Painting metalwork in your home requires a different process to painting walls, or woodwork. Whether you're painting a radiator of a cast-iron fire surround, this guide will help you get it right first time.

Before you start: make sure that all metalwork is clean and free from grease before painting

Painting metal windows

Metal windows tend to be tighter fitting than wooden ones, so do not let paint layers build up on them. If the paint layers are very thick, remove the paint with a chemical stripper. In all other respects, the painting procedure remains the same as for wooden frames.

 

Painting Radiators

Never paint a hot radiator – always let it cool first. Wait for about an hour after you finish painting, then turn on the heating to speed up the drying process. Special radiator paint is available that will keep its whiteness despite the heat.

Before you start Check for patches of rust or bare metal that may be showing through. Rub them down with a fine wet-and-dry abrasive paper, and then touch them up with metal primer.

1. Apply gloss direct to new and already painted radiators unless there is to be a colour change, in which case apply an undercoat first.

2. Use a 50mm paintbrush and keep the coat as thin as possible to avoid runs. You can paint a flat panel radiator with a small roller; this will not give quite as good a finish, but takes less time than painting with a brush.

3. Do not paint over control valves; they must be left free to turn.

 

Painting metal pipes

1. Make sure that steel and copper pipes are clean and free from corrosion. Use fine wire wool to clean them.

2. Apply gloss paint direct with a 25mm or 50mm brush. There is no need for a primer unless the pipe is lead. Start by brushing up and down, then smooth the paint along the length of the pipe.

3. Never paint over stop taps or controls or they will not work.

 

Cast-iron fire surrounds and wrought ironwork

1. Rub down and remove any rust and prime the metal if necessary.

2. Use a suitably sized brush to coat the surface with gloss or enamel paint direct, without an undercoat.

3. If possible, remove intricate wrought ironwork and take it outside. Then spray it with an aerosol, shielding the area behind. Always use thin coats to prevent runs. Hold the can at right angles to the work and at a distance of about 300mm.

4. Keep the can parallel with the surface—moving up and down or from side to side. Never swing the can in an arc or hold it in one position for any length of time.

5. If you cannot move intricate wrought ironwork, put on two thin coats of gloss with a small paintbrush.

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