How to Repair or Refurbish a Bathtub


It is psychologically counterproductive to get cleaned up in a bathtub that looks old and dirty. On the other hand, repairing or refurbishing a tub is far less expensive than buying a new one and paying someone to install it. Bathtubs are made from many different materials, but the majority are ceramic. As is the case with most paint projects, the secret is to properly prepare the bathtub's surface before applying the paint.

Things You'll Need

  • Bathroom cleaner
  • Steel wool
  • Epoxy
  • Polyester filler
  • Sandpaper
  • Sponge
  • Painter's tape
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Sealer
  • Thoroughly clean your tub with a bathroom (or tub) cleaner.

  • Remove any pieces of caulk or chipped paint with a steel wool pad. Sand over those areas.

  • Apply a chemical adhesive to the damaged areas of the tub. Epoxy is often used to help the filler stick to the tub.

  • Fill in any damaged areas where paint was chipped and cracked with polyester filler (or putty). Allow the filler to dry for at least an hour. Lightly sand over the areas where you applied putty until the surface feels smooth to the touch.

  • Remove any dirt and debris from the tub. Sponge down the tub with warm water. Sponge with vigor to remove any left over chemicals from the cleaner and chemical adhesive. Rinse out the tub. Dry the tub with paper towels or cloths.

  • Place painter's tape on the areas you don't want to come into contact with the paint. Apply a coat of paint primer to the tub. Examples of bathtub primers and paints can be found in the Resources section.

  • Paint the tub with the bathtub paint. Spray the bathtub with long and even passes over the surface. Allow the paint to dry for an hour. Apply a second coat of paint.

  • After the paint has thoroughly dried, seal the tub with a ceramic sealer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try not to use your bathtub for at least two days after painting, if possible. A good time to refinish your tub is right before you go on vacation.
  • You can also apply the paint with a roller.
  • Beware of fumes. Always wear rubber gloves and a respirator with organic-vapor filter cartridges when working with the primer and paint.
  • It can be very difficult to match up paint with the color of your paint. Try testing several colors on a tiny part of the tub until you are satisfied with how the colors match.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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