more evenly. When the primer has dried, apply a finish coat of paint. Reconnect the radiator's connections, close its drain valves and open the water valves to allow heated water to enter the radiator again.