Renovating an old bathtub

Renovating an old bathtub – what kind of bathtub enamel will work?

Bathtub enamel is a way to renovate equipment that has probably outlived its useful life and it shows on its surface. How to paint a bathtub to make it look like new? What will you need? Renovate an old bathtub – read our article and get inspired!

Painting a bathtub – what you need to know before you start

Enamel coating is distinguished by extraordinary durability, but requires care. If it is not properly cared for, it can become dull, or start to get stains on it. In the case of bathtubs made of acrylic, a proper polishing is enough to restore their luster, but enamel surface once damaged requires special painting.

The enamel coating is characterized by hardness and creates an aesthetically pleasing glassy effect. It is usually applied to vanes made of steel. Such a combination is characterized by durability, resistance to high temperature, use and staining. Nevertheless, mechanical damage is capable of destroying such a coating. Strong impact can lead to cracking and detachment of enamel from the sheet. Greater damage and corrosion of the steel will cause, for example, leakage of the tub.

To renovate damaged fittings, it is necessary to use bath enamel otherwise called acrylic-urethane enamel or polyurethane paint. Learn how to properly paint a bathtub with this type of product!

Painting an enameled steel bathtub

Steel bathtubs are coated with a layer of enamel, but this effect is achieved with the help of industrial ovens, whose temperature reaches 800 degrees. This process cannot be repeated, so for the restoration of a steel bath it will be necessary to use a suitable polyurethane paint. It is resistant to cleaning agents, abrasion, or minor damage. In addition, such products are available in a wide range of colors.

Preparing an enameled steel bathtub

Preparing the tools

Before you start your refinishing, you should stock up:

  • sanding paper,
  • brush,
  • mortar enamel compound,
  • primer paint,
  • hardener,
  • polyurethane paint in your dream color.

When doing work wear a protective mask to avoid inhaling toxins, and gloves.

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Before painting a bathtub, it is necessary to perform several steps that will guarantee you a lasting effect. Before you get to work, thoroughly wash the tub and let it dry completely. The next step will be to fill the cavities, if any have ever formed. If so, a purchased filling compound will come to your aid. To get a smooth effect, sand the areas completed with the compound and clean the tub of dust.

After the reparation work, if such was necessary, of course, you can proceed to painting. Stir the primer paint with hardener and wait about 10 minutes. Be sure to perform this step immediately before painting, as the mixture dries quickly and may be unusable after waiting a while. After applying the first coat of primer paint, wait about 6 hours and then repeat painting. After painting the second coat wait several hours for the deck to dry fully before applying the polyurethane paint.

Before painting with the actual paint, open the windows and turn off the gas stove if there is one in the mix. Wear a mask and protective gloves. Remember that bath enamel is toxic and flammable. When using it, remember precautions.mix polyurethane paint with primer and wait 10 minutes. Paint the first coat with the paint. Apply the second one after a few hours to get a more aesthetic and uniform effect. Wait at least a week before using the bathtub . During this time, the bath enamel will fully dry, acquiring its properties.

Painting an acrylic bath

Acrylic baths have many supporters. They are characterized by their remarkable lightness which makes them much easier to transport and install, and they are available in many colors and shapes. In addition, thanks to their silver ion content they are very hygienic, and their smooth surface makes them easy to keep clean. However, the main advantage of acrylic is fast heating and keeping warm for a long time. Unlike painting an enamel bathtub, renovating one made of acrylic is easy and requires much less time.

Painting an enameled steel bathtub


As with a steel bathtub, an acrylic one also requires proper preparation before painting. First, sand the entire surface of the tub with sandpaper or polishing paste. Use a coarser-grained paper first, and then for a smoother effect, a lower-grained paper. Clean the tub thoroughly from embedded dust. Degrease the sanded surface with extraction gasoline.


Painting a bath made of acrylic requires the use of liquid acrylic combined with hardener. Due to the density of the product, use a spatula to apply it evenly. Begin painting from the bowl and the edges of the van, so that the liquid acrylic can freely flow into the center. Spread the paint evenly over the entire surface. After painting, wait at least 48 hours. During this time the acrylic should pre-dry, but to be safe do not use the tub for the next few days.

Installation “bathtub in a bathtub”- what does it consist of?

Painting a bathtub requires proper preparation, tools and time. A much simpler method will be to install acrylic liner. This is a thin surface that acts, in a way, as a replica of the bathtub. Before purchasing an insert, take a detailed measurement of the old tub and remove the old drain. The new insert usually comes with a new siphon along with a drain and overflow grate. The insert is installed on the bathtub, and then it is glued with special tape and silicone acrylic. After installation, remember to grout with silicone the edges of the bathtub.

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Acrylic insert is composed of two polymeric layers. The upper part consists of durable acrylic and the lower part of flexible plastic preventing cracking and deformation, even under heavy load. The thickness of the insert varies between 4 and 6 mm. Surfaces made of acrylic are characterized by high resistance to dirt, making them extremely easy to clean, just use ordinary soap. In case of scratches formed on the acrylic insole due to use, use a suitable paste for polishing, with which you can easily restore its original appearance.

Installing an acrylic liner will be a good solution for larger damage to the tub which cannot be repaired with bath paint or any filling compound. An additional advantage is the fast installation time, not exceeding a few hours. The very next day the bathtub will be ready for use.

Tub spray enamel – is it worth it?

Tub spray enamel admittedly won’t give you the ability to cover a large area of the tub, but it will be a great way to renew its small parts. It can easily handle small discolorations or splatters. It is much easier to apply compared to polyurethane paint, so it will be good for inexperienced people.

There are really a lot of ways to renew an old bathtub. Bathtub enamel will do a great job at refreshing the surface and removing major dirt or paint splatters. Choosing a tub liner is a good idea if your old bathtub has suffered significant damage that no product can repair. spray enamel is the ideal choice for minor damage. Whichever product you choose, you are sure to restore your old bathtub and enjoy a new, refreshed bathroom!

Specialist in the field of construction and renovation. On he shares his knowledge of materials and technologies for single-family construction. He is also interested in gardening and growing potted plants.