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Bathroom, DIY, Home Maintenance

How To Refinish (Reglaze) A Bathtub

By on Aug 10, 2016
How To Refinish (Reglaze) A Bathtub

Refinishing a bathtub is the easiest and cheapest way to bring new life to your very dated (or very dirty) bathtub. Those of you who don’t have the time or patience to clean your tub often or want to restore your old, unique tub you don’t see nowadays will greatly benefit from a bathtub refinishing, also known as reglazing, project.

Fortunately, bathtub refinishing doesn’t cost more than $142 and can be completed for less if you choose to take it on as a DIY project. Nevertheless, by comparison to a new tub, refinishing can save thousands.

Now that the major benefit is out of the way, it’s time to get to work. See how to refinish a bathtub below.

Refinishing Bathtub Costs

Refinishing Bathtub Costs

As most reglazing projects are done without pros, the costs tend to stay below the $100 mark. According to our cost guide, the average minimum cost of tile or bathtub reglazing is $17 and the maximum is $142. If you are eager to take this project on by yourself, there are plenty of refinishing kits at The Home Depot.

Nevertheless, if you hire a bathroom remodeling professional, expect the price to increase.

Refinish A Bathtub

Materials Needed

Like any DIY project, certain tools and materials are needed. While I am going to cover multiple ways to refinish a bathtub, some or all the materials below will help you transform your old grimy tub to the masterpiece it once was.

  • Bathtub Refinishing Kit
  • Sandpaper
  • Hand Towels
  • Paper Towels
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint Roller
  • Caulk
  • Utility Knife
  • Paint Stripper
  • Abrasive Cleaner
  • Masking Tape
  • Masking Paper
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Plastic covering
  • Epoxy
  • Abrasive Pad

Reglaze Bathtub

How To Refinish A Bathtub

There are a few different ways to refinish a bathtub. As long as you purchase a refinishing kit (or hire a pro) and follow the instructions, your new tub should come out just fine.

Below, I will discuss both the short and long ways to refinish a tub. While I would always recommend the long way (as it provides a more thorough covering), the short route gets the job done.

The Short Way of Bathtub Refinishing

  1. Purchase a bathtub refinishing kit.
  2. Remove everything from the bathtub and all surrounding bathroom supplies.
  3. Turn on your bathroom fan or open all windows. If you do not have a fan or windows, throw in some fans and leave them on throughout the process.
  4. Time to prep and clean the bathtub. Use an industrial bathtub cleaner to thoroughly clean the tub. I recommend going over the entire tub at least three times. You can rinse off with water in between each clean and use sandpaper for tougher stains.
  5. Dry the tub (a hair dryer comes in handy).
  6. At this time, some reglazing projects call for a hydrofluoric acid rinse. If you choose to use hydrofluoric acid for your refinishing project, make sure you let is stand for 10-15 minutes and then thoroughly rinse the tub with cold water.
  7. Dry the tub.
  8. Using the masking tape, cover all tub edges as well as the plumbing including the cap, spout, handles, showerhead and toilet if close by.
  9. Cover the walls of the shower with your masking paper.
  10. Take your reglazing materials, be it an epoxy, paint or a spray bottle, and mix well. If you are using a can, shake it for 60 seconds.
  11. Take your spray or paint, and slowly move in one direction across the tub.
  12. For painting, go slowly and always move in one direction.
  13. Paint on a few thin coats, waiting at least 30 minutes between each coat (read the instructions to see how long to wait).
  14. For spraying, try to spray in one direction.
  15. Apply a few thin coats, waiting at least 15 minutes between each coat (read the instructions to see how long to wait).
  16. Let the tub sit without removing any tape for 2-3 days.
  17. Remove all tape and coverings (slowly).

Bathtub Refinishing

The Long Way of Bathtub Refinishing

  1. Purchase a bathtub refinishing kit.
  2. Remove everything from the bathtub and all surrounding bathroom supplies. Some remove the actual trim plumbing such as the heads and handles.
  3. Remove the old caulking using a utility knife. Make sure you go all around the tub. Clean up all extract before moving forward.
  4. Turn on your bathroom fan or open all windows. If you do not have a fan or windows, throw in some fans and leave them on throughout the process.
  5. Remove all old epoxy using the utility knife. Sand off any excess paint.
  6. Prep and clean the bathtub. Use an industrial bathtub cleaner to thoroughly clean the tub. Once completed, use the sandpaper and abrasive cleaner as well. I recommend going over the entire tub at least three times. You can rinse off water in between each clean.
  7. Dry the tub (a hair dryer comes in handy).
  8. Wash the bathtub with hydrofluoric acid and make sure you let is stand for 10-15 minutes.
  9. Thoroughly rinse the tub with cold water and the sandpaper.
  10. Dry the tub.
  11. If you bathtub has any cracks, use a body filler to cover them up.
  12. Using the masking tape, cover all tub edges as well as the plumbing including the cap, spout, handles, showerhead and toilet if close by.
  13. Cover the walls of the shower with your masking paper.
  14. Take your reglazing materials, be it an epoxy, paint or a spray bottle, and mix well. If you are using a can, shake it for 60 seconds.
  15. Add primer before you paint.
  16. You can test the paint or spray on the masking paper if you wish.
  17. Take your spray or paint, and slowly move in one direction across the tub.
  18. For painting, go slowly and always move in one consistent direction.
  19. Paint on a few thin coats, waiting at least 30 minutes in between each coat (read the instructions to see how long to wait).
  20. For spraying, try to spray in one consistent direction.
  21. Apply a few thin coats, waiting at least 15 minutes between each coat (read the instructions to see how long to wait).
  22. Let the tub sit without removing any tape for 2-3 days.
  23. Remove all tape and coverings (slowly).
  24. Caulk all around the tub where the bathtub meets the walls.
  25. Even out the caulk by pressing down on caulk with your finger around the entire tub.
  26. You can also caulk around the spout and handles as well.

To visually see how it’s all done, please watch the video below.

Conclusion

It sounds messy, but bathtub refinishing is not only a fun and cheap project, but a very efficient one as well. If applied correctly, the new glaze should last for years.

For more bathtub reglazing perks, please see our cost estimator


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