What are the Best Tips for Painting a Bathtub?

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  • Written By: Dana DeCecco
  • Edited By: Amanda L. Wardle
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2019
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Painting a bathtub may be a do-it-yourself homeowner project, but patience and focus will be required to do a nice job. The products available for bathtub painting come with detailed instructions for mixing and application. A clean tub and work environment are a must to achieve a smooth, uniform, and well bonded finish. The process should not be rushed, and extreme care should be taken to follow the directions provided with the product. Painting a bathtub generally takes more than one day and is not an easy or quick task.

The bathtub must be absolutely clean and free of and dirt or foreign substance before painting begins. The use of cleaning chemicals and abrasive pads is recommended to ensure that all dirt is removed. It is advisable to remove chrome and metal fixtures if at all possible. If old fixtures cannot be removed, they should be carefully covered with a good quality masking tape. The bathroom area should also be clean, dust free, and, if at all possible, unused for the duration of the project.


Once the tub is clean and dry, the entire surface should be sanded by hand or using a light duty electric sander. Fine grit sandpaper or steel wool should be used to scuff the surface, removing any remaining dirt and etching the surface for bonding purposes. This step is very important since the new finish will bond better to a surface that has been scuffed. The tub should be thoroughly cleaned again with alcohol to remove all the sanding grit.

When painting a bathtub, it is advisable to remove all dust from the surface and work area. A tack cloth or a clean, soft rag soaked in alcohol will work for this purpose. If chips need to be repaired, a suitable epoxy filler should be available from a local hardware store. Instructions should be followed carefully, and the patch should be allowed to set up for the proper length of time. Multiple coats of filler may be required.

Once patching, cleaning, and drying are completed, the next step will be the application of a primer. Most bathtub painting kits will include the right kind of primer for the surface and finish that will be applied. Painting experts may also offer advice on appropriate primer when the material is not included in a kit.

After the primer coat is thoroughly dry, a top coat may be applied. The epoxy paint must be mixed according to instructions, and the proper brush or roller should be handy. The application method is generally provided on the instructions and must be followed for best results. Adequate ventilation is advisable, since this paint may contain strong chemicals. Several coats of the epoxy finish may be required depending on the color change and clarity of finish desired.

The epoxy product must cure between each coat; as a result, it may take a period of several days to complete this process. Because dust and dirt in the air may ruin the finish, special care should be taken to keep the working area as clean and free of debris as possible throughout. Painting a bathtub involves a series of procedures that must be done one at a time, so each step is important in achieving a professional result.


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