Going Green: How to Refinish a Cast Iron Bathtub

What You'll Need
Enamel Paint
Fiberglass Putty
Enamel Bonding Agent
Sand Paper
Tub Cleaner

Refinishing a cast iron bathtub can make your bathroom look great and it's worth all the work. Most people's choice for refinishing a tub is completely purchasing a new one, which can be expensive. Most people like the look of their current bathtub, so purchasing a new one is not only a hassle, it's also very hard for some to let go of the look and feel of their old tubs. Getting a professional to install a new bathtub can also add to the cost of buying a new one, so hiring a professional isn't a logical option for many people. In this article, we are going to cover how to refinish your cast iron bathtub on your own to save time and money.

Step 1 - Removing Rust

Rust is a very stubborn element, and can be very annoying to get rid of. You can use the sand paper in a circular motion to remove the rust. If the rust is drastically invading the tub, you can use a power sander, but this is entirely optional, since many people aren't comfortable using such tools. If you are having a hard time removing the rust on your own, you can fill the tub with hot water, and add vinegar or baking soda to help soften the rust spots. Allow the solution sit in the tub for about an hour. After an hour has passed, drain the tub, and repeat the scrubbing process. This should be the end of the rust spots.

Step 2 - Clean the Tub

Any debris in the tub needs to be cleaned out before you continue so you have a clean finish. After you are done getting rid of the remaining rust particles, and any other type of dirt in the tub, wash out the tub with hot water once more, and drain the tub. The tub must me completely dry in order to proceed. 

Step 3 - Fix any Blemishes in the Tub

Any cracks in the tub must be taken care of next. If there are any cracks in the tub, this will alter the look of the finish, and make your entire bathroom look unprofessional. You can get rid of scratches and cracks by using the fiberglass putty applied with the tip of one of the rags, and run it over the cracks in a circular motion. Fill in the cracks the best you can, and make sure not to leave any excess putty on the surface of the tub. The putty should take about 3 hours to settle, so return in that time to make sure the putty didn't sink. If the putty is allowing cracks to return, simply fill in the crack again, and return in another 3 hours. Once the putty has dried completely, and the cracks are completely filled, it is time to move on to the next step. 

Step 4 - Sanding

No matter how careful you were about not getting any excess putty on the surface of the tub, it is always necessary to re-sand the surface to remove any putty remains, and to make sure that the tub is smooth. 

Step 5 - Applying Enamel

Put a small amount of enamel bonding agent no the rag, and wipe the entire surface of the tub. Make sure not to miss any spots, and re-apply enamel as needed. Once you are finished applying the enamel, it should take about 5 hours to dry. After the enamel has dried, apply a second coat of enamel if you feel it is necessary. 

Step 6 - Finishing Up

Step 6 is a completely optional step, which determines the final look to your tub. It is optional to use the enamel paint to give your tub a commercial look, but some people prefer the rustic-homemade look of the clear enamel agent. Determine whether you would like to do this step once step 5 has completely dried.