Radiators come in virtually any material
According to Doug Siera, managing director of Radiating Style, trends are changing. ‘Steel radiators still sell well, but we're noticing that more unusual finishes are on the up, people want radiators to reflect their environments,' he says.
Traditionally radiators were made of cast iron - a very efficient heat emitter. Cast iron also holds heat extremely well, meaning that although they take longer to warm up, they stay warm much longer after the central heating has been switched off. If you run cast-iron radiators three times a day, your home should stay cosy. Along with reclaimed original cast-iron radiators (which must be restored to ensure they don't damage your boiler) you can now also buy good reproductions.
Aluminium radiators are lightweight and easy to install, though you do need to use a special inhibitor (available from plumbers' merchants) to avoid corrosion. They heat up quickly, but cool down quickly too. Their flat-fronted panels work well in contemporary homes.
Stainless steel is the designer's material of choice. It's flexible and can be moulded into organic shapes, and it's a very heat-efficient material.
Marble and granite can be used in electric and wet systems. They retain heat well and look good in kitchens and bathrooms.
Glass radiators tend to be electric, and can have transparent or mirror finishes.
Marble Heating: www.marbleheating.co.uk
Glass Radiators: www.glassradiators.co.uk