A bit like kitchens, bathrooms can be extremely pricey to update or completely renovate, so why not paint a bath for a quick refresh? Most bathtubs come in white, so painting your bathtub any color you wish, will give you a unique design in the bathroom.
When we renovated our house, we completely gutted our bathroom and started again. The bath was leaking, there were holes in the walls to the point where you could see through to the outside world and a lot of the tiles were either chipped or falling off.
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I had a huge bathroom board on Pinterest when we started looking for ideas for the renovation. They all consisted of monochrome bathrooms with a white suite, a different colored sink unit, and monochrome tiled floors.
I’d never really given much thought as to how I wanted the walls, other than subway tiles to keep it watertight. Don’t get me wrong, I love our bathroom but I started wishing I’d injected a bit more colour in there.
Painted Roll Top Bath Inspiration
I started seeing all these wonderfully painted roll-top baths on Instagram and knew that’s what I needed to do! It would help to keep the costs down but totally transform our bathroom.
How to Paint a Bath
If you want to repaint a bathtub, it’s quite simple to do. Acrylic and cast iron baths can easily be painted over, as long as you prepare them properly.
Best Bathtub Paint
Choosing the correct bath paint is key to having a good finish. Acrylic polymer paint for baths is the best option as it provides a durable and waterproof finish, essential for a tub’s high-moisture environment.
Epoxy paints are extremely durable and can provide a long-lasting finish. However, they can be tricky to work with and have strong fumes.
What You Will Need
- Paint sheets or old newspapers
- Clean sponges or cloths
- Sugar soap or normal soap
- Masking Tape or Frog Tape
- Quality Paint Brush/Roller
- Rough and Fine Sandpaper
- Surface primer
- Bath Paint!
- Clean the Tub: Use a bathroom cleaner or a mixture of sugar soap and water to scrub the tub thoroughly. This helps remove any soap scum, oils, or other residues. My bath wasn’t particularly dirty, but I have small children who like to use bath crayons!
- Repair Damages: If there are chips or cracks, you will need to fill them with a waterproof epoxy or filler suitable for cast iron.
- Dry: Once you are happy it is clean, make sure it is completely dry.
2. Mask Surrounding Areas
Prepare the rest of the bathroom by laying down paint sheets or old newspapers around and under the bath where you will be painting. You don’t want to get paint on your expensive tiled flooring or vinyl, do you?
As our bath has claw feet, I made sure I wrapped tape around the feet and also put tape around the edge of the roll-top tub (as I’m definitely a messy painter!)
3. Give it a Good Sand
Sand down the outside of the bath where you will be painting. To give the smooth outside of the bath a rough surface so the primer can adhere to it, sand down the bath using rough sandpaper.
This will also help the paint take hold. I used ProDec sanding roll, 1 x 120 grit and 1 x 40 grit.
4. Clean Again!
Once you have finished sanding down the bath and you are happy that it is rough enough to the touch, give the bath a clean again with either warm water or sugar soap. Make sure that the bath is dry once it is clean and that all sanding residue has been cleared.
5. Prime the Bath Ready to Be Painted
Apply a good primer (I used Rust-oleum Surface Primer in grey so I could see where I had sprayed the primer), by either spraying it or using a brush or roller evenly over the bath. This will help to fill in minor irregularities and give you a smoother paint finish.
There are several products on the market designed for this purpose, often labeled as “tile and tub refinishing” or “tile and tub bonding primer.”
You can apply the primer a few times until you are happy with the result, making sure the layer is dry before you apply it again.
6. How to Paint a Bathtub
Once you are happy with the primer finish and it is completely dry, you can start to repaint a bathtub. Make sure you choose an acrylic polymer paint for bath so that it sticks to the tub. It is best to use either a spray painter or a small paint roller to give it an even finish.
My bathtub was always going to be pink so I went with Dulux Kitchen & Bath Burnt Autumn 5.
7. Apply a Few More Layers
Once the paint is applied, it will need to cure. The exact time can vary based on the paint used, but many require 48 hours or longer before you can use the tub. Leave the first application of paint to dry and then give it a very light sanding to make sure the paint is smooth.
If you have applied the paint with a paintbrush, make sure there are no streaks. It is a good idea to do the top coat with a roller as this leaves a better finish.
Apply the paint again and repeat this process until you are happy with the finish, but do not sandpaper the final application.
8. Never Use the Bath Again and Just Admire Its Beauty!
Haha, only kidding. Do not use the bath for around 48 hours whilst you wait for the paint to set and dry out completely.
You can, however, stand back and admire your new bathtub in all its glory and plan how to accessorize it to make the most of the new color.
When I spoke to a few paint manufacturers, they didn’t want to recommend their paint as they couldn’t be 100% certain it would turn out ok. But I think this is only because they can’t guarantee a perfect finish. As long as you know that your bathtub will not be completely flawless, then go for it.
I’m so glad I did mine and I am incredibly pleased with the results. It would have cost me several hundred pounds to buy a new tub, not to mention the plumbing costs, so I think this is money very well spent!
If you’re not comfortable with this DIY project, consider hiring professionals who specialize in tub refinishing. They have the expertise and equipment to ensure a smooth, durable finish.
What color do you think you will paint your bathtub?
Q. Can I paint any type of bathtub?
A. While most bathtubs can be painted, the process and type of bath paint may vary based on the material. Cast iron, steel, fiberglass, and acrylic tubs can all be refinished, but always make sure to choose the appropriate bath paint and primer for your tub’s specific material.
Q. How long does the painting process take?
A. The actual painting can be done in a few hours. However, including preparation and curing time, it’s best to set aside at least 2-3 days when the tub will not be in use.
Q. How long will the bathtub paint last?
A. With proper care, a refinished bathtub can last 10-15 years or even longer. However, the lifespan can be shorter if the tub is frequently used or if abrasive cleaners are used on it.
Q. How do I maintain my painted bathtub?
A. Avoid using abrasive cleaners. Opt for mild, non-abrasive cleaning agents and a soft cloth or sponge. Also, avoid dropping sharp or heavy objects that could chip the bath paint.
Q. Is there a difference between bathtub paint and regular paint?
A. Yes! Bathtub-specific paints are designed to adhere to the bathtub’s material and withstand the wet, high-moisture environment of a bathroom. Regular paint is not designed for this purpose and will not hold up well in a bathtub setting.
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