Safe To Paint A Radiator?

After seeing this post over at Apartment Therapy, I got to wondering….how safe is it to paint those out-dated heaters? I doubt this guy decorated his apartment around his brick red radiator, but painting heating equipment sounds, well, dangerous to me.
After a bit of researching, the best response I could find came from the Natural Handyman. Here’s what he had to say about painting these.

If your radiator is covered in chipping or lifting paint, you must remove all loose paint or the new finish will fail. This can be accomplished by sanding, scraping or even the use of a chemical paint remover. If the radiator has old paint that might contain lead, the safest method of paint removal is chemical, since this does not release lead into the air to the extent that sanding would.
You may use polyurethane if you want a clear coat. The best finish by far is a sprayed paint for durability and consistent appearance. A high temperature paint can be used, but it is not absolutely necessary. The temperature of steam is within the working range of most spray paints. Don’t use a latex spray… it will not provide a tough enough finish. A gloss oil is the best.
It looks like if you’ve got one of these dated heaters, take design cues from this living room. Don’t disguise it, flaunt it!
Photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy

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