How to Repair a Porcelain Tub

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If you are a student who is ready to move on, the question of last month’s rent and the return of the security deposit from the landlord is always an iffy topic. This is especially true if you and your roommates were perhaps not as careful with the rental as you could have been—particularly with the bathroom and the tub. It is dented, scratched, pockmarked, and scraped, but replacing it with a new tub would put a significant drain on your moving budget. You now face some serious DIY projects to make the place habitable for the next tenant. The solution is uncomplicated: learn how to repair a porcelain tub. It is simple, quick, promises results that will have your tub looking like new and best of all, it is cheap. Follow these basic steps and you are on your way to a newer, prettier porcelain tub at a fraction of the price that a new tub would have cost.

Things You'll Need

  • Internet access
  • Professional refinishing/porcelain repair kit
  • Acetone
  • Paper towel
  • Latex gloves

How to Repair a Porcelain Tub

  • Determine the color of your porcelain tub. In some cases this is an easy task while in other cases this may be a rather difficult chore. Contact manufacturers of professional porcelain tub refinishing kits for a color match. You may do so using email. If you cannot make a positive match, consider refinishing the entire tub rather than just repairing the chips or scratches.

  • Purchase a professional refinishing/repair kit. Remember that the kits sold in stores generally lack strength when it comes to bonding the product to the tub. Be choosey and spend your money only on a product that certifies its professional strength and applications.

  • Clean the bathtub and remove any soap scum, debris, or other buildup of matter that may cause the adhesive and coloring agents not to stick well to the surface.

  • Spot clean with acetone the areas which need to be repaired. Pour a bit of the substance on a piece of paper towel and gently rub it over the surface. This ensures maximum adhesiveness of the bonding materials. If you do not have pure acetone on hand, nail polish remover will do.

  • Open the windows in the bathroom. It is crucial to have good ventilation when working with bonding agents and paints. Since bathrooms are usually some of the smallest spaces within the home, failure to ensure proper airflow may result in dizziness, fainting, and breathing problems.

  • Read all of the instructions the manufacturer includes with the kit. Compile all the items ahead of time you foresee needing . As you are working on repairing your porcelain tub, some steps will need to be taken in rapid progression and having to first search for an item can greatly decrease the effectiveness of some of the exposed chemicals.

  • Start your actual repair work early in the day to allow for the drying times. This will allow you to finish the entire process in one day. Starting too late may cause you to not get done until the next day.

Tips & Warnings

  • Prep work is of the utmost importance. Skimp here, and the odds are good that you will have a tub where you can tell exactly where the scratches, dents, and nicks used to be.
  • Follow the instructions for the aftercare of your repaired porcelain tub. Usually this requires you to refrain from using drain cleaner, bleach, and scrub pads.
  • Do not smoke while you are repairing your porcelain tub with a professional refinishing kit. The fumes—even with proper ventilation—still may ignite in the presence of an open flame!
  • Do not neglect to read the instructions that come with your kit. Different manufacturers use dissimilar bonding materials that need to be treated according to their own specific properties. Failure to follow brand specific directions is going to cost you time and money as you need to purchase more of the product and most likely need to redo the entire project.

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  • Photo Credit Morguefile.com/Dawn M. Turner
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