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How to paint a bathtub

A freestanding bathtub

If you don’t want to go to the expense of installing a new bathroom suite, then giving your bathtub a lick of paint is a cost-effective way of breathing new life into your bathroom.

Bathtubs are most commonly made from acrylic and enamel, though can also be made from plastic, steel or porcelain. All of these materials can be subject to scratching and chipping over the years and sometimes their original colour may no longer be fashionable.

However, in order to paint a bathtub, it’s important to choose the right paint. A standard wall paint will simply not be up to the job, so you need to specialise.

Epoxy Paint

An epoxy paint comprises of a resin and hardener which combines to form a really durable, waterproof and solvent resistant coating on anything it’s applied to.

It’s commonly used on concrete floors, such as in a garage, workshop or basement, due to the fact it’s so hardwearing. Importantly, it can also be used for providing a lovely finish on bathtubs as its adhesive qualities means it clings to the surface in a way that wall paints simply can’t do.

When purchasing your epoxy, make sure you read the instructions thoroughly so you know what you’re doing before you apply it to your tub.

The Painting Process

Step 1
If possible, remove everything from your bathtub such as taps, plug holes, shower screens etc…You want to avoid getting epoxy on these fixtures, plus it makes painting the bathtub a much easier task. If it’s not possible to remove everything, use masking tap to protect these sorts of things. Also mask off parts of the wall or other areas that do not require painting.

Step 2
Give your bathtub a thorough cleaning with soapy water and, if the finish is particularly bad, use some sandpaper to smooth off any areas that feel rough to the touch. Ensure the surface is completely dry before proceeding any further.

Step 3
Use a large roller on the main surface of the bath and a small paintbrush for any intricate parts that require extra care. The large roller will ensure a nice even coverage.

Step 4
It’s highly likely you’re going to need to apply a second coat of the epoxy. It’s worth taking the extra time to do this as the job will last longer and you’ll get a better finish. Make sure you follow the instructions given by the manufacturer of the epoxy. They will tell you how long to leave between each coat, how to store the epoxy while you’re waiting and how to clean and store your brushes and rollers. This is an important step and should not be overlooked.

Step 5
Once you’ve applied the second coat, don’t be in a rush to use your bath too soon. Make sure you check the drying time given by the manufacturer and, if possible, double it to ensure that you don’t damage the finish.

After being sure the coating has dried, you can run a bath and enjoy your bathtub again.

Please be aware that painting your bathtub with epoxy is not a permanent fix. Eventually it will start to degrade, however you should get a good few years before this happens and will have saved yourself a large amount of money compared to replacing the whole tub!


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