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Painting steam mains in basement?

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bipbap
bipbap Member Posts: 191
So we are finally making part of the basement a rec room and it’s looking great, bright and clean, though I’d like to paint some of the steam pipes, see very top and also middle of photo, and the return to make it all look clean and nice.

Any reason not to?
if not, any suggestion for paint? I’d like to just use the same matching wall paint even if I have to touch it up every other year.

Thanks all for your thoughts.

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  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 742
    edited February 2022
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    I'd insulate them and then paint the insulation. Fiberglass pipe insulation has a paper cover that should be paintable. (unless you're using them to heat the space)
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
  • bipbap
    bipbap Member Posts: 191
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    Yes I was going to leave them uncovered in that area as a heat source.
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 742
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    You may get some paint smell initially as the paint gets "cooked", but it shouldn't be an issue longer term. People paint radiators with wall paint all the time.
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,704
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    Any nice interior latex should be great. You might put a primer on it to block the existing rust and/or try some rust converter.

    I have painted my radiator just with latex and some rust did come through but it still looks very good. You don't need high-temp paint for this application.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • AdmiralYoda
    AdmiralYoda Member Posts: 629
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    Like @ethicalpaul mentioned.... good interior latex will be just fine as long as you prime it to prevent the rust from coming through. Go with a gloss or semi-gloss to make it easier to clean.

    Another option would be an oil based enamel. Rustoleum usually has "Professional" series which I've used and like. It is very durable and will not let rust bleed through. Available at all the big box stores. Only potential downside is it might be a little stinky as it cures but shouldn't stink for too long.

    https://rustoleum.com/product-catalog/consumer-brands/professional/high-performance-protective-enamel/
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 512
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    I'd imagine there has been articles written on this forum about painting and the off gassing hazards...  There probably are best times of year to paint , probably not quite not yet... but @Erin Holohan Haskell  could help with sources of best practices 
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • AdmiralYoda
    AdmiralYoda Member Posts: 629
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    @reggi I agree. Best time of year would be just after heating season. The paint itself will off-gas fairly quickly after it dries. Nothing a couple of windows open for a few days can't solve. It might stink a little bit once heated for the first time but should be minimal.

    If you paint it with enamel right now and apply heat shortly after it dries it will stink alot!
    reggi
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,288
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    For reference, here are some articles about painting radiators:

    https://heatinghelp.com/systems-help-center/how-do-you-paint-cast-iron-baseboard-radiators/

    https://heatinghelp.com/blog/how-to-paint-an-old-radiator/

    We used Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo on our cast-iron baseboard radiators back in 2015. So far so good.

    Here’s what Burnham has to say about painting these radiators, “BASE-RAY and Trim are primed with a latex (water-based) paint and must be top coated with a high-grade oil- or solvent-based enamel to prevent rusting of the metals immediately after installation. Primer-coated products should not be allowed to sweat as a result of high room humidity or cold water in the system. The use of flat wall paint is not recommended since it may chip or crack when applied to surfaces that are heated. Consult a reputable paint dealer.”
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
    reggi
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,739
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    Sherwin Williams makes an enamel called "All Surface" that was recommended to me by my local Sherwin Williams store when I described what I was doing. I used it on my boiler piping and system piping. It sticks like glue and seems to be holding up well. The only prep I did was a wipe down with some degreaser paint prep. That was 7 years ago and it still looks good on the areas I didn't cover with insulation.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15