How to Refurbish an Old Clawfoot Bathtub

Lead Image
  • 4-8 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 200-350
What You'll Need
Wire brush bit
Plastic tarp
Safety glasses
Acrylic paint
Paint sprayer

Many people love the look of a clawfoot bathtub in their bathroom. This style of tub is very popular among homeowners who are remodeling their current bathroom. Clawfoot bathtubs add a unique look, character, and luxury to any bathroom. With a clawfoot bathtub, the homeowner is greeted with luxurious lounging after a long hard day.

Refurbishing older clawfoot bathtubs is a great way to not only have one of these fixtures but also keep it out of the landfill. Taking the time to refurbish an old tub is not a hard project, but does require a great amount of time. In the end, you will be very satisfied with the look and feel of the clawfoot bathtub.

Prepare Work Area

Before doing any work to the clawfoot bathtub, you should have a well prepared area to work in. That means an area where there is good ventilation. Once you determine where to do the work, set a plastic tarp on the floor area to minimize any scratches to the rim of the tub. Remove any old fixtures or pipes that are still attached to the tub.

Remove Rust and Old Paint

The hardest part of restoring an old clawfoot bathtub is removing the rust and paint. Use a drill or grinder with a wire brush attachment. Run the wire brush over the entire surface of the tub to remove all traces of rust and paint. Doing so can take some time and does require patience. Speed the process by using some paint remover in sparing amounts.

Clean and Repair

Once you have removed all of the rust and paint, clean the entire surface of the tub. Use a sponge and warm water to remove the debris and dust. If there are any scratches, or small cracks, repair them with body filler. This filler should be specific to either a metal or acrylic material. Spread it on the damaged areas with a flat scraper and let it dry. Once it is dry, sand it with fine sandpaper.

Prime Clawfoot Bathtub

Once all of the preparatory steps are complete, finish the project by applying the primer and paint. Use a spray gun to apply the primer to the surface of the tub. Use smooth strokes with the gun and hold it 8-inches from the surface. Overlap each stroke by .5-inches.

Paint Clawfoot Bathtub

Once the primer has dried completely, add the first coat of paint. Fill the paint sprayer with good acrylic paint and use the same painting method. Once the tub is completed, let it dry to a tacky feel. At this point, paint the but with a second coat of paint.

Add Glaze Finish

For your refurbished clawfoot bathtub to shine, add a glaze finish. You may use the paint sprayer for this, or a foam brush. Apply two coats of glaze and enjoy your luxurious new tub.