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A Quick Guide to Cast Iron Radiators

Updated: Jun 17

An ornate white cast iron radiator

Dating back to the 1840s, cast iron radiators are still a popular choice today. They are

particularly suited to renovation projects, or for those looking to add a touch of time-honoured charm to their interior. Alongside a wide choice of beautiful traditional designs, more contemporary styles are now also available, meaning whatever the vision there is something to suit.

Choosing a Cast Iron Radiator

A cast iron radiator is made up of sections, which are individually cast (hence the name) in a foundry and attached together using special joining nipples (double threaded – right-hand thread on one half and left-hand reverse on the other) and gaskets – a system that was developing in the 1800s and still used today. The beauty of cast iron is that whether you’re looking for a highly ornate design for a grand drawing room or a compact product for a smaller space, the result will always look like a design statement.

Heat Output and Cast Iron

As well as the aesthetics, a key benefit of cast iron radiators is their ability to retain heat. This means they continue to emit heat into a room long after the boiler has switched off, making them a good option for older houses that are difficult to insulate, to reduce heating costs.

The number of columns has an impact – this refers to the number of tubes making up the sections. So, for example, the Malvern is a two or three-column radiator, whereas the Telesio is available in four or six columns. The significance of columns is that the more there are, the larger the surface area of the radiator – which can help to heat a room more quickly. Different column options allow you to achieve more output from radiators of the same width and height, which can help to heat a room more effectively.

Mounting a Cast Iron Radiator

Mounting options for cast iron radiators include footed ends, cast iron feet or wall brackets.

Most people will choose to have their cast radiators floor mounted, as they are very heavy and require a strong solid wall to enable them to be safely hung. When specifying cast iron feet, the number required will depend on the number of sections. Wall ties may also be required.

Up to 20 sections

21 - 39 sections

(odd number of sections)

22 - 40 sections

(even number of sections)

2 feet – 1 at each end

3 feet – 1 at each end and 1 positioned centrally

4 feet – 1 at each end and 2 spaced equally between

2 wall ties

3 wall ties

4 wall ties

Cast Iron Radiators Colours and Accessories

Whereas standard panel radiators are most commonly white, the real signature of cast iron radiators is the abundant use of colour.

Cast iron radiators are pre-finished in a RAL colour or a special finish such as metallic, mottled or textured effects.

To complete the look, TRVs (Thermostatic Radiator Valves) also have a role to play. Vintage-styled TRVs are available in finishes such as antique copper and brass, nickel and polished brass, making them not just a functional add-on but an integral part of the design.

Cast iron radiators continue to be a popular choice, due to their distinctive design. If you’re seeking a cast iron radiator for your next project, see our product range here: Cast Iron Radiators.

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British Thermal Units (BTU) is a measure of the output of heat needed to raise the temperature of a room. Determining the correct BTU will help you get the right radiator for your home.

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