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How To Prepare A Bathtub For Painting

Bathtubs can easily make a bathroom look old and outdated. Over time they can get cracks, scratches, and become discolored. If this sounds like a bathtub in your home, you'll be happy to know that you can give it a facelift by simply painting it. But what is the best way to prepare a bathtub for a new paint job? We've researched the best steps to take for this process. In this post, we will discuss them in detail.

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Here are the steps to prepare your bathtub for a new paint job:

  1. Prepare the space
  2. Remove old caulk and hardware
  3. Thoroughly clean the bathtub
  4. Repair any surface damage
  5. Sand down the tub
  6. Apply painters tape
  7. Dry the bathtub
  8. Apply primer

Painting a bathtub can be a pretty involved home project. Before deciding to paint your bathtub on your own, it's best to understand how to perform all of the steps of the project to ensure a beautiful finish for your bathtub. Continue reading to learn about the steps involved in the process.

Interior of a bathroom under construction with unfinished wall covering, How To Prepare A Bathtub For Painting

Steps To Prepare Bathtub For Painting

Interior of a gorgeous contemporary bathroom with a huge white bathtub and a small wooden bathroom chair on the side

Depending on the current condition of your bathtub, a re-painting project can take anywhere from two to four hours. If you have never painted a bathtub before, it's best to closely follow the directions given by your paint manufacturer. It's also important to make sure that you are using paint that is suitable for your particular bathtub's surface.

Things you'll need:

  • Rustoleum Tub Refinishing Kit
  • Paint Brush
  • Paint Roller
  • 400 and 600-Grit Sandpaper
  • Lime Cleaner
  • Drop Clothes
  • Plastic Gloves
  • Comet Cleaner
  • Cleaning Sponges
  • Painter’s Tape

1. Prepare the space

Before you work on any painting project, it's always best to lay down a drop cloth to protect your floor and any surrounding furniture. Be sure to tape the drop cloth around the front of the tub, so it does not slip when you kneel on it. It's also a good idea to open up a window in any doors to the bathroom to ventilate it before applying the epoxy, as the fumes can be very strong and may cause light-headedness.

2. Remove old caulk and hardware

tart by taking your putty knife and any old caulk from around the surface of the tub. You may need to remove the drain hardware in any other fixtures at this time.

3. Thoroughly clean the bathtub

Clean the tub with an all-purpose cleaner, and then rinse it off with warm water. It's also a good idea to then wash the tub with a diluted bleach solution. It's best to use a solution that has anywhere from 5% to 10% bleach to thoroughly clean the tub before refinishing it. Be sure to scrape away any grime and hard water stains or other surface discolorations at this time.

Check out this all-purpose cleaner on Amazon.

4. Repair any surface damage

Next, use this time to fix any damages to the tub surface. Fill any chips, scratches, or cracks with epoxy or a recommended tub repair kit. Make sure that the epoxy dries completely before applying additional coats.

5. Sand down the tub

Next, take the 400-grit sandpaper and sand down the areas where you apply the epoxy. Next, grab your 600 paper and take a second pass over the entire tub. The finer-grit paper will help the paint adhere to the tub's surface better. When sanding down the repaired areas, make sure that they are sanded enough so that they are flush with the rest of the tub--you don't want any bumps in the surface of the tub when you re-paint it.

Find sandpaper on Amazon.

6. Apply painter's tape

Now's the time to apply your painter's tape to the areas around the edge of the tub and any over hardware that you don't want to paint. To avoid getting paint on the wall by sure to use the edge of your putty knife to push the painter's tape into the corner between the edge of the tub and the wall to prevent accidental brushes.

Find painter's tape on Amazon.

7. Dry the bathtub

Take a large dry towel and dry off the surface of the tub, as it needs to be completely free of moisture before applying the paint. Be careful not to peel off the painter's tape on this process. You may want to wait about 10 minutes to ensure that the tub is completely dry. Once it is, prepare your epoxy (or primer) if it needs to be mixed or apply it to the tub at this time.

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8. Apply Primer

Take your 4-inch paintbrush and lightly dip it in the primer to apply it to the tub. Be sure not to apply the paint primer too heavily, as it will clump up and begin to bubble as it dries. You should use light brush strokes and apply one or two additional coats after the previous coat has dried.

Check out this primer on Amazon.

What kind of paint do you use on a bathtub?

When painting a bathtub, the most commonly used type of paint is epoxy paint or what's known as "epoxy acrylic" paint. Unlike typical interior or exterior home paint, epoxy paint does not crack and peel with increased heat and moisture levels. This is essential when it comes to bathtubs. It has great adhesion and long-lasting durability once it cures.

The formula is designed to look like a shiny porcelain coating, and it can be used on a number of different bathtub materials, including acrylic, fiberglass, and stone resin. You can typically purchase this paint by yourself or in a ready-to-mix bathtub re-painting kit.

Learn more about bathtub epoxy paint on Amazon.

Is there a spray paint for bathtubs?

There are a couple of spray paint products that are commonly used to paint bathtubs. Let's take a look at them.

Rust-Oleum Tub and Tile Refinishing Spray

This epoxy acrylic formula is specially designed to provide quality adhesion, color retention, and excellent durability. When it cures, your bathtub will look like finished porcelain, and you'll have an extra layer of protection. You can use this paint on fiberglass, porcelain, and ceramic. It bonds well to multiple surfaces and is corrosion-resistant.

You don't have to worry about this spray paint leaving your tub with rusted areas, as it offers excellent water-resistance capabilities. It is also a self-leveling spray paint and dries fast to create an incredibly smooth finish.

Find more about this spray paint on Amazon.

Krylo Tub & Tile Ultra Repair Finish Spray Paint

The tub finish spray by Krylo is also a good option if you're looking for a quick and easy way to paint your bathtub. It provides a durable and long-lasting finish on several surfaces, including fiberglass, glass, ceramic tile, and porcelain.

You can also use it in your shower area and on your bathroom sinks. The paint is chip-resistant, has a solid finish, and dries in about 25 minutes. If you're looking for reliable spray paint with high peel-resistance, you may want to take a look at this product.

Read more about it on Amazon.

How much does it cost to paint a bathtub?

The price to paint a bathtub can range anywhere from $350 to over $1,000, depending on the bathtub's style, material, and size. For example, if you have a bathtub that's attached to a large shower area, you may find yourself paying more for the paint job, as there's more area to cover. Acrylic bathtubs or are the easiest to paint and are usually the least expensive.

Fiberglass bathtubs may need additional re-glazing work, which can add extra hours to the project--and extra costs. Cast iron bathtubs tend to cost more to repair and paint, and they typically start at $400 for a paint job. However, if you don't mind a bit of a challenge, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars by painting your bathtub yourself instead of hiring a pro.

How long does bathtub paint last?

A good bathtub paint job can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years, given that the tub is maintained during this time with regular cleaning and surface repairs. So if you are looking to preserve the life of your bathtub, giving it a good paint job is a good way to do it.

Wrapping Things Up

We hope that this post has provided you with a thorough outline of how to paint your bathtub properly. Remember, a good paint job starts with a good prep job.

Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

7 Of The Best Bathroom Sink Brands

Should You Waterproof A Bathroom Floor