21 November 2009

Radiator Revitilization

When I bought the house there was no source of heat on the second floor. Just gravity. I thought I would give it a try, and I froze the first winter.
So I asked my dad and grandfather to put radiators in the three bedrooms. My dad looked around and eventually found four steam radiators. He got them from some guy he knows who hoards junk. Apparently hot water radiators are easier to come by than steam. So this guy has four, I only need three, but we have no idea if they even work. So daddy buys all four for $100. (Do you know how much new ones cost?) This was a steal. Well, they installed three, and they all work just fine. We now have a spare in the basement. No idea if it leaks.

Eventually we got to a point in the house where we were ready to start painting. Have you ever tried to paint behind a radiator? No? Well, neither had my previous owners.
Our first idea was to get oil paint from Sherwin Williams and paint each radiator the same color as the rest of the room. I was never thrilled with this idea. What if I get tired of the color in a few years? I'm sure I don't want to keep repainting them. Plus, we've read that more layers of paint on radiators just act like insulation, keeping the heat from warming the room. But they needed something, all those old layers of paint (mostly on the sides that faced the room) were chipped and flaking. A big mess. Mom and I tossed some ideas around, I perused houseblogs, and we decided they should just look like radiators. Radiator-colored radiators. How novel. Why try to make them blend in? Let them be what they are.

So, we had all the radiators taken out, hauled away, sand blasted, and spray painted with high heat engine paint. I'm thrilled at how they turned out.
We had eight radiators of various sizes, and they charged us just under $1000. I think it was money well spent. That included transportation. (My dad and grandfather did the disconnecting and the reconnecting.) We couldn't find anyone in the local area who did this kind of work, but daddy suggested someone he knew who did engine repair. So we had an auto engine repair place do the radiators.
We knew that the sandblasting was risky, because if there are any weak spots it can create holes, and then it is all over, folks. But we decided it was worth it. New radiators for the second floor were out of the question. I'm so glad we took the chance.I sincerely hope this paint job will last for years, decades even. About a year after the radiators were finished, I saw pictures (I'm sorry, I don't remember where) of someone else who had done the same thing, only they had their radiators painted a dark metallic bronze. They were really gorgeous. Now I have bronze envy. I briefly wished we had thought of the dark bronze, but I am very happy with the engine silver anyway. Maybe we will go bronze if it ever needs done again.
I couldn't find any before pictures specifically of the radiators, but I'm sure you can all picture them. You might be able to spot some in my before series of each room. Check out the details that were lost under all those layers of paint!


Jenni said...

The radiators look GREAT! Glad the sandblasting worked ok.

Scratch Oliver's chin for me.

Jennifer said...

It looks really good! Well worth it.