How to Reglaze a Bathtub
Are you properly maintaining your appliances and plumbing fixtures? When metal starts to rust, do you repair it or replace it? When carpeting stains, do you clean it?
What about when the solution is not so obvious, like when your bathtub's glaze is worn off and can't be brought back to its former shine through simple cleaning? Do you know what top do then?
Many homeowners and renters don't realize that you can reglaze your bathtub. We've got a step-by-step guide for anyone who wants a beautifully refinished bathtub to soak in.
Step 1 - Preparing the Bathroom
Before you begin your reglazing project, check all plumbing and drains to be sure they are properly working and are in good shape. If you rush right in to finishing the tub and overlook something, you may need to call a plumber who could damage or undo the glaze while trying to fix any pipe or drain issues.
Remove everything from the bathroom except for items that are stored in cabinets or cupboards. This prevents them from being damaged in the reglazing process.
Remove all trim plumbing that is close to the bathtub. This includes the overflow cap, the spout, and the shower head. The toilet may also need to be briefly removed if it will prevent you from accessing the bathtub's apron.
Remove all caulking and grout that immediately borders the bathtub. Caulking and grout near the tub are usually in need of repair. Before you continue with the reglazing project, clean up the mess to prevent caulking and grout from settling into the newly applied glaze.
Make sure the bathroom is well ventilated before you begin by opening windows and using ventilation fans.
WARNING: If the window can't be opened, you must use a ventilation system as the chemicals that you'll be spraying around can be hazardous if inhaled in large concentrations. Safety items such as respirators or ventilators can be rented and must be started before the reglazing project begins.
Step 2 - Cleaning the Tub
Use industrial bathtub cleaners to thoroughly clean the tub. Rinse the products, then use 120-grit sandpaper to remove all calcium deposits and paint. Rinse the tub thoroughly with cold water. Blow the borders of the tub dry with a compressor or shop vacuum.
Wash the bathtub with hydrofluoric acid and let it stand for 10-15 minutes. Rinse the bathtub with cold water and re-use 120 grit sand paper on the surface. Rinse well and dry the tub. When using the compressor or shop vacuum, remember to include the drain and overflow. Be sure that there is no moisture left anywhere that can get on the tub once it's dry.
Step 3 - Applying the Filler
Fill the bottom of the tub and the ledges with body filler. You may have to repeat this process several times if there is a lot of acid damage. Apply body filler with care and be tidy because body filler is hard to sand off once it has dried.
Sand the body filler until it is completely smooth. Clean the room thoroughly with a shop vacuum. Tack cloth to the entire surface of the tub.
Step 4 - Layering with Epoxy
Use an epoxy product to prime the tub. Allow it to dry according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Step 5 - Glazing
Using the widest masking tape you can buy, mask the entire floor and all bathtub borders. Cover all cabinets and the vanity with plastic painter's drop sheets. You do not want the plastic sheets or masking tape to come loose while you are spraying glaze on the tub. Be certain to cover everything in the room to prevent glaze particles from sticking to it - this would be a nightmare that you don't want to experience.
Apply the glaze according to the manufacturer's specifications. Then leave the room to allow it to dry without inhaling fumes. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions here.
Allow the newly glazed bathtub to dry overnight. Do not touch it.
Step 6 - Cleaning Up and Finishing Touches
Clean the spray gun and put the compressor system away. By this time the bathroom should be ventilated enough for you remove most of the masking. Leave masking around the tub's borders.
Remove the ventilation system if you used one and return it to the rental agency.
You can return all plumbing fixtures and removed items after you've allowed 24 hours of drying time. Re-caulk and re-grout the tub's borders. Do not use the tub for 48 hours to be sure the glaze is thoroughly dry.
Enjoy the new look of your old tub. You’ll be amazed at the difference once your project is complete. Reglazing the bathtub yourself will save you money, and you'll feel proud each time you get into the bath and are reminded of what a great job you did.