Cover over bathtub scratches?
March 7, 2011 6:29 PM   Subscribe

I'm in an apartment with a white bathtub that has some scratches (or maybe burns? they look dark brown) that reveal the underlying bronze-looking metal. Is there any really simple cheap way to cover over those scratches (other than a bathtub mat)? Perhaps some kind of simple "white-out" like spray that would do the job?
posted by shivohum to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Any reasonably well-stocked hardware store should have bathtub touch-up enamel. This is a little kit of two vials of liquid--one color-matched to your tub enamel, the other clear.

You'll need to prep your bathtub well first, get it really, really clean. Tilex or something should do it. If the scratches have resulted in rust stains on the enamel nearby you should get rid of those too, first. There are some cleaning products that do that specifically (can't remember trade names now--ask the hardware store folks.)

The actual patch enamel is easy to use. Mix equal volumes of the clear stuff and the colored stuff, then brush into the scratch. Typically there's a little brush in the kit, akin to a nail polish brush. Be careful and do a good job, try to get a smooth application, because lumps stick around--though they won't be as noticeable as discolored scratches.

The enamel is pretty hardy and long lasting. We fixed some chips in a tub several years ago and I think it's still holding on pretty well (the place is now a rental and we don't get in to look at the tub floor very often.

Good luck!
posted by Sublimity at 6:35 PM on March 7, 2011

"can't remember trade names now"

CLR works well.
posted by stubby phillips at 6:37 PM on March 7, 2011

That's it! I knew it was a bunch of letters. Thanks, stubby.
posted by Sublimity at 7:09 PM on March 7, 2011

Last ditch product for cleaning up old bathtubs when CLR doesn't do the trick? A VERY light wiping with Mr Clean Magic Eraser. Most old house renovators know this one.
posted by jeanmari at 7:27 PM on March 7, 2011

Best answer: Epoxy-based two-part repair is a bit pricey. If you're looking for a cheap fix then a small tin of oil-based white gloss enamel is much less expensive. It won't last as long as the epoxy, but is good for quite a while - years, if you don't use a scouring cleaner.
posted by anadem at 9:16 PM on March 7, 2011

Just an FYI (that might not be relevant based on the age of the tub):
Some older tubs, when the finish is broken in some way, will leech lead. $15 will buy you a box of instant-result test swabs to check. If children or potentially pregnant women will be having a soak in this tub, it might be a good idea to check . . .
posted by MeiraV at 10:16 AM on March 8, 2011

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