How to Refinish A Bathtub Yourself. Properly!
So, you're wondering how to paint your bathtub properly. Well, you've come to the right place, as we've been refinishing tubs professionally since 1972. Maybe you’re just considering whether or not this is a weekend project you want to tackle? Or maybe you've already purchased a Bathworks® DIY kit for your bathtub, and are looking to get started. Regardless, you've come to the right place. I’m going to tell you how to do it the best and easiest way, just like a pro!
Let's Get Started (Estimated Prep Time: 45 minutes)
The first thing to do is remove all items (your tooth brush, shower curtain, towels, soaps, shampoo bottles, razors, etc... whatever you keep in your tub area). Next, if you have caulk you want to remove, now’s the time to do it. Use a new razor blade, and carefully cut along the top and bottom of the caulk - in a perfect world it will pull right off for you.
Now it's time to clean. Whether you have a cast iron, steel, fiberglass, or plastic bathtub, tub/shower unit, sink, shower stall, shower basin, etc... dump on plenty of Ajax or Comet cleaner and scrub! Pay special attention to any heavy soap scum areas. While the tub is still wet, scrub it again using the Etching Cleaner provided. NOTE: if you have a cast iron or steel bathtub I would for highly recommend using the Bathworks® EZ-Etch product (this will ensure the best possible adhesion with the Bathworks® bathtub refinishing paint). With the surface still wet, sand the entire tub with 120 grit sandpaper (provided in some of our kits). Dry the tub.
At this point the tub should be dry, the caulk removed, and all debris should be cleaned up and in a garbage bag. Examine the whole tub again. If you think soap residue or grime of any kind still remains, use that same razor blade and carefully scrape it off, then scrub that area again with the same cleaning process as before. Dry the tub again.
Masking & Final Tack Rag (Estimated time: 30 minutes)
Ok, you're done with the water, so now would be a good time to place a plastic bag over the tub spout and shower head to avoid any dripping. Thoroughly dry again if needed (any moisture at all can prevent proper bonding of the Bathworks® tub refinishing paint). Next, use blue painter's tape, (I like to use the 2” wide tape) to mask the border of the bathtub, tape off the drain, and if the overflow is left on, you'll want to tape that as well. Place newspaper or a tarp on the floor in front of the bathtub, as you'll want to make sure that no material lands on the floor surface. This is also a good spot to place the paint tray while rolling. Next, you're going to wipe everything out one final time, and then use a tack rag (provided in some kits) to clean up any remain debris that might be on the surface of the tub.
Priming the Surface (Estimated time: 15 minutes)
Alright, everything is now cleaned, dried and you're ready to wipe on the Liquid Primer provided in the Bathworks® kit. At this point you should be wearing rubber gloves and have good airflow (positive air coming in and the negative air going out). Pour the primer onto the bottom of the bathtub and wipe the entire tub surface (I like to use a cloth, but a paper towel works as well). While you're letting the primer dry for 5 or 10 minutes, go ahead and mix up the Part A & Part B paints and hardener provided in your Bathworks® bathtub refinishing kit. With everything mixed, you should be ready to roll. Again, wear gloves, goggles, and have good positive air flow.
Painting (Estimated Time: 1.5 hours.)
First, the Non-slip (optional, but I recommend it for safety). Pour the container of non-slip material (see mixing instructions included in each kit) in the center of the tub and use the 3” roller (provided in some kits) to roll out a rectangle shape in your desired non-slip area. What’s important about this step, is that the materials is mixed well, and while rolling you remember to roll in both horizontal and vertical directions, leaving the non-slip area evenly rolled. Let that sit for about 10 to 15 minutes before starting to roll the bathtub with the refinishing paint.
Next, pour the mixed Part A & B into the paint tray (provided with some kits). With a 4” foam roller (provided in some kits), start rolling on the inside wall front corner. Remember, at this point the first few roller passes will not go very far, as your roller isn't yet loaded with paint. Be certain that you NEVER dry roll (always make sure that your roller has plenty of paint). I like to work my way around the inside walls and lower curve, always with a good amount of material on my roller. Then, I roll the top edge of the bathtub, leaving the front top deck for last. Again, I always have a good amount of material on my roller. If you start to notice any runs or puddles from consistently having a lot of material on your roller, now would be a good time to roll them out.
Next, I roll the bottom (yes, over the non-slip area too), connecting the lower curve material with the bottom material. Then I roll the “front” upper deck evenly, and with a good amount of material. Finally roll the front of the tub.
Lastly, using a foam brush (provided in some kits) dab any areas the roller couldn’t reach. At this stage I prefer to use our Preval Kit, rather than the brush.
Using the Preval, immediately after rolling, I spray the lower back curve as well as the caulk areas and front upper deck. Doing this helps lay-down the rolled material and achieves a very smooth, professional look every time! After about 30 to 45 minutes, I’ll remove all the tape pulling at a 45-degree angle. You should be able to caulk and replace anything that was removed after 24 hours.
Please keep in mind that we have great tech support, so don't hesitate to contact us. If you follow these few steps, and use my tips, you’ll be able to achieve a beautiful new tub for many years to come.
Happy Rock’n Rolling!!
- Craig Munro