How to Refinish Porcelain and Reglaze a Tub

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Older bathtubs that are worn and riddled with scratches can be refinished and glazed. It is a process that requires patience, but it can be accomplished if you have the appropriate tools. Make sure to properly prepare your tub before you add the bathtub glaze.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic drop cloth or plastic bags
  • Crepe masking tape (frog tape)
  • Porcelain patching material (body filler)
  • Razor blade or caulking knife
  • Industrial-strength cleaner
  • Sandpaper (120-grit)
  • Palm sander
  • Hydrofluoric acid
  • Rubber gloves
  • Bucket
  • Epoxy product primer
  • 1/4-inch nap roller
  • Vacuum
  • High-volume, low-pressure sprayer (HVLP)
  • Porcelain or bathtub glaze
  • Caulking
  • Tack cloth

Glazing the Bathtub

  • Remove all plumbing fixtures (faucet, shower head and drain), shower curtains and soap holders from around the tub. Open a window if you have one in your bathroom; if you do not, obtain a ventilation system.

  • Cover all exposed fixtures that cannot be removed with a plastic drop cloth and plastic bags. Tape the plastic over the surfaces to prevent any glaze from dripping on them.

  • Scrape or cut off the caulking around your tub with a razor blade or caulking knife. If you have a bathtub that sits up against tile, use a plastic drop cloth to cover the tile. Tape with the frog tape; be careful not to overlap onto the porcelain.

  • Clean the bathtub with the industrial-strength cleaner. Be sure to completely rinse the tub to remove any cleaner residue. This should take a few rinses--use a bucket because you removed the faucet. Dry the tub completely. Sand any imperfections out of the tub, which may appear as calcium buildup or water stains. Take the tack cloth and lift up any residual dust from the sanding; use the vacuum to assist in this process.

  • Put on rubber gloves and spray the tub with the hydrofluoric acid, letting it stand for 10 minutes. Rinse with water to completely remove the acid. Allow it to dry. Use the porcelain patching material and fill in any cracks or divots on the surface of the tub. Allow the patch to dry completely based on the patching material instructions. Sand to a smooth surface once again. Vacuum and use the tack cloth to remove any dust.

  • Apply the primer to the surface of the tub with a roller. Follow the instructions and allow the primer to dry. Once dry, use the HVLP sprayer to apply the porcelain glaze according to its instructions. The glaze will need at least 48 hours to dry. Once dry, remove the plastic tape and apply caulking to the places where you removed it. Replace all fixtures.

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