Removing and replacing a bathtub is a labor-intensive and time-consuming task. If you hire a professional, this project can be quite costly. Many homeowners elect to refinish their tubs to save time and money. Refinishing a bathtub is not an easy process; however, but with the right tools and knowledge, you can accomplish this task in the span of an afternoon.
Proper preparation is an essential component of a bathtub refinishing job. All bathtub surfaces must be free of dirt and soap scum. If you have an older bathtub, you may need to apply a chemical cleaner several times before the soap scum is completely dissolved. Thorough cleaning will allow the bonding agent to more effectively bond with the surface of your bathtub.
Once the bathtub surface is completely clean, rinse and dry the bathtub.
Sanding the bathtub roughs up the surface, allowing the refinishing epoxy to adhere to the existing enamel. It also helps eliminate bumps and scratches that will telegraph through the new finish. Use a vibrating palm sander to complete this task. Sand in a circular motion to achieve an even surface. Once sanding is complete, use a hand-held vacuum to remove dust from the surface of the bathtub.
Save time by taping over surfaces that you do not want painted. This keeps you from having to remove the faucet, drain, soap holder and other fixtures. For larger surfaces, simply cut and tape newsprint or other inexpensive paper. Use a utility knife to trim tape around circular and oddly shaped fixtures.
The bonding adhesive allows the epoxy to adhere to the existing enamel. Wear cleaning gloves when applying bonding adhesive to prevent skin irritation. You can use a spray bottle, cheesecloth or even paper towels to apply the adhesive. Cover all surfaces that you want to refinish. Open the bathroom windows and place a fan facing away from the bathtub to reduce harmful fumes. Always wear a protective mask or respirator when applying bonding adhesive and epoxy.
Choose an acrylic polymer epoxy with a gloss finish. Load the epoxy into the paint pot of a sprayer to save time and achieve a smoother coat. Spray in a back-and-forth motion, releasing the paint gun trigger each time you reach the edge of the surface. This technique will help prevent overspraying, so you won't end up with paint drips. Spray two coats to provide even greater protection for your bathtub surface. Allow the finish to dry for 24 to 48 hours before using your bathtub.