A lot of people assume that they have to buy a new bathtub if the one they own is chipped, scratched or pitted. The truth is that you do not have to throw out that old tub. You can restore that tub with a little elbow grease and paint.
Often you can change the entire appearance of a bathroom by painting the tub. This is especially true if your tub is a dated color like green, pink, or mauve. Repainting the tub is not an expensive undertaking, but it can give you dramatic results.
Tools and Materials Required to Paint a Bathtub
You cannot paint a bathtub with the standard paint you use on your walls, or ceiling. When you want to paint a tub, or paint the tile surrounding your tub, you need to purchase an epoxy refinishing kit that is designed for use on tubs or tile.
Things you need before you begin
- A caulk remover
- Household bleach
- An abrasive cleaner like Comet, Ajax, or similar products
- Plastic gloves
- Eye goggles
- Paint thinner or acetone
- Epoxy putty
- Wet/dry sandpaper in 400 grit and 600 grit
- Some painters tape (Quality tapes cost a little more but they give you more protection from paint bleeding through, and they do less damage to the surface when they are removed)
- Clean dry cloths
- The tub and tile refinishing kit
- Bathroom caulk
- Painting apparatuses such as a paintbrush and a roller (you also need a rolling tray and liner)
- Containers with lids and paint stirring sticks that are disposable
Do the job yourself
Remove the old caulk from the outer edge of the tub. You also need to remove the drain cover, and all of the hardware from the tub. You do not want to paint your faucet, and you may have decided to install new faucets.
Clean the tub. You want to scour away all grit and grime using the bleach and the abrasive cleaner. Once the tub is perfectly cleaned you want to dry it with a clean cloth, and then apply the paint thinner or acetone to the tub to help remove the finish coating that is on the tub. The tub must be clean and you must completely dry all moisture with a soft clean cloth.
Make the reparations needed now. If the tub has scratches, or gouges, you can use an epoxy putty to fill in those blemishes. You must allow the epoxy putty to dry completely. Once it is dry you can use the 400 grit sandpaper to smooth the epoxy putty, and then use the 600 grit sandpaper to make the area even smoother.
Once you have sanded the area you repaired you now need to run the 400 grit sandpaper over the entire tub surface. Wipe away the dust created with a clean cloth and then go over the entire tub using the 600 grit paper.
You should only have to make one pass over the surface area with each type of sandpaper. You are roughing up the gloss of the tub so the paint you apply will adhere correctly
Wear the gloves and eye goggles whenever you work with the epoxy. Protecting your eyes and hands from harsh chemical contaminants is a top priority.
Use the painters tape to tape the area adjacent to the tub so paint is not transferred onto your tub surround.
It is time to mix your two-part epoxy. Make sure that the room is properly ventilated before you start this process. You should have your gloves and eye goggles on while you work with the epoxy. The refinishing kit you bought has detailed instructions from the manufacturer as to how to mix this epoxy. Follow those instructions carefully. The general instructions for mixing this epoxy are:
Put each part of the 2-part mix into a container and mix them together for about 2 minutes. You want them perfectly combined. Pour half of the amount into another container and seal that container with a lid to keep the epoxy from drying while you work.
Apply the mixture in two thin coats. Use a brush to cut in the edges around the tub, and to get to places your roller will not have access to. Paint the entire surface and then allow the paint to dry completely before you apply the second coat. You can often paint walls when the first coat of paint becomes tacky, but with this paint the first coat must be totally dry.
Read the manufacturer’s instructions because each manufacturer will recommend the exact amount of time you should allow their product to cure before you apply the second coat. Follow these instructions with care.
Seal the container that held the epoxy and throw it away. You do not want to use that container for anything else.
You have to wait a period of at least 3 days before you can get water on the newly painted surface. The paint will feel dry and you might be tempted but the paint has to cure for a period of at least 3 days. If you put water in the tub before then the paint will not adhere properly and will not last.
Once the 3 day waiting period has passed you can remove the painters tape from around the tub. Caulk around the tub to prevent water from getting between the tub and the tile. Install your hardware and drain.
Your new tub is now ready to be filled with water and enjoyed. Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done, and tell all of your friends how easy, and economical the process was.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of paint do you use on a bathtub?
There is actually a product that is called bathtub paint. You need a paint that can withstand a lot of moisture, humidity, and extreme temperatures. You also want a paint that can be applied to tile or porous surface areas.
How do you repaint a bathtub?
First you have to clean the tub to remove any dirt. Then you need to use a fine grit sandpaper and rough the surface area up so the new paint can adhere. Then after you paint the tub you have to apply a sealer over the paint to make the paint completely water resistant.
Is painting a bathtub a good idea?
Painting a tub can save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars over purchasing a new tub in the color you want. If your old tub is in good working condition then painting it makes perfect sense.
Painting your tub is an inexpensive way to breathe new life into your bathroom. You have a wide variety of colors to choose from, and the new tub surface will not have the scratches and imperfections once you have finished the painting process.
Remember that with epoxy paints you must ventilate the area where you will be working. Open a window and place a fan so that it blows the air in the room out of the window while you work.