Need to Refinish a Radiator? — Try the Stripping Workshop

Radiator before refinishing, fresh from Community Forklift

Anyone who lives in an older home probably knows the joys of radiant heat. I, for one, would never be without it by choice but understand that it is too costly to include in modern construction.

Of course, many of the radiators in our older homes are also encrusted with layers of paint. I suspect most homeowners will add a new layer or two during there stewardship, but was turned on to another alternative about a year ago by a neighbor on Otis Place — refurbishment.

Recently I had the opportunity to do just that. After rebuilding the back sleeping porches on the house, we decided to replace the radiator in that space with one that is bigger. So, we bought one at Community Forklift and took it to the Stripping Workshop to get stripped, polished, and lacquered.

Radiator after being stripped, polished, and lacquered

As you can see by looking at the before (above) and after images (to the right), they can really make an old radiator look new. They also have a variety of finishes available. While we chose to go with the polished metal, they will also repaint a radiator in white, gold, or black (see photo below).

In looking around the house, I definitely see other radiators that I’ll want to have refurbished.

The Stripping Workshop is located in NE at 411 New York Ave., tucked behind the D.C. Farmer’s Market. While its a bit tricky to find they do great work.


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13 Comments on “Need to Refinish a Radiator? — Try the Stripping Workshop”

  1. Anne Stom Says:

    I can also vouch for them. I have had several doors done there as well and they came out really well.

  2. How much did this run? I’d LOVE to do the same to my steam radiators!

  3. defbyte Says:

    Any advice on removing a radiator that is currently hooked in to the heating system in order to strip/refinish it?

    I have old peeling paint on mine, and would love to clean them up. And heck, while they are disconnected, potentially fix the old plaster behind them.


    • Kent Says:

      I’m thinking of doing the same thing. It will have to be in the spring or summer after the heat is off. You need to drain the system so that existing radiators can be disconnected. Once disconnected I believe the Stripping Workshop will pick the radiator up (for a fee?) and deliver it. Feel free to call them and confirm at 202-544-1470.

      • Lolly716 Says:

        We had the ones in our main floor (3 total) done this past summer by the stripping workshop, and they look fantastic. We’ll have the top floor ones done this coming summer.

        You do have to drain the system; if you are handy, there are instructions online for how to do this (need pipe wrenches, drain hose, radiator key to let air into the system). There is a guy named Saul who does pickups/dropoffs for the workshop, and I think he can disconnect them also for a fee. We had our 3 large ones waiting by the front door, and he charged $100 for transport only each way (in case you are thinking of transporting yourself, they are insanely heavy, ie 500+ lbs of solid weight).

        While you are doing this, it’s recommended to replace the control valves (most of ours were broken anyway). Eastern plumbing on Florida Ave near Galludet has them, but measure carefully as there are many sizes.

        Ours are back in, not leaking, and heating wonderfully. We should be thankful of when our Park View homes were built, b/c older homes have steam rather than water radiators, which are loud and can get burning hot.

  4. […] In Love With a Stripper: Park View DC has found a stripper even Grandma would welcome in her home. After buying a used radiator to put in […]

  5. KT Says:

    Hey Kent!
    Who fixed your back sleeping porch? I need to get mine shored up too. Thanks! KT

  6. Jeremy Says:

    FYI, stripping workshop is now closed. There is a company called Chem Strip in Upper Marlboro who is taking many of their clients.

    • Richard Says:

      They are open again call them. 202-544-1470

      • WillS Says:

        well that number was answered by a machine calling itself Chem Strip. I’m awaiting a call back to confirm The Stripping Workshop on NY Ave. is open again.

      • WillS Says:

        I confirmed that The Stripping Workshop on New York Ave is permanently closed. The phone number still works–it is now owned by the Chem Strip company, and they will take your business at their Prince Georges county location–but the New York Ave location is no more.

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