How to Refinish a Fiberglass Bathtub

Lead Image
  • 5-10 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 80-160
What You'll Need
Palm sander
Fine grit sandpaper
Painter's tape
Polyester gel coat
Methyl Ethyl Ketone Peroxide
Gel coat gun
Respirator mask
Eye protection

Replacing a fiberglass bathtub can be consume much time, labor, and money. Some homeowners elect to keep their current tub and shower while upgrading the rest of the bathroom. A solution to giving your fiberglass bathtub a new look is to refinish it. Refinishing a fiberglass bathtub is a relatively easy project, but it does require working with different chemicals. Follow these steps to refinish a fiberglass bathtub.

Step 1 - Sand Fiberglass Bathtub

Begin refinishing the fiberglass bathtub by sanding the entire surface. Wear a respirator mask and safety goggles for this step, you don't want to get fiberglass particles in your eyes or lungs. Use a small palm sander with fine grit sandpaper. The palm sander is much better for this project than a larger sander because of its maneuverability. Cover the entire surface and do not gouge the fiberglass.

Step 2 - Clean Tub Surface

Thoroughly clean the surface. Use a clean cotton rag and acetone to rub the entire surface. Doing so will remove greasy residue, allowing the colored gel coat to adhere properly. If any dust remains on the surface, it will have a rough texture after the coating has been applied.

Step 3 - Tape Surrounding Area

Cover the area with plastic and tape to seal it. Doing so will protect the tub from dust, and the walls and fixtures from over spray.

Step 4 - Spray Gel Coat on Fiberglass Bathtub

Wear a respirator mask again during this step, the fumes are very toxic. Fill the gun with the desired gel coat and spray it evenly. It should be thick, but not so thick that it drips. Spray the coat without worrying about covering the entire surface.

Step 5 - Spray Second Coat

Once the first coat dries until it is tacky to the touch, spray a second coat. The second coat should be heavier and cover the entire surface. Do not stop the spray gun in any area.

Step 6 - Spray Third Coat if Necessary

Sometimes the second coat of gel does not completely cover the surface. Let it dry until it is tacky to the touch and apply a third coat. You should not have to apply anymore.

Step 7 - Let It Dry and Harden

As the gel coating on the fiberglass bathtub dries, it will harden. Depending on the type of gel, color, and gloss, it will add an entirely new look to your bathroom. Once the gel hardens, wipe it with a clean rag and acetone. Remove the tape and plastic, then enjoy the refinished bathtub.