How to Paint a Porcelain Bathtub

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Sand the tub to stimulate surface adhesion.
Sand the tub to stimulate surface adhesion. (Image: sandpapier image by Thomas Aumann from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

While many homeowners choose to replace their old, tarnished-looking porcelain bathtubs, thrifty do-it-yourselfers know they can rejuvenate the look of their tubs by refinishing them with the appropriate kind of paint. If you would like to paint your porcelain bathtub, you will need to employ a specific preparation and application strategy, or you will generate an unattractive finish that will eventually peel. In addition, you must choose the proper type of paint, or the finish will chip over time.

Things You'll Need

  • Trisodium phosphate cleanser
  • Coarse plastic brush
  • Palm sander
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Blue painter's tape
  • Plastic drop cloths
  • Respirator
  • Cans of acrylic latex spray primer
  • Cans of spray appliance epoxy

Clean grime and soap scum from the porcelain bathtub with a trisodium phosphate cleanser, using a coarse brush. Rinse the porcelain bathtub thoroughly, or you will have adhesion problems. Wait one to three hours for the porcelain bathtub to dry.

Abrade the porcelain bathtub to enhance surface adhesion by sanding it with 120-grit sandpaper.

Protect the areas surrounding the cleaned porcelain bathtub with plastic coverings. Tape the coverings in place with a low-tack painter's tape.

Don a respirator.

Apply acrylic latex spray primer to the sanded porcelain bathtub. Wait three hours for the primed porcelain bathtub to dry.

Apply a spray appliance epoxy to the primed porcelain bathtub. Wait a full day before using the tub.

Tips & Warnings

  • Hold the spray primer and paint 8 inches from the bathtub as you apply.
  • Don't use a plain oil-based or acrylic paint on a porcelain bathtub, or the paint will fail.
  • Don't paint over a bare porcelain bathtub, or the finish will fail.
  • Don't prime a porcelain bathtub unless you have sanded it first, or the primer will not adhere.
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