How to Paint Behind a Radiator

It can be tricky painting behind a radiator, and no-doubt that’s the very reason why so many decorators and DIY enthusiasts leave it unpainted when it comes to redecorating. But what they don’t know is that from a simple adjustment to the valves they could lower the radiator onto the floor, giving them easy access to repaint the wall behind without the need to drain the central heating system. This guide on how to paint behind a radiator will not only save countless hours but lead to an improved finish throughout your rooms.


Before you get started, making sure your have the right tools and materials to hand will ensure the job goes smoothly. You will need, old towels and cloths, two adjustable spanners, the radiator bleed key and of course the paint, paint brushes and rollers you shall be using.


To complete the first step you will need someone’s help, so ask a friend or neighbour to assist with lowering the radiator. Lay the old towels on the floor a short distance away from the edge of the radiator with one positioned at both ends while keeping a cloth or old rag at hand to wrap around the pipe.


Making sure the central heating is off and the radiator cold, undo the nut on the bottom pipe valves on both sides of the radiator slightly so that you see a slight weep of the water from each. Holding an old rag over each valve to absorb the water, gently swivel the radiator towards you.


The next step is to lower the radiator to the floor. Keeping the old cloths wrapped around the loosened values lift the radiator up a few centimetres until it comes off the brackets and lower it to the floor gently, being careful not to pull on or disturb the pipe work underneath.


Once lowered on to the towels on the floor, quickly tighten up the valve nuts to stop the water dripping. Now you have access to paint or wallpaper the wall behind in ease.


Once the paint work is dry it’s time to re-hang the radiator. To do this, you will need to repeat the steps from lowering the radiator (as above) although raising it rather than lowering it. Loosen of the valve nuts once again with an old cloth in place to catch the drips, raise it with a friend, standing it upright and lifting it back on to the supporting wall brackets. Once in position quickly tighten the valve nuts to stop any further loss of water.


It is good practice to bleed the radiator after having moved it, this avoids trapped air and keeps your central heating working as efficiently as possible. Use the bleed key to turn the bleed screw at the top right or left of the radiator. Loosen the screw slightly and wait for a small squirt of water before tightening the screw backup.


Now that you have completed the job, or at least the small section of painting behind the radiator, turn your central heating back on and test the radiator.


If you’re still to redecorate the remaining of the room or other rooms in your home then you may find our guides on how to strip paint from doors or 8 tips on painting interior doors helpful.