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What Is Bathtub Paint?

A gloved hand using a paint roller to apply white coating to a bathtub.

Bathtub paint lets you refinish a tub without the mess and expense of replacing it. It can be a great solution if you want to update the look of your existing tub. Before you begin a bathtub paint project, though, it’s important to take certain steps to ensure the best possible results.


What Bathtub Paint Should I Use?


Paint is not a one-size-fits-all product. Just as you’d likely choose a bathroom wall paint that offers mildew resistance, you want to choose a bathtub paint that is designed specifically for that purpose.


When people refer to bathtub paint, they typically mean bathtub epoxy. Unlike traditional paint, products like Rust-Oleum’s Tub & Tile Refinishing Kit deliver a bathtub epoxy coating that’s designed for use over ceramic, porcelain and fiberglass.


In addition to refinishing a bathtub, you can also use this epoxy coating on tile walls. That means you can refinish your bathtub as well as the surrounding tile in less than a day.


Does a Bathtub Painting Project Require Prep Work?


Preparation can go a long way toward a successful bathtub painting project.


First, you’ll want to remove the tub’s existing caulk. Then, thoroughly clean the bathtub to remove dirt, scum or debris, and use a bleach-and-water solution to eliminate any mildew. If your tub has chips or cracks, you’ll need to patch them so that you can apply the bathtub coating over a uniform surface.


Once the tub is clean, you’ll need to roughen it to help ensure the bathtub epoxy coating will adhere. It’s important to follow all product instructions, such as using an abrasive pad and sandpaper to give the tub a paintable surface.


You’ll also want to remove the tub’s metal drain so that you can fully coat the surrounding area without getting epoxy on the metal. Painter’s tape can help protect the faucet and other surrounding surfaces that you aren’t painting.


If you plan to apply the bathtub epoxy coating with a paint roller, removing loose fibers from the roller will prevent them from ending in the epoxy. To do this, wrap painter’s tape around the roller and then remove the tape. This pulls loose fibers from the roller and traps them on the tape’s adhesive.


Ventilation is important when applying any epoxy coating. Opening windows or using a fan can help keep the air circulating as you work.


When your prep work is complete, mix the epoxy coating according to the directions, then pour it into a paint tray. Before you begin coating the whole tub, it’s a good idea to test the epoxy’s adhesion and appearance in a small, hidden area. After a successful test application, you’re ready to coat the whole bathtub.


How Do I Apply Bathtub Paint?


Rust-Oleum Tub & Tile can be applied with an airless sprayer or a high-quality, ¼-inch nap roller. If you use a paint roller, you can also use a high-quality paint brush to work the coating into tight spaces, such as corners and around the faucet. It’s important to apply the coating lightly to prevent it from dripping or showing stroke marks, and maintain a wet edge as you work.


After you’ve applied a coat of bathtub epoxy, let it dry for 1-2 hours before adding a second light coat. After the second coat has dried for an hour, remove the painter’s tape. Let the coating dry overnight before re-caulking. Then, let everything dry for a few days before hanging a shower curtain or running water.


How Will My Refinished Bathtub Look and Feel?


A tub refinished with Rust-Oleum Tub & Tile looks and feels like real porcelain. The durable epoxy coating is designed to resist scratches and yellowing, which means your refinished bathtub will continue to look great for years to come.


Is There a Shower Floor Paint?


In some cases, you can use a bathtub epoxy coating as a shower floor paint. If your bathroom has a shower stall rather than a tub, shower floor paint can be a great way to give it an update. Before you begin, determine what material your shower floor is made from. If the shower floor is ceramic, porcelain or fiberglass, you can use Rust-Oleum Tub & Tile to refinish it, following the same process you would with a bathtub.


Can I Paint My Bathroom Floor?


Painting your tile floors is a great alternative to a messy and costly replacement. Whether you want to paint your tile a solid color or give it a stenciled design, it's important to choose a paint that's made especially for floors. Rust-Oleum HOME Floor Coating provides durability against foot traffic, scratches and stains, making it an ideal choice for tile floors.


How Can I Maintain My Refinished Bathtub or Shower?


You can maintain your refinished tub with basic bathroom cleaners and soft towels and sponges. Do not use muriatic acid or abrasive cleaners or sponges on the bathtub epoxy.


With proper application and full cure, Rust-Oleum Tub & Tile provides an ultra-hard, durable finish. If repairs are ever needed, a Rust-Oleum Tub & Tile Touch-Up Kit can be used to fix nicks and scratches.


Bathtub paint lets you save money and time and avoid the mess that can come with a bathroom remodeling project. By choosing a quality bathtub coating and following the necessary steps, your refinished tub can help make your bathroom look new again.