What Kind of Paint Can You Use on Bathtubs?

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Different paints are good for different types of bathtubs.
Image Credit: whyframestudio/iStock/GettyImages

When an older bathtub begins to look dingy with age, you may decide that it's time to replace the tub entirely, but this may be an unnecessary renovation, wasting money and time. Painting a bathtub can help restore it to its original finish, and this can be done as a do-it-yourself project.

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If you want to make sure your bathtub renovation looks as professional as possible, you need to properly research the process beforehand. Following the right steps to achieve an even, opaque coating of paint is essential, but perhaps even more important is knowing what kind of paint you can use on bathtubs.

You'll want to take into account the properties of your desired paint along with what your tub is made from when choosing your bathtub refinishing products. Following the correct prep work and application process can also help to ensure that your results are aesthetically appealing and functional too.

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Tip

When choosing the paint for your bathtub, consider its composition, suitable paint options and the correct application technique. Epoxy acrylic paint is a common option.

Your Bathtub Material

Your bathtub is an area that requires extremely specific paint. The paint must be totally waterproof and resistant to the usual cleaning products used in the area. You must also look for paint that's designed to adhere to your bathtub's surface properly. Bathtub paint should be durable, water-resistant and specifically chosen with your bathtub in mind.

The best bathtub materials for painting are cast iron and acrylic, though you can paint fiberglass bathtubs too. Knowing what your bathtub is made from is key to finding the right paint for the job. Before you begin any bathtub refinishing job, make sure the paint you've chosen specifically says it's suitable for your bathtub's surface.

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Different Paint Options

Bathtub refinishing kits are a popular choice when it comes to painting a bathtub. Many of these kits contain everything that's needed to achieve a professional finish. The epoxy acrylic paint formula is designed to look like a porcelain coating and can be used on a wide range of bathtub materials.

If you can find epoxy acrylic paint outside of a kit, you can purchase it separately. If you choose to go this route, though, you'll also need a bonding agent to use as a primer. Your new bathtub coating should be applied with a small roller for an even and streak-free finish. Use a small foam brush for applying paint to hard-to-reach spots.

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Proper Application Technique

Along with choosing the correct paint for finishing a bathtub, you must also ensure that you follow the correct application technique. Use a bathroom cleanser and an abrasive sponge to first clean the entire surface, as any dirt can interfere with your paint job.

Sandpaper should then be used to roughen the bathtub's surface. Make sure you wear a dust mask to protect your lungs and thoroughly rinse and wipe down your bathtub afterward.

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When painting your tub, use two thin layers rather than one thick layer. Allow adequate time to dry between layers and make sure to give your tub at least three days after refinishing before using it again.

Extra Safety Precautions

When refinishing a tub, make sure you protect the surrounding areas. Use a sheet or drop cloth on your floor to protect it from drips and cover any interior fixtures and the edges of your tub with painter's tape to keep them free of paint spatters.

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You should also take steps to protect yourself when painting a bathtub. Wear a respirator and a pair of gloves and keep your bathroom well ventilated by opening a window or using your exhaust fan during the entire painting process.

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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.