How to Refinish Bathtub Paint

Think about how often your bathtub gets used every year. It probably gets occupied at least once a day and maybe by more than one person. Tubs can get scratched from daily wear and tear. They also can suffer stains from mildew, soap scum and other offenders. Instead of spending large amounts of money on having a new tub installed, consider refinishing the paint on the one you have. If you have average handyman skills, you should be able to complete this project in a weekend.

  • Putty knife
  • Abrasive cleanser
  • Sandpaper
  • Painter's tape
  • Paper
  • Bathtub refinishing paint
  • Paint sprayer
  • Caulk
Clean the bathtub thoroughly before you start. Remove everything from the tub and shower area, including soap, razors and wash cloths. This project includes the use of strong chemicals and abrasives, which should not come anywhere near the things you use in the shower. Also peel off any anti-slip adhesive pads from the bottom of the tub. These may leave a bit of a sticky residue, which can be cleaned up. Using rubber gloves and perhaps a face mask, clean the tub with an abrasive cleanser. Let the cleaner sit for a while so it breaks down oils and dirt. Rinse everything well.

Remove any caulking around the tub. You can use special tools for removing caulk, but you also may be able to remove it with a putty knife or regular knife. Scrape away any residue left behind by the caulking.

Sand the entire bathtub. This will serve two purposes. It helps remove any residue left on the surface of the finish. It will also help even out any scratches and roughen up the surface to make the paint adhere better. The paint would not stick as well to the smooth, glossy surface of the tub. After sanding, rinse the tub well with water, ensuring that all the dust has been cleaned away. Let the tub dry completely.

Paint a first coat onto the tub. First, block off all surrounding areas of tile and wall that will not be painted with painter's tape and paper. Use a special paint specifically used for refinishing bathtubs. This is available at most home improvement stores. Mix the paint according to the directions on the can and read all warning labels. You can use a paintbrush, but a paint sprayer is preferable for the paint application. This will ensure a smooth and even surface. Let the paint dry for the time recommended by the manufacturer.

Repeat the process for the second coat of paint. Thoroughly inspect the bathtub to make sure that there are no drips or runs in the paint. Also make sure you didn't miss any areas. Let the paint dry and set. When the paint is totally dry, recaulk the tub.  

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