How to Repair a Porcelain Finish


Porcelain is a tough material, making it an ideal selection for toilets, sinks, tubs and similar applications throughout the home. Though it resists stains and small damage, it will easily crack and show scratches under pressure, leaving your surface looking far less than its best. To return the porcelain finish to its best looks, repair damage and restore the finish with a good cleaning and shine.

Things You'll Need

  • Rags and cloths
  • Mineral spirits
  • Filler putty
  • Putty knife or trowel
  • Sandpaper
  • Auto compound
  • Car wax
  • Dampen a rag in mineral spirits solvent cleaner and wipe down the entire surface to remove dirt, dust, grease, oil and wax. Scrub if necessary to remove stains, but do not use abrasives like steel wool, as these will cause scratches in the porcelain surface.

  • Inspect the surface for chips or scratches larger than 1/8 inch. If you find any, gently scrub out the area to make sure there are no small porcelain pieces left in the damaged area. For proper repair, the damage must be completely clean.

  • Fill in the damaged areas with fiberglass or porcelain filler putty, available through hardware and home improvement stores. Use a putty knife or pointed trowel to work the putty into the damaged area, and then scrape the flat area across the surface to bring the putty even with the surrounding tub. Fill in all damage and allow the filler to dry completely before continuing. Your specific product will provide an estimated drying time, which can range from one hour to overnight.

  • Lightly wet sand the repair work with ultrafine sandpaper to eliminate bumps or rough spots and make sure it is flush with the rest of the tub. Do not sand the porcelain itself, if at all possible, as it will cause small scratches in the porcelain. Wipe down the surface with a tack cloth before continuing.

  • Buff the entire tub surface with a terry cloth or soft foam pad and auto compound, working in a circular motion to remove small scratches from the tub. Wipe off excess compound with a clean rag when the surface feels smooth and you can no longer see any small scratches.

  • Polish the porcelain with a terry cloth and car wax. Again, work in small circles across the surface, adding shine back to the porcelain. Buff until all haze is removed and the porcelain finish shines.

Tips & Warnings

  • After repair but before polishing, you can paint your porcelain to a new color or use the same color to revitalize the old finish. This generally involves a thick enamel paint applied with a paint gun.
  • Drying time for filler putty will also vary by temperature and humidity in your home. If you are unsure about whether it is dry, lightly scrape your trowel across the surface. if you can still make an indentation in the putty, it needs to continue to dry. If the surface is hard, you can continue.

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