If your bathtub is chipped and stained, replacing it will give your bathroom a fresher look. However, replacing the tub is an expensive project and one you may not be ready to afford. An alternative is to refinish your tub so it looks better for a few more years. A bathtub refinishing service can do a professional job but there are also refinishing kits available for the DIY homeowner. Here are some tips to make your bathtub refinishing project more successful if you go that route.
1. Make safety and cleanup a priority.
Refinishing a tub is a messy and potentially dangerous project. Have the following items handy so that you can keep yourself safe and minimize the cleanup you'll have to do:
- Buy a commercial respirator so you that won't breathe in dust and paint fumes while working on the tub.
- Always use eye protection when refinishing the tub. Full goggles offer more protection than safety glasses.
- Have an exhaust fan keep the air circulating in the bathroom while you are working and the paint is drying.
- Drape the bathroom surfaces with a plastic drop cloth to keep dust and paint off of them.
- Hang a plastic drop cloth over the bathroom doorway to keep dust from spreading through your house.
2. Remove all obstacles to the paint sticking to the tub surface.
Use a chemical wash made to clean porcelain in order to remove soap scum, body oils, and minerals from the surface of the tub. These materials keep the paint from sticking to the tub properly. If you don't have a thoroughly clean surface when you paint, you'll soon have chipping and peeling.
3. Sand the tub to make the paint adhere better.
Once you've cleaned the tub, sand it first with a coarse sandpaper followed by a fine grit sandpaper. Remove any rust spots and smooth down any places where the paint has started to chip. Even if there are no rust spots or chips, go over the entire tub surface with the fine sandpaper to create a rough surface. This helps the new coat of paint stick.
4. Spray the paint on and sand between coats to get a smoother finish.
You can use a brush to apply the paint, but you'll end up with some brush marks and drips where the paint went on unevenly. To get a showroom finish, use a paint sprayer and sand the tub lightly between coats with extra fine sandpaper.
5. Remove tub fixtures to prevent chipping and peeling.
If you can, remove the metal drain, faucet, and stopper controls so that you can paint right up to the edge of those openings. If you can't remove these components, use a small brush to get the paint as close to the fixtures as you can. These areas are where the new paint could start to peel because the paint won't stick as well to metal fixtures.