Epoxy paint can be applied to tubs and showers to change their color so they fit more seamlessly into a renovated or reimagined bathroom. When done properly, epoxy paint should last for many years on your tub or shower. However, bathroom fixtures go through a significant amount of stress, and the added effects of improper applications can leave epoxy peeling or flaking off. Fortunately, you should be able to remove epoxy paint from your shower and restore its original fiberglass surface.
You can remove epoxy paint from a bathtub if it was done wrong by applying paint stripper and using a scraper. Some homeowners also use CitriStrip for a more natural removal, though its effectiveness has been debated.
Important Safety Considerations
As tubs and showers can be slippery and pose a great trip and fall hazard, take care not to undertake any projects while they are still wet. The same goes for the floor surrounding your tub or shower. If using a stool or ladder, be sure that its feet are resting evenly on a flat surface. You'll also want to verify that the feet are not pressing down unsafely on the center of a tub, which can be raised or curved and may create an unsafe pressure point that could cause a crack.
Removing epoxy paint requires the use of harsh chemicals that can be detrimental to your health. If you decide you wish to proceed with this project, be sure that all doors and windows are open while you work. If you have an exhaust fan in your bathroom, turn it on.
Wear gloves, goggles and a respirator to protect yourself while you work. You also should consider wearing long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and socks to guard your skin against splashes. Some DIYers, like Scott Sidler from the Craftsman Blog, suggest that CitriStrip can remove epoxy paint, which is a more natural option. This may or may not work, depending on how thick the paint is on your tub and how well it was applied, however, and Sidler notes that CitriStrip sometimes is less effective than true paint stripper.
Removing Epoxy From a Shower
To begin removing epoxy from your shower, you'll need to purchase paint stripper. Use an old plastic storage container or jar to mix the paint stripped with sawdust or sand until it forms a paste. Then, apply a thick layer (as much as 1/2 inch thick) to the entire tub. Allow this substance to sit on the surface for at least a half-hour, during which time you should relocate.
Return to the bathroom and use a paint scraper to remove the paste and the paint beneath. Keep a trash bag on hand for depositing the paste and paint.
Once you've finished clearing the walls, wipe them down thoroughly with a wet rag. Inspect the area and verify there is no more paint to be removed. If there is additional paint that must be stripped, repeat the process with the paint stripper.
Cleaning Up the Project
When you are satisfied that the tub and surroundings are rid of the epoxy paint, scrub the entire area thoroughly with a brush or rough sponge. You will need to clean the area extremely well using both water and bathroom cleaner but use water first to rid the surface of paint stripping chemicals.
Once the tub is clean, you should visually inspect it to be sure no lingering paint, paste or cleaners remain. For the sake of your health, it's essential that the tub be clean and the room well-ventilated before you restore it to use.
You will need to mix your paint stripper with sawdust until it is no longer liquid before disposing of it, explains Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful. Check with your local authorities about the legalities of throwing away paint stripper. In many instances, you cannot just dump it in your trash bin, but must instead bring it to a hazardous waste disposal site.
Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing (www.wordsmythcontent.com), and she enjoys writing home and DIY articles and blogs for clients in a variety of related industries. She also runs her own lifestyle blog, Sweet Frivolity (www.sweetfrivolity.com).