Steps to Refinish a Plastic Tub

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There are several steps to refinish a plastic tub.
Image Credit: Dan Reynolds Photography/Moment/GettyImages

Plastic bathtubs are designed to be particularly durable and long lasting if you take good care of them. But even the most sturdy of materials can start to look old and worn out over time. Scuff marks and staining can lead an older plastic bathtub to look dirty and uninviting, and no amount of cleaning can improve the situation. When this happens, it can be tempting to simply replace your whole plastic tub, but this is expensive and time consuming.

Luckily, as the Bath Business claims, you can refinish your older plastic tub at home. This can be an ideal way to conceal wear and tear and cover old staining. Following the right steps to refinish a plastic tub can help you to achieve the most professional finish.

Prep to Refinish Plastic Tubs

Before you begin your refinishing project, ensure that your tub is as clean as possible. Use a sponge and a bath cleaning product to remove any traces of grease or grime. You'll then want to use a fine sandpaper to sand down your bathtub. This will help even out any larger cracks or scuffs. As US Mobile Home Pros explains, sanding down your plastic bathtub will also roughen up the surface. This gives your new finish something to grip on to, which should help it adhere better and last longer.

You'll then want to wipe down your tub to remove any traces of the sanded surface. After this, dry thoroughly and allow extra time for the moisture to evaporate. Any water left in the tub could prevent the new finish from adhering properly and prevent you from achieving a professional finish.

The final stage of prep work is applying a specific bonding agent to prime your tub. Hawk Research Laboratories claims this is the best way to ensure proper adhesion with your new finish, and it gives a smoother surface to help your paint look more even.

Important Safety Precautions

You must take adequate safety precautions before refinishing a plastic bathtub to protect both yourself and your bathroom from any potential mishaps. Victorian Plumbing recommends that you wear gloves and a face mask during the entire refinishing process.

You'll also want to ensure that the rest of your bathroom is protected. Lay down a floor covering in the event of spills. Use construction tape to cover up any areas of your bath that you don't want to paint. It's also a good idea to use this tape alongside the edges of your bathtub to achieve a clean edge.

Steps to Refinish Plastic Tubs

Once you have your tub fully prepped and have chosen your paint, you can begin refinishing your tub. Miracle Method Surface Refinishing claims that acrylic enamel is the best material for refinishing plastic tubs. Acrylic enamel can come in a spray bottle or a classic paint can. Spraying may give a more even finish, but Bath Shack says it's also more expensive and prone to accidents. You can achieve an even finish using paint and a roller, though it can be more time consuming.

Apply an even layer of paint to the entirety of your plastic tub and leave it to dry. Once it has dried, you can see whether it may benefit from a second layer. Once you're happy with the coverage, finish with a polyurethane topcoat. According to Resurface Coatings, this can help ensure your bathtub is more durable and keep your paint color looking fresher for longer.

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Annie Walton Doyle is a freelance writer based in Manchester, UK. Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Daily Telegraph, Professional Photography Magazine, Bustle, Ravishly and more. When not writing, she enjoys pubs, knitting, nature and mysteries.

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