After a full heating season the bodywork on your stove, especially if it is a traditional black or contemporary colour finish (e.g. such as on a Charnwood), is bound to show some signs of wear and fly-ash discolouration. Where paint has worn and the metal has been exposed this may lead to corrosion, so it should be repainted as soon as possible – but only by using the appropriate heat-resistant stove paint. One spray can will usually do a whole average stove (unless you've decided to change the colour of the stove altogether in which a second or third coat may be needed).
Some stove manufacturer's use various shades of very dark grey which appears to be virtually black so you should always try to use the particular manufacturer's recommended shade. A patch-up of standard stove black will almost certainly stand out like a sore thumb on these stoves. If in doubt always spray a test swatch on an old piece of metal and allow it to dry to check the shade match before you spray a large area.
How to repair the paintwork on your stove
Firstly ensure that the stove is cold and that there is no possibility of live embers igniting the aerosol spray. If you are painting the inside of the door or door frame then all of the ash should be removed and the fire chamber thoroughly cleaned so that fly ash is not disturbed by the aerosol spray. Protect any decorative surfaces such as the hearth and fire surround. Adequate protection should also be provided over a wide area to avoid loose floating spray paint particles damaging carpets, wallpaper and furniture etc.
Always follow the paint manufacturer's instructions, particularly regarding health and safety, such as room ventilation and the use of personal protective wear.
Ensure that the area of the stove to be painted is dust free and clean – use a soft dry cloth to burnish any particularly dirty areas. Rust patches should be brought back to bare metal by using wire wool or a wire brush. Any flaking paint areas should be removed back to where the paint still has a good key with the bodywork. Sand any rough paint edges to help disguise the different paint levels. Lightly key the rest of the surface to be painted by using wire wool which will be able to get into some of the textured surfaces on any cast iron panels. There is no need to take the whole surface back to bare metal.
Use newspaper and masking tape to mask out the areas of the stove that you do not wish to paint such as the stove glass, brass or chrome air control fittings or even whole sides of the stove. We would recommend painting a complete surface area rather than just a patch. For example if the stove lid needs a patch repair then paint the whole lid, similarly with the door or ash lip. This will help avoid potential obvious shade differences and allow you a much greater area in which to deliver an evenly sprayed coat of paint. With smaller areas there's always a tendency to add too much paint, tooquickly, which could bubble or run and make the patch stand out from the rest of the painted surface.
Spray the paint as directed by the paint manufacturer, ensuring that the can is kept at the correct distance from the area to be sprayed and that only a thin layer of paint is added for each coat. Do not attempt to do the repainting with one coat. Allow the paint to dry as directed between each application. Ensure any areas with bare metal are given sufficient coats to re-protect them. Make sure the paint is completely dry before you attempt to re-light the stove. If you use stove polish then you may wish to re-apply this to the newly painted surface to help it match the rest of the stove.
Important: Where a large area of the stove has been re-painted then this new paint will need curing in the same way that the original paint was cured on your stove by starting with smaller and then increasingly bigger fires. You may also experience paint fumes as the curing process continues – this is perfectly normal. However, you should take care that there is always sufficient ventilation in the room until any fumes have cleared.
Repairing the enamel finish on a stove
It's a sad fact that at some point during the life of your enameled stove that you'll probably end up accidentally chipping its decorative surface. However, it's not the end of the world as most small areas of enamel damage (usually around the lid edge or door frame) can easily be repaired by using a proprietary high-temperature porcelain repair liquid. The difficulty may come in matching some of the stove manufacturer's subtle enamel shades. In the first instance always speak to the manufacturer first to check if the appropriate colour matched repair kit is available. Failing that, try to getas close to it as possible as any bare metal or exposed enamel edges will need protecting to limit any further damage.
Assuming you have found a good colour match and it has a suitable temperature rating (200ºC / 400ºF) then lightly sand the immediate damaged area to soften any sharp edges. Wipe it clean and ensure that it is both dry and dust-free. Apply the high-temperature enamel repair as directed. Small areas of enamel repair can be applied by using the end of a matchstick. Do not apply to an area any larger than is absolutely necessary as this will only draw attention to the repair. You may need to apply a number of additional coats to build up the surface area to match the existing enamellevel, ensuring that each coat is allowed sufficient time to dry.
Where you can't find an appropriate match and in order to protect the exposed metal surface (and also for aesthetic reasons) you could always try one of the coloured heat-resistant stove paint shades. As this usually comes in an aerosol you will need to spray some of this paint into a suitable receptacle so that it can be applied from there before it dries out by using a small paint brush or dabbed on with a matchstick end. Again, try to build up the surface to match the existing level and don't paint a larger area than you really need to.
Never use regular 'enamel' paint unless the instructions specifically mention stoves (as in wood burners) and / or provide the appropriate heat-resistant temperature rating.
Geoff Royle is our Head of Marketing. He is heavily involved in the Stove Industry and represents WBS and The Stove Yard in the Stove Industry Alliance. Geoff also has recently joined the Hetas Technical Committee and is looking forward to discussing in detail all future stove, flue and installation legislation.