How To Paint a Bath and Give Your Bathroom the Wow Factor

a bathroom with a pink painted bath and victorian tiles

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.

estate agent picture of our bathroom with white and blue mosaic tiles, a bath and sink and toilet with wooden seast
From this…
bathroom renovation with mosaic floor tiles, stand alone bath tub, metro tiles, grey walls and grey vanity cabinet
To this! Our bathroom renovation before I decided to paint a bath

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.

A yellow bath tub with metro tiles and patterned flooring in the bathroom
One of my favorite colorful baths on the gram! Instagram: @the_idle_hands
Pink bath tub with wallpapered walls, dark blue panelling and tiled flooring in the bathroom
Katie showed us how to have a pretty perfect bathroom! Instagram: @comedowntothewoods
black bath tube with dark blue walls, white stone flooring and sash windows in the bathroom
Ultra stylish black bath. Instagram: @styletheclutter
Pink bath tub with black panelling and monochrome patterned tiles in the bathroom
The perfect shade of pink. Instagram: @faulk.house2home

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!
 Bathroom, bathroom renovation, renovation, redecorating, bath, bath tub, paint bath, roll top bath, roll top, bathroom design, bath design, patterned tiles, pink, pink decor, tiles, grey, grey decor, flowers, DIY, DIY bathroom, DIY paint, paint, painting, interiors, interior styling

1. Preparation

  • 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.
 Bathroom, bathroom renovation, renovation, redecorating, bath, bath tub, paint bath, roll top bath, roll top, bathroom design, bath design, patterned tiles, pink, pink decor, tiles, grey, grey decor, flowers, DIY, DIY bathroom, DIY paint, paint, painting, interiors, interior styling

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!)

white roll top bath with feet wrapped in plastic
Dust sheets and frog tape wrapped around the feet.

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.

white roll top bath with sanding paper

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.

primer on a roll top bath
The first layer going on.

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.

paint roller and pink paint
pink paint on a roll top bath
The first coat going on.

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.

pink bath being painted

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.

 Bathroom, bathroom renovation, renovation, redecorating, bath, bath tub, paint bath, roll top bath, roll top, bathroom design, bath design, patterned tiles, pink, pink decor, tiles, grey, grey decor, flowers, DIY, DIY bathroom, DIY paint, paint, painting, interiors, interior styling
 Bathroom, bathroom renovation, renovation, redecorating, bath, bath tub, paint bath, roll top bath, roll top, bathroom design, bath design, patterned tiles, pink, pink decor, tiles, grey, grey decor, flowers, DIY, DIY bathroom, DIY paint, paint, painting, interiors, interior styling
 Bathroom, bathroom renovation, renovation, redecorating, bath, bath tub, paint bath, roll top bath, roll top, bathroom design, bath design, patterned tiles, pink, pink decor, tiles, grey, grey decor, flowers, DIY, DIY bathroom, DIY paint, paint, painting, interiors, interior styling
 Bathroom, bathroom renovation, renovation, redecorating, bath, bath tub,
 Bathroom, bathroom renovation, renovation, redecorating, bath, bath tub, paint bath, roll top bath,

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!

 Bathroom, bathroom renovation, renovation, redecorating, bath, bath tub, paint bath, roll top bath,
Pink-painted roll-top bath
 Bathroom, bathroom renovation, renovation, redecorating, bath, bath tub, paint bath,
 Bathroom, bathroom renovation, renovation, redecorating, bath, bath tub, paint bath

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.

how to paint a bath for a quick refresh Pinterest pin

Similar Posts

16 Comments

  1. Hi Mel, where was your bath from? I like the acrylic, roll top that can go against a wall without the weight of cast iron! X

    1. Hi Claire
      I got this bath from bath store, the space is really small so it was perfect !

    1. Hello

      The sink unit came like that, it’s from Bath Store. The colour on the bathroom wall is Warm Pewter by Dulux UK

  2. Hi Melanie,

    I love your bathroom design. I am inspired for my new house. Can you please tell me what are the measurements os your bathroom?
    Would like to fit, same as you, a tub and a quadrant shower.

    Thanks

    1. Hi Andreea

      My bathroom is 1.8m x 2.3m. I would definitely have a smaller sink in the bathroom if I were to do it again as it’s quite a squeeze!

      Mel 🙂

  3. Hello!
    Love this and thank you for the tips on how to do it.
    Can I be cheeky and ask where your lovely floor tiles are from? I’ve been trawling for something just like them but haven’t had any luck.
    Thank you!

  4. Hiya. I found your bathroom on Instagram and am obsessed. I’ve been resigned to having to have a shower over bath but seeing yours I’m thinking it’s now doable to have both.
    Where’s your shower from and do you know the dimensions of it?

    1. Hello. Our bathroom is 2.3m x 1.8m so pretty small. The shower is the smallest available from Bath Store, the 800mm shower quadrant and I’ll be honest with you, we very rarely use it. I find it too small and claustrophobic so use our larger one downstairs. If I was to design our bathroom again, I would have had a much smaller sink to fit in a bigger shower or had the shower over the bath. Hope this helps.

    1. The paint is Dulux bathroom paint called Dulux Burnt Autumn 5. The tiles are from Topps Tiles and they are called Thornbury

  5. I follow you on Instagram and love your bathroom so much! Can I please ask what pink paint you chose for your bath ? About to paint mine and am bamboozled by the sheer amount of pink paint out there so would love to know yours!
    Thanks so much x

      1. Thank you ever so much! I’ve also saved your to do on how to paint it ready for when I do it. Current bath is navy blue Can I ask another question? Where did you get your beautifully rustic bath board? Xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *