How to Refinish Bathtubs With Rust-Oleum

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Rust-Oleum Specialty Tub and Tile Kit

  • Flat-head screwdriver

  • Abrasive bathroom cleaner

  • Abrasive pad

  • Bleach

  • Utility knife

  • Isopropyl alcohol

  • #400 wet/dry sandpaper

  • Wooden stir stick

  • Empty paint container

  • Fine-bristle varnish brush

  • Caulk


Clean the new finish with a nonabrasive cleaner, and buff it to a shine with polishing compound if it begins to dull.


Do not use the Rust-Oleum kit on galvanized steel or flexible plastic tubs.

Restore the appearance of your old tub with the Rust-Oleum refinishing kit.

The Rust-Oleum Specialty Tub & Tile Refreshing Kit is a two-part epoxy acrylic finish that, when placed on your existing tub's finish, creates a hard coating with the look of porcelain or ceramic. The mixture is available in three colors — white, almond and biscuit — that you can use to refinish ceramic, porcelain, acrylic, cast iron and fiberglass tubs alike. There's a bit of preparation necessary before application, but after you complete the prep work, the new finish goes on like a coat of paint. Allow the coating to dry, and you're left with a hard finish that will last for years while refreshing the appearance of your old bathtub.

Step 1

Open all of the windows and doors to the bathroom to increase ventilation. The fumes from the Rust-Oleum Specialty Tub and Tile Kit can be hazardous if inhaled for any length of time. Put on a face mask and rubber gloves to avoid both inhalation of fumes and skin contact with the chemicals used in the refinishing process.

Step 2

Cut off the supply of water to the tub from the supply valve, which is located behind the bathtub's access panel. Remove the metal drain from the tub by removing the screws from the cover plate and then lifting the plate from the tub. Remove any tub fixtures, using a screwdriver to remove the screws that secure the fixtures in place and then pulling the fixtures from the tub.

Step 3

Cut out the caulk surrounding the tub, using a utility knife, and wipe away the residue with isopropyl alcohol. Remove any mildew by washing it away with a mixture of equal parts bleach and water. Clean the tub surface, interior and exterior with an abrasive bathroom cleanser and an abrasive pad. Remove all dirt and soap scum from the bathtub's surface with the cleanser, and then rinse the tub thoroughly. Sand the surface of the tub with #400 wet/dry sandpaper to create a textured surface, and then rinse again. Allow 90 minutes of drying time after preparation.

Step 4

Stir the activator and base that came with the kit, using the wooden stir stick, and then mix the two substances. Pour the activator into the base can and stir them together thoroughly. Use a mixing ratio of four parts base to one part activator if the entire kit is not needed, mixing the two in a separate paint container.

Step 5

Apply the mixture to the surface of the tub, using a fine-bristle varnish brush. Brush in even, layered rows, moving in one direction only, taking care not to miss any spots on the bathtub surface and feathering the edges of each row to prevent ridges from developing on the overlaps.

Step 6

Cover the tub with two coatings of the finish. Wait an hour between coats. Allow the coating to dry for 72 hours before you put any water in the tub.

Step 7

Replace the drain and fixtures, and then replace the caulk along the tile edge to prevent water seepage into the walls and floors. Smooth the caulk with moist fingertips, and wait 24 hours for the caulk to dry before using the newly refinished tub.


Larry Simmons

Larry Simmons is a freelance writer and expert in the fusion of computer technology and business. He has a B.S. in economics, an M.S. in information systems, an M.S. in communications technology, as well as significant work towards an M.B.A. in finance. He's published several hundred articles with Demand Studios.