Your bathtub isn't in the greatest shape. It could use some love and attention. Yes, you could replace it or call a professional to handle the situation. But, if you're handy and know a few things about home repair, painting your own tub may be right up your alley.
At-home tub reglazing is a complex experience for even the most skilled painters, so it's important to follow the proper steps to get the best results.
How confident are you in your abilities? Is the bathtub in a condition you think you can handle? Are you willing to put forth the time and effort to revamp this area of your home?
Ask yourself these questions. Carefully weigh your options. If you're fairly sure this is the job for you, then start assembling the tools you'll need for the task at hand. Figure out a battle plan, set aside two days for the project, and be certain you have everything required before you begin.
Once you have the necessary supplies and a course of action, it's time to get started. As a protective measure, cover everything in the bathroom that doesn't have to do with your tub. Next, strip off the caulk that's surrounding your tub. Make sure all of it has been removed before proceeding.
When reglazing, cleaning is an absolutely critical step. Scour the bathtub thoroughly. Afterward, scrape everything with a razor blade to ensure a smooth surface. Even a tiny amount of debris or soap scum will ruin the paint job since the coating will prevent proper bonding.
Powdered scouring products also need to be washed away. They're a necessary part of the process, but once they serve their purpose, anything that lingers will destroy your efforts. Rub your hand over the entire tub to ensure there's no dust. If you find anything, clean it off, and repeat this process until the surface is entirely powder-free.
Chips and cracks aren't strangers to an older porcelain bathtub, but you need to eliminate them before moving on. Using a filler, repair these areas, giving them ample time to dry and harden.
If you're working on a metal bathtub, the same rules apply. Rust can and will happen, so any damage needs repaired and filled. Painting over untreated dents will result in a sloppy and shoddy result.
Once you're positive all repairs have been made, sand your tub. You'll need an orbital sander for this part, and #120-grit sandpaper works best. Make sure you achieve an even layer across the whole surface.
After sanding, clean the bathtub once more. Use a shop vac to take care of as much dust as possible before tackling the remaining particles by hand. Again, feel the surface and continue wiping or washing till it's entirely smooth.
Airless paint guns work best for bathtub reglazing, and this is what professionals use. If you have one available or it's in your budget to acquire such a product, this is the route you should take. If not, tub refinishing kits are available. The downside to using them is their reliance on paint rollers and foam brushes. Though the paint will have self-leveling properties, using a kit will not result in the smoothness an airless paint gun provides.
You'll need around two or three coats of paint, which means you'll likely require at least two refinishing kits and perhaps some extra material. Allow each coat to dry before the next application. After you've finished, give the paint a generous buffer time-wise before moving to the next step.
When your tub's new paint job is completely dry, re-caulk all areas you removed the caulk from previously. Caulk can take up to 30 days to cure depending on thickness and humidity, but it will skin over and dry in a relatively short amount of time.
To be on the safe side, give it a few hours before removing the protective covers you put up in the bathroom.
A DIY bathtub reglazing will last several years. With adequate maintenance, you can extend its life.
If you decide this isn't your forte, or at any point in the process you feel that you're in over your head, don't risk disaster. It's best to call a professional instead. DIY reglazing costs $200 and up.
Professional bills usually tally more than double this price, but also last more than double the life of a DIY job. Likewise, take into account the time and effort you'll save yourself by going this route.
If your tub is in bad shape, you may need to evaluate its state and consider replacing it instead. Purchasing a new bathtub is costly, but it may be a better option in the long run.
A professional tub installation easily carries a four-figure price tag. However, having the know-how to replace a tub yourself could cost less than even a professional reglazing.