Buying radiators can be confusing at the best of times. When you want a cast iron radiator, things can get even more confusing. They are these lumbering radiators which have stood the test of time (in some cases quite literally). Even with all the latest designs and trendy radiators out there, cast iron is still a great choice for a radiator.

But what should someone know when buying a cast iron radiator for the first time? Thanks to the advice from the experts at Trade Radiators (check out their cast iron radiators here) here are 6 things to know before buying a cast iron radiator.

  • Cast iron is incredibly tough

Iron is known for being incredibly ductile. If you don’t know what that means, or don’t have a dictionary handy, something that is ductile can be formed and hold its shape under pressure. It’s the reason why cast iron has been seen as a trusted material when making radiators for the longest time.

Most radiators today are made from steel or aluminum, which are great in their own right. Still, there’s no beating cast iron when it comes to a radiator material that can take some punishment for years of hot water flowing through.

  • They won’t rust as quickly

If someone trying to sell you a radiator tells you that it doesn’t rust, they’re telling a big fat lie. While radiators do indeed run the risk of rusting over time, if you take good care of your radiator, you shouldn’t see problems creep up slowly.

One reason why cast iron is better at avoiding rust comes down to it being a much more durable material than steel or aluminum, going back a little to what I said about the ductility of iron. I would recommend getting a cast iron radiator painted, or protected at the minimum.

Whenever you see what looks like a bare radiator, it will have a protective layer applied on the top to prevent moisture and air from sticking to the surface of your radiator and doing damage. There’s always more in the room than you think. If you have a window which is covered in condensation after heating has been on, you’re looking at an example of moisture in the air.

  • They tend to distribute heat more efficiently (if balanced)

While radiator design has come on leaps and bounds in years, one very weird anomaly is that modern radiators aren’t designed to distribute heat as efficiently. What do I mean by this?

If you have a normal flat panel white radiator in a room right now, I want you to take a look at the shape of the radiator from the top down. When hot water gets pumped in, it comes in from the bottom and rises in a manner that is designed to be fool-proof.  While that’s great, it can make the last radiator in your home (i.e. the one furthest from your boiler) either difficult to get going, or always at a lower output.

When this happens, your radiators need to be balanced. It is a tedious process of trial and error, and most modern radiators need more help to balance than cast iron, as cast iron radiators are sectioned out (the cast refers to the fact that your radiator is made of section and “cast” together). Such design tends to see heat distributed more efficiently and fewer problems over time, which makes cast iron ideal for longevity.

  • They can be any colour you like

Painting a radiator can be almost too annoying to do if you’re unsure how it is done, as it sadly isn’t the same as painting a wall or garden fence. Cast iron radiators can be primed and painted easier than other radiators, in large part due to the ductile strength (which we mentioned earlier) not causing those first few layers of paint to buckle or bubble under the heat.

  • They need feet

Cast iron radiators are much heavier than you think. When you install one, it is common to have wall stays drilled in the wall to keep the radiator in place. Cast iron radiators also usually need supporting feet to help take the load off the wall too.

When buying a cast iron radiator, double check that the radiator comes with supporting feet, otherwise you may not be able to install successfully.

  • They are almost too easy to clean

This last tip is something that I really like about cast iron radiators. When you have a whit flat panel radiator, you tend to have to clean it more often than you’d like, especially if dust builds up in the crevices. With cast iron radiators having a good distance in their sections, a quick flick with a duster will keep it cleaner for longer, and you never have to worry about dust building up in between the panels.

There you have it, six things to consider when buying cast iron radiators. If you’re doing any work at home, I recommend checking out the latest house & homes posts on the site.