How to Paint a Fiberglass Tub or Shower

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Things You'll Need

  • TSP (Trisodium phosphate)

  • Bucket, sponge, warm water

  • Old cloth towel or paper towels

  • Caulking removal tool (or old flat blade screw driver)

  • Isopropyl alcohol

  • 300 or 320 grit sandpaper or fine steel wool

  • Drop cloths for the floor and surrounding areas

  • Latex primer

  • Paint brushes

  • Epoxy paint (available at paint stores, some home stores and marine supply stores)

  • Silicon bathtub caulking

Tip

If you have a glass shower door it's a good idea to remove it totally and give yourself room to work. This also gives you a great opportunity to give the door a thorough cleaning. Some epoxy paints are available which can be applied with a brush. However, you will have a difficult time getting a smooth, even surface when using a brush. A spray gun or aerosol cans will give the best looking finish.

Warning

Wear a breathing mask and use a fan to provide good ventilation in your bathroom when applying the spray paint. You may also want to wear splash goggles to protect your eyes.

How to Paint a Fiberglass Tub or Shower. Ever move into a home or condo that has a tub or shower stall that's perfectly functional, but the color just isn't right? Even worse, when you first move into a new place who has the extra money to replace a bathtub or shower right away? Well here's some good news, you don't need to save all your spare change to build up a "tub replacement fund" for your first year--you can change the color yourself with a little work and some careful preparation. Here's how.

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Step 1

Start by giving your shower or tub a thorough cleaning with TSP and warm water, then dry it completely with an old towel or paper towels. You want to remove all traces of body oils and/or soap residue from the surface.

Step 2

Remove the old caulking around the edges of your tub or shower with the caulking removal tool or screwdriver, then clean the area with Isopropyl alcohol. You need to get rid of all traces of the silicon caulking around the edge of your shower or tub because paint won't stick to silicon caulking.

Step 3

Sand the walls with fine grit sandpaper or fine steel wool to rough up the gelcoat surface of the fiberglass. Only use fine grade sandpaper (like 300 or 320 grit) or fine steel wool so you just rough up the surface to provide a "tooth" for your next steps (you don't want to actually remove the gelcoat).

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Step 4

Give the walls a final wash with clean water to remove all traces of sanding, and once again dry them off, then cover the bathroom floors and surrounding area with drop cloths.

Step 5

Using a paintbrush, apply your latex primer and allow it to dry.

Step 6

Apply your epoxy paint as per manufacturer's directions. You will need to apply at least two coats to get a total color transformation, and the manufacturer may suggest you sand between coats for a smooth finish.

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Step 7

Once the paint has dried thoroughly, install new caulking around the seams of your shower or tub (see link to my article on recaulking in Resources below), and once it has set up (over night is best) you're ready to enjoy your brand new (at least in appearance) bathroom.

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resources