Painting A Bathtub With Lasting Professional Results
Cheaper than replacements, painting a bathtub isn’t necessarily that hard and quickly learned when following our step-by-step guide. On the other hand, it could be disastrous when using cheap bathtub paint or if you don’t follow the instructions carefully. But fret not! Our guide lays out the process in a way that’s easy to understand!
When you have a bathtub that you want to have painted, it’s essential the results appear professional. Tubs take up a lot of space in most bathrooms, and we will help achieve a finish looking as good as new! Does your old, scratched, or worn bathtub currently have an unsightly finish?
If you have delayed your home interior bathroom painting or improvement projects lacking the time, or are avoiding the inconvenience, we are here to help!
We will help you save both time and money!
Determining Your Bathtub Type
First, it’s important to determine what type of tub you are painting over before starting. Not sure? Here’s how to assess your tub.
Tub Assessment 1) Press against the sides. Is there some give to it? Then it’s likely acrylic or fiberglass. Fiberglass and acrylic tubs are known to chip, fade, or yellow over time.
Tub Assessment 2) Does your bathtub feel solid and cool to the touch? It could be porcelain or an enamel-coated metal.
Tub Assessment 3) Can you see metal or rust underneath where it’s chipped? Then it’s likely iron or steel with an enamel coating.
Tube Assessment 4) Still not sure? Put a magnet against it. Does it stick? If not, it’s porcelain.
The Best Bathtub Paint
It is undoubtingly understood and accepted by painting professionals that epoxy bathtub paint offers the best durability and adhesion. But not all tubs will require the same epoxy paint. There are quite a few premixed colors to choose from as well.
There are tinted epoxies designed for re-glazing bathtubs of all types. If the tub is cleaned and has a relatively hard surface, you should be able to use an epoxy specific to the tub’s surface. Paint manufacturing has advanced, and epoxy ranges from water-based to 100% resins.
Regular acrylic paints will peel off and degrade over time, creating a big mess. Let’s explore a few highly regarded epoxies, as well as advice on buying and using premium two-part epoxy systems.
Is Painting A Bathtub Expensive?
Bath & tile epoxy paint varies in cost, ranging from $25 to $150 for premium 2-part kits. Cheaper single-part epoxies only last for an estimated 3-5 years, while you can expect 15 -20 years from more fortified versions.
Rustoleum offers a few DYI friendly epoxy bathtub coatings that provide average durability. Depending on the refinishing kit you choose, Rustoleum tube paints range from a one-part premixed epoxy to a two-part containing a hardener.
XIM Tile offers a premium 2-part tube epoxy lasting up to 20 years. The rock-solid finish delivers a solid scratch and scuff-resistant coating.
Two-part epoxy finishes are not for beginners, and you should be an experienced painter proficient in fast painting applications if using it. We recommend reading reviews and testimonials, even if you are a professional house painter. Not only will product reviews offer insight into the quality of the product, but they’ll also offer insight into the most common mistakes made specific to the epoxy, which you’ll want to avoid.
Now let’s get into the general steps of the process!
Everything You’ll Need For Your Project
Bathtub Painting Preparations
Take an inventory of everything you need and read through all your product instructions. Once you have taken all of the information in, it’s time to get started!
STEP 1.) Turn off the water supply to your tub or shower. Remove your tub’s fixtures and hardware, placing them in a safe place like a box or a labeled bag. To prevent any smaller items from going down the drain, be sure to plug the tub.
STEP 2.) Time to remove the caulk from around your tub. Take your time. Avoid scratching and chipping your tub or surrounding tile and grout. Here is a caulk removal tool that may help during this process.
STEP 3.) Remove the drain plug. Place a bucket underneath the tub drain if you detached it. Turn on your bathroom exhaust fan to air out the bathroom as best as possible.
STEP 4.) Wash your tub with a 30/ 70 percent ratio of bleach-to-water solution. Rinse your tub, being careful not to splash into your face or on the floor. Next, clean the tub a second time using a powdered bleach mix and rinse again.
Now, dry the tube using dry lint-free rags. The last cleaning step involves ridding the tube of contaminants. Thoroughly wipe down the tube, applying acetone with a lightly saturated cloth.
Once it’s 100% clean and 100% dry, you’re ready for the next step 5.
STEP 5.) It’s time to repair any scratches, pits, scrapes, and chips. Review the instructions on your epoxy putty or tub repair product. Fill in the damaged areas accordingly. Let dry for the recommended timeframe.
Once dry, sand the filler. You want the surface to feel smooth and blended to the touch. Grab a rag and wipe the tub down.
STEP 6.) Lightly sand the entire surface of your tub with wet/dry sandpaper. The epoxy needs a scored surface to bond. Go over it with 400 grit first. Do another pass with 600 grit. Give it a dry-wipe down with a rag, and set that rag aside.
Rinse the tub, leaving no residue behind. Once clean and dust-free, grab a few new lint-free rags to dry it. Make sure the surrounding surfaces are bone dry as well.
For good measure, give it time to air dry, keeping your high volume and exhaust fan on to reduce the humidity in the air.
The Process of Painting A BathTub
Now that your tube is properly prepared to paint it’s almost time to get started with the most rewarding part of the process. But there are a few things to consider before starting.
STEP 1.) Prep your work area. Remove anything that might fall into your tub—mask off all surrounding surfaces protecting your floor, tile, and fixtures.
Remember to clear all stumbling blocks or obstacles and organize all your materials to be within easy reach.
Once you get moving, you’ll want to move fast, so do everything you can to prevent this phase from being mishandled.
STEP 2.) Grab your epoxy and your respirator. Review the instructions for your refinishing kit. Open up your epoxy and mix both parts according to the instructions (if you bought a two-part mix). Per the instructions, mix the two-part epoxy into one bucket, and mix thoroughly.
STEP 3.) Transfer a small portion of your paint to an empty metal one-gallon paint can. Fasten the lid on the other container to keep it from drying out.
If you plan on using a paint roller, pour the mixture into a paint tray. Remember that a rolled finish will look better, and the paint coating is easier to correct and smooth out on the downward motion while rolling.
STEP 4.) Apply the first coat, thin and evenly – this will help it dry faster and more uniform. If you see any bubbles, don’t feel inclined to fix them—most epoxies are self-leveling.
Once you’ve taken your time, clear your supplies from the area, have a good stretch, and let the first coat dry. Review the product instructions and proceed with the subsequent coats.
The Final Steps of The Process
Once you are done and cleaned up, walk away and close off the room. Just because it feels dry doesn’t mean it’s cured. The paint takes 2 – 5 days to cure fully, so reframe from using the tube; you want it to adhere and last long.
Reach out to the manufacturer if the cure time is unclear or wait twice the recommended timeframe to eliminate premature usage.
Once the bathtub paint has cured, it’s time to re-caulk and reinstall all your fixtures and hardware.
Now it’s time to step back and take a picture of your accomplishment. Reward yourself by being the first to use the tub. You’ve earned it!
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