How to paint a bath tub?
September 5, 2007 6:47 AM   Subscribe

Does anybody have experience with painting a bath tub? I heard about using the plastic krylon spray paint that you can buy at wal-mart which is supposed to bond to acrylic, I'm wondering if anybody has tried this? How about using a refinishing kit?
posted by ets960 to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have experience with painted bath tub. When we bought our house, the tub was pristine. Within a month or so, long strips of paint were peeling off. It'd be better, of course, for it to all peel off--now we have a stripey, ugly-ass tub. I don't know what product was used, could've been regular latex paint, for all I know, but it looks awful.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:18 AM on September 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

I've known a few people that have tried this, and they were always disappointed with the results. Hire a professional tub refinisher.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 7:20 AM on September 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

You could probably do it yourself if you've already got a compressor, spray system, orbital sander and familiarity with auto-body paints, but I wouldn't bother.

The DIY tub refinishing products are mostly (IMHO) intended to spruce up a tub prior to selling the house. I wish the DIY systems worked long-term, I really do, but they don't seem to hold up. Nobody I know that's done it themselves has been pleased.

Serious refinishing generally requires hideous chemicals, which means hiring professionals (or becoming a near-professional yourself). It's usually easier to just buy a new tub, unless there's some reason why you can't.
posted by aramaic at 7:34 AM on September 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

Check out this product: Tough as Tile . It is fantastic. There are two formulas, one that you paint on, and one that you spray. It comes as a white base, but you can tint it any color you want. I used to to refinish a 40 year old tub that had all of the original finish worn off and it has stayed perfect for over two years.
posted by rollo tomassi at 7:46 AM on September 5, 2007

I'm with MrMoon Pie on this one. Call up a professional re-glazer and get a quote before you do anything else - the quality is impressive and the price not unreasonable. It's downright cheap when you consider the longevity of it.
posted by phearlez at 8:29 AM on September 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

I used Tubby to refinish my cast iron, porcelain glazed tub about 4 years ago. Still looks awesome. Never clean with abrasive cleaners.
posted by jdfan at 8:49 AM on September 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

We looked at doing this. However, the use of solvents and sanding was going to be onerous. We opted to hire a tub refinisher. We were unable to remove our old tub, due to a concrete floor in a concrete building. I think I asked a tub refinishing question here at the time. Not sure where it is now, though.
posted by acoutu at 9:34 AM on September 5, 2007

We were told that if we were to refinish our tub, we'd have to "treat it like the hood of our car" - no abrasive cleaners, no washing our yellow labrador in the tub (because he'd leave claw marks) - in short, it's not very durable and you have to be really careful with it.
posted by Ostara at 11:48 AM on September 5, 2007

It's here, acoutu.
posted by hermitosis at 12:17 PM on September 5, 2007

Best answer: Oh so that's what that they use! The last two landlords have used it. One to the porcelain kitchen sink (exposed to nothing but the usual hot water and dish soap, it bubbled almost immediately and had peeled off completed within 12-18 mos). The other landlord had it professionally applied to the fiberglass shower (after a year, bubbled everywhere along the bottom of the tub where hot water typically makes a direct hit; shampoo, soap, bath bubbles, and "scrubbing bubbles" are all it's ever been exposed to). All of my neighbors, who had their showers also "professionally" refinished with the paint, have mentioned similar problems. Boy do you have to baby it.

It's gross to always have a thick film of soap scum because it can't be scrubbed properly (at all), and and can't withstand extended exposure to mere hot water, much less a weekly spritz of bathroom cleanser. It's annoying to not be able to use exfoliating body wash because the tub "finish" peels when it's exposed to any grit whatsoever. The paint also seems to absorb stains that you'd normally be able to wipe away with nothing but a damp paper towel.

If you do it, know that it's (a) it's not watertight, (b) is inconvenient, and (c) quickly starts to crappy. To make it usefuly, you probably need to plan to strip it (because it will no longer be paintable without) and re-apply annually.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 1:45 PM on September 5, 2007

I nth not doing mom used some form of that stuff to refinish the bathtub in our old house before renting it out. It was peeling off before the new people even moved in. It just doesn't seem to work very well.
posted by catatethebird at 1:54 PM on September 5, 2007

Response by poster: Looks like I might just try to clean it really well... The only issue I experience is that dirt seems to stick to the bottom, but with a little bleach it comes back clear. Thanks for your insight!
posted by ets960 at 2:00 PM on September 5, 2007

Oh man, do not do this. It looks like crap.
posted by unknowncommand at 2:25 PM on September 5, 2007

Oh, and Home Depot told me that if you do the refinishing yourself, you should let it cure for a *month* before running any water in it. Plus what NakedCodeMonkey said.
posted by acoutu at 2:45 PM on September 5, 2007

Don't do it! My landlord did it to our bath tub AND shower. At first, I thought, "Oh wow, the tub and shower are so clean and white!" Upon further inspection, I noticed that the painter had painted over flecks of dust, dirt, etc. instead of thouroughly cleaning it first.

The landlord "bragged" that it was some type of auto paint. It's the worst in the bath tub because when you try to run a bath, you end up with a tub full of water that smells like car paint.
posted by nakedsushi at 4:55 PM on September 5, 2007

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