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Should you powder coat your refurbished radiator?

Radiator Renovator Spraying

So you’ve decided to give your old cast iron radiators a new lease of life, You love them but they look like they’ve seen better days, besides, you really want to show them off more and admire them as a piece of furniture, not just as an efficient heating appliance. Should you powder coat your refurbished radiator?

It must be said that having your radiators refurbished or restored by a reputable dealer is not cheap, however, this is reflective of the amount of work, the tools and equipment, the experience and expertise and the care that goes into completing the finished product to ensure that you get the results you were looking forward to.

Don’t be fooled by offers of cheap ‘renovation’; our workshop is often full of radiators that make their way to us for attention and repair after having been subject to that “too good to be true” cheap deal.

It’s a bit of a minefield deciding how to go about upgrading your cast iron radiators. We firmly believe that the better informed you are the better choice(s) you are able to make.

So what are your options?

Here at Radiator Renovator we have a number of services available (terms and conditions apply). Please ask us us for details and we’ll be happy to send you our service information leaflet.

So what do you really need to be aware of?

Once you’ve decided which service you’d like us to undertake you will no doubt be eager to know what it will look like and how we’ve finished it off.

Should you powder coat your refurbished radiator?

The most inexpensive method of finish is powder coat. This is simply because it’s less labour intensive as it saves having to get into all those nooks and crannies with a paint gun – The powder is attracted to the radiator by way of an electrical charge., it finds its own way to those hard to reach parts. The powder is then baked at around 200 degrees for around 20 minutes. We do have to say that we would NEVER choose to powder coat our own radiators and advise you against doing so.

So! What are the main pro’s and con’s of powder coating?


  • Powder coating is less expensive than paint.
  • Powder coating is easier to apply
  • Powder coating is harder wearing than paint


  • Powder has less choice of affordable colours
  • Powder coating conceals delicate pattern and patina
  • Powder coating leaves imperfections and surface bubbles around jointed areas
  • Powder coating can chip when knocked and cannot be touched up


Powder coating is likely to break otherwise good seals due to the baking process.

It is the risk to the seals that we have to draw the main focus of your attention. In our experience around 10%- 20% of seals fail due to powder coating (and we can’t tell how it’s affected the rest). It is a cheaper option but you need to consider this risk, the choice is yours. Depending of the size, we typically charge an additional £8 – £14 per section to finish in paint but the risk of seal failure from baking is eliminated and in our view the finish is superior. A further drawback of powder coating is that we do not know whether a seal has failed until after all the work has been completed and a final pressure test has been undertaken. By this point you will be charged for the full work. (we did say we thought you should be fully informed). Again the choice is yours and, again, we advise against it.

If you do instruct us to powder coat in order to save some money (or maybe you just prefer the look or you want something a little harder wearing) and a seal does fail, all is not lost, we can dismantle your radiator as carefully as possible and replace the seal. There will be an additional charge for this service and there is a high risk we will damage the already applied powder coat. You should be aware that the cost of repairing seals damaged by powder coating will exceed the cost of choosing the painted option in the first place.

Should you powder coat your refurbished radiator radiator refurbishment
Should you powder coat your refurbished radiator – we spray paint ours

Our ‘Full restoration service involves dismantling the radiator and replacing the old seals with new EPDM or Klingersil ones. Unlike the seal replacement only service we do take the radiator back to bare metal and re-finish in any colour of your choice.

Should you powder coat your refurbished radiator? We think you shouldn’t.

We NEVER powder coat fully renovated radiators or any radiators where we have replaced seals, this is because we do not wish to subject the new seals to any baking processes.

To find out more about the colour options available contact Andrew .