Paint Your Bathtub

Before After cover

Paint a tub?  Sounds crazy, right?

Well, I did it!

As with anything, you have to do your research and get the right tools/products.  And with this project, there were A LOT!

I used Rustoleum Tub and Tile to resurface the tub.  It’s a two part epoxy that you paint on the surface of the tub, but before you get to that part, there is a ton of prep work that you have to do.

Here’s a list of materials:

  • Rustoleum Tub and Tile – The best place I’ve found to buy this, is here.  Only $24.25 per kit… I bought 2, but if I hadn’t had to patch anything (more on that later), I could have just gotten 1. They even have the touch up kits, so if you get a chip, or see a place that didn’t get as much coverage, you can fix it quickly without buying and mixing a whole new kit.
  • Patching Compound if you have chips or cracks, I used Bondo.
  • Bleach
  • Comet
  • Lime-A-Way
  • #400/600 grit wet/dry sandpaper
  • Respirator – not just a mask, you need a full blown respirator, because… the fumes are awful!  I bought this one and it was fabulous, I didn’t smell ANYTHING until I took it off!
  • Foam roller/ paint tray
  • Foam craft paint brush
  • Small bucket

The tub at the flip house had chips all in the surface.

tub before

chips

Apparently someone had resurfaced the tub in the past and it looked like they had not done all of the prep work… or else they beat the sides and bottom with log chains or something.  So, the first step is to give the tub an initial cleaning then fix those chips.

Step 1:  Fix any chips/cracks

Like I said before, I used Bondo.  The box says you can also use liquid steel…but I had never heard of that, and I had Bondo at home.  If it works on a car, it should work on a tub, right?

bondo tub

Here’s what I learned from Bondo.

  1. When you spread it on, spread it lightly.  You are going to have to sand off the excess and the more there is, the harder it will be to remove it.
  2. Mix only what you can spread in about 3 minutes.  This stuff hardens FAST!
  3. It says you can sand after 20-30 minutes.  What it should say is “You’re butt had better be sanding at the 20 minute mark.”  I made the mistake of sitting down and eating some tacos while waiting… went over my 20 minute mark and had to scrub so hard with the sandpaper, my arms felt like Jello!

You know you’ve got it right when you can rub your hand over the tub surface, with your eyes closed, and not feel any chips.

Step 2:  Follow the cleaning steps on the box…Exactly!

Don’t skip any steps, you need each one to make sure that the epoxy adheres the way it should.

Here’s what the box says about cleaning:

  1. Remove any mildew with a solution of bleach and water. Rinse thoroughly. Scrub surface with an abrasive cleanser like Comet ®.
  2. Surface Preparation: Remove all calk. Wipe area clean. Prepare surface with an abrasive pad and Lime-A-Way ®, rinse and repeat if necessary. Sand surface with #400/600 grit wet/dry sandpaper. Rinse away residue. Allow surface to dry. Wipe with a tack cloth immediately before painting to remove dust.

Once these steps are complete, you’ll probably need a nap!  But then, it’s time for the magic to happen!

Step 3:  Put on your mask and let’s paint!

Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate!  Turn on fans, open windows… anything you can do.  I also wouldn’t want any kiddos or pets in the house either, unless they are on a different floor or something.

Make sure your respirator is on.

mask on

Don’t I look pretty epoxying?…uggh… mornings!  haha.

You’ll mix the 2 part epoxy together (I did this outside in case I spilled anything).  The can says you can add the smaller can to the bigger one, but there isn’t much room to stir if you do that.  So I used a small bucket and poured my 2 parts in there.

supplies

bucket mix

First, I went around all of the faucets, soap dish, outside walls, etc with a small foam brush.  I decided to do the tile as well even though it was white already.  I wanted the tub and the tile to be the exact same color.  No need to worry about the grout around the tile, you just epoxy that too!

The box says you can use a sprayer to apply the epoxy, which would probably give it an awesome finish… but how would you make sure you didn’t get it all over the walls?  Too much room for error there, so after cutting in with my craft brush, I used a high density 4″ foam roller.

roller

I bought a 12 pack of these and was glad I did, because after a little while they start to come a part. With the box of spares, I was able to toss the old and put on a new one. You’ll also want to change it out before the 2nd coat.

Here’s how my tub looked after 1 coat. You can still see the Bondo peeking through. Honestly, I was a bit nervous here because it didn’t really look good at all.

1st coat

Here’s how it looked after 2.

2nd coat

The 2nd coat really did wonders and if I didn’t have that red Bondo underneath where I had to fix the chips, I would have been good here.  You can’t really see it in the pictures, but you could very faintly still see where I had patched.  I ended up calling it a day, then coming back the next day and doing a 3rd coat with my 2nd box of the epoxy.

Be sure to let the epoxy dry for 3 days before running any water in there. I also waited to put the fixtures back on as well.

Here it is! Well.. before the new fixtures.

final2

It looks like a brand spankin’ new tub!  I love this stuff!

What I learned:

  • The epoxy is self leveling, so paint an area then move on.  Little bubbles may form, but they’ll level out.
  • Make sure you don’t have any drips.  If those dry, they won’t be obvious, but you’ll definitely be able to see them in certain light.
  • Buy the touch up kit.  Even after 3 coats… I still missed one little area.  The touch up kit was perfect for that!

Do you have a tub that needs a facelift?  I have a burgundy 2 person jacuzzi tub in my master bathroom (note:  It was in the house when we bought it… I did not pick this tub color out), that I’d love to use this stuff on… but it would probably take 10 coats.  What I’d really like is to rip that out and make it a huge walk in shower… hmmm…

Ok… one last before and after!

Before After1

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Comments

  1. Brenda Parker says:

    I have heard that this doesn’t last, but I want to redo the inside of a ball and claw tub. Has anyone had any experience with it being on a tub or sink for a long period of time.

    • Mrs. Do It Herself says:

      Hi Brenda, if the prep is done exactly as the directions say (and maybe even a little better), then this can last for several years. If you are looking for a permanent solution and you have the $$ then you’ll want to hire a professional resurfacing company. This tub had been resurfaced in the past (I saw the drip marks that the last person messed up on), so it can be done over no problem if needed. Hope this helps!

  2. This definitely lasts, and I’ll bet it won’t take more than three coats on burgundy (maybe four, just because of the red in the burgundy). We did a 70s bright blue tub and tile surround and it would only have taken two coats if we had known how to do it the right way the first time. 😉

    • Mrs. Do It Herself says:

      That’s what I’m hoping! I bought 3 kits just in case, haha. It makes you wonder what people were thinking with burgundy and bright blue, right?!

      • I’m curious how this turned out. I have a two person jacuzzi tub in PINK and have thought about painting it but wasn’t sure how it would turn out.

        • It the BEST thing we’ve ever done in our house. Sometimes I go in and pull back the shower curtain just to look at it, because I’m in awe of how good it looks!! A bright blue tub and tile surround is all clean and sparkly white now, and it’s been two years. Not one chip or scratch. As an aside, make sure you turn off the lights if you leave the window open the night you paint it… We had no-see-ums stuck to the paint all over the tub!!! We sanded and thankfully this was before the third coat so they all came off and it looks great now.

        • Mrs. Do It Herself says:

          Mine is as well Sabrina. 2 person Jacuzzi tub. I have purchased the kits but haven’t done it yet. I’m waiting for a warmer day, because I know I’ll have to keep the windows open! The way I see it… it surely can’t be worse than the giant pink blob it is now!