How to Paint Behind your Radiator

Long paintbrush with paint and a ladder

The time has come to spruce up your home with a fresh lick of paint. You’ve chosen the perfect colour, the floors have been carefully covered and you’re ready to get stuck in...but there’s just one problem, your radiators are getting in the way.

If you’re looking to add a new coat of paint to your home but your radiators are standing in your decorating path, you may be wondering: ‘how do I paint behind a radiator’? Cast those painting-fears aside, for the answer may be simpler than you think…

In this blog, we will provide some of the best ways to effectively paint behind your radiator both by removing the radiator and without having to at all!  

How to Prepare

Paint brushes with pink and purple paint

Before we jump in with the available methods, you’ll need to start by preparing your radiator for your painting job. The best thing to do before starting any of the below methods is to make sure your radiator is switched off. Once you’ve turned off your radiator, you’ll then need to wait for it to cool down before getting stuck in with any painting.

With all painting endeavours, you'll require a few tools to aid in your decorative journey. Here are some of the things you'll need when painting behind your radiators:

  • Paint
  • Radiator roller
  • Roller paint tray
  • Long reach angled radiator paint brush
  • Dust sheets
  • Masking tape
  • Duster

Once all of your tools are ready, you can begin putting down your dust sheets and covering your radiators, ensuring no paint goes anywhere unwanted. Next, secure your dust sheets with masking tape, so there's no room for movement, and line your skirting boards, too. Finally, dust the back of your radiator for any cobwebs or dirt and you're ready to get stuck in.

If you're looking for tips on how to paint your home, read our blog on Painting your Bathroom.

Method One: Remove your Radiator

Park Lane Traditional Colosseum Double Bar Column Radiator White 300 x 1010mm

If you’re looking to get a perfectly clean paint distribution behind your radiator and you aren’t afraid of a little DIY, then removing your radiator before painting is the way forward. By removing your radiator, you will be able to easily paint everywhere in your room without worrying about either getting it on the radiator or missing spots behind it!

Here is our basic step-by-step guide on how to easily remove a radiator:

  • Step one: turn off the water supply - be sure to turn off your central heating and let your radiators cool down.
  • Step two: switch off your radiator valves - isolate your radiator by closing off your valves at each end of the radiator.
  • Step three: drain your radiator - place a bowl or any other 'catching device' under your manual control valve. Next, using a spanner, grip the valve and loosen the nut. This will release any trapped air and fluid from the valves.
  • Step four: remove the radiator - once the radiator has drained, loosen the nut that connects the locksheild valve. Then, lift the radiator up to remove it from the wall brackets (we suggest this is a two-person job!).

To find out more about removing a radiator, read our blog on How to Fit & Replace a Radiator.

Method Two: Pivot the Radiator

DuraTherm Horizontal Double Flat Panel Designer Radiator - 600 x 1444mm Anthracite

Perhaps a lesser-known option but arguably the niftiest of all three, pivoting your radiator can be an incredibly easy and convenient way of painting the space behind your radiator without having to fully remove it! By pivoting your radiator forward on its valves, you can paint behind your radiators with ease.

It should be noted that this convenient method is only viable if your radiator has an inlet and outlet attached to the bottom corners of your radiator, so if this doesn't look like your radiator, feel free to skip straight to method 3!

With our step-by-step guide, you can quickly and easily pivot your radiator in no time:

  • Step one: follow steps 1-3 above - much like our first method of completely removing the radiator, these steps will be pretty similar when pivoting your radiator.
  • Step two: loosen the 'vertical nut' - between the radiator valve and inlet, you'll find a small vertical nut that can be twisted with a spanner or a wrench. Twist the nut slightly so it is loose but make sure not to fully undo it, as you want the inlet to be able to rotate within the nut.
  • Step three: lift the radiator - your radiator will be attached to a wall bracket. In this step, carefully lift the radiator until it has moved away from the wall bracket (the weight of your radiator will become heavier once it's off the wall bracket).
  • Step four: tilt your radiator - once the above steps are complete, you'll be able to gently pivot your radiator forward, revealing the wall behind and allowing you access to paint.
  • Step five: get painting!

Method Three: No Removal Needed!

Long paint brush with dark green paint

If you've stumbled across this blog, the chances are you may have attempted to paint behind your radiator with a normal paintbrush (and failed!). But what if we were to tell you that one of the easiest of our options requires no removal of your radiator at all?

Instead of tirelessly going through the process of removing your radiators before you begin painting, you can make life a little easier by leaving them exactly where they are. Perfect for anyone who owns a column radiator or heated towel rails, with this option, you will either need to get a little creative by designing a new paintbrush or simply purchase an innovative radiator roller.

With a radiator roller, the paintbrush/roller is located at the end of a long reach 'neck', meaning your paint can reach up and down further than a normal paintbrush and tackle any nooks and crannies.

DIY Paint Roller - What you will Need:

Old radiator being measured

If you're thinking of going down the more creative route, here's what you will need to design a DIY paint roller:

  • Paint roller extension pole (anything sturdy enough to hold your ‘brush’, including wood or bamboo)
  • A sponge
  • A measuring ruler
  • Scissors
  • A stapler

Now you're equipped with the right tools, you can begin creating your brand-new radiator paint roller. First, find a sturdy base for your paint roller extension pole. We suggest something like a piece of bamboo but if you don't have this lying around, then a piece of wood will work, too.

Next, measure the space between your radiator and cut your sponge to the correct size. Unfortunately the smaller your sponge is, the longer the painting process will take. But the even paint distribution at the end will be your reward for the hard work!

Finally, stable your sponge onto your wood so it is secure and won't fall off. Be sure to staple the sponge in a way so the edges won't scratch either your radiator or your walls as you paint. Once this is finished, you're ready to start painting!

Towelrads Vetro Soap Mirror Designer Radiator - 1380 x 500mm

If all this talk of radiators has made you want to buy a brand new one, discover our range on Plumbworld.

If you're looking for further information on heating, you may find the following posts useful - A Guide to Bathroom Heating - A Step-by-Step Guide to Changing a Radiator Valve - Bathroom Hacks: How to Disguise a Radiator With a Cover.


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