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Got an ugly bath tub or other fixture? With some experience and practice you might be able to repaint it

Updated on December 31, 2012

Epoxy Spray coatings are available at hardware and home centers to refurbish damaged plumbing fixtures

There’s nothing better than a factory coating and repainting a perfectly good fixture may not be a good choice.

Painting may also not be the solution for everyone.

Once painted the fixture will have to be used carefully and may need touch up.

However, if you have an ugly or damaged fixture such as a bath tub repainting it using one of these epoxy kits might be a solution instead of an expensive bathroom redo.

At least it may extend it to save having to shell out dollars now.

Our particular bath tub had something heavy dropped in the center and had chipped the porcelain to where it had began to rust.

It is used as a quest bath and therefore not used daily. The ceramic tile was also in good condition, not really warranting a complete tear out and redo.

If the fixture is used daily you might expect to repaint or the need to touch up ever five years as the surface will likely scratch or eventually chip.

May be even more often if you have kids that won’t keep wet shampoo bottles and soap dishes off the surface to completely dry after each use.

Realizing this potential and not wanting to go to the expense of a tear out or a commercial refinishing company these home owner kits might be a good option to extend the life of the fixture.

These paint kits may also be a good option to repaint other porcelain appliances or to refurbish a porcelain top on an antique Hoosier style cabinet.

The paint kits do require extreme health cautions such as the use of a respirator and fan to ventilate the fumes out a window.

The fumes are also flammable so if the bath room has a gas heater or water heater the pilot lights will need to be shut off.

As with any paint project surface preparation is the key to a good outcome. In addition to following the prep instructions you will also want to spend considerable time in cleaning out all the old caulking around the edges so the surface can receive a bonding paint job back in and under the edge of ceramic tile and other back splashes.

Use a razor blade scraper to be sure all the silicone type caulking has been removed as the new paint will not adhere to any residue left on the surface.

Taping off and using heavy paper to prevent over spray from damaging the walls, fixtures and other surfaces is important.

When removing the tape score the painted edge with a razor blade to prevent the tape from peeling off the painted edge of the fixture as the tape is pulled off.

If you haven’t painted using spray paint before or for a while, it is probably a good idea to purchase a can or spray paint and practice outside on a cardboard box or do another project to obtain the right distance and spray pattern to prevent orange peel and or runs.

You will want to graduate from this cheaper paint project to the more expensive epoxy kit so you don’t waste a can and end up purchasing another kit.

We found this project to be a bit more difficult than painting a cabinet. It reminded us more of auto body painting.

Orange Peel is a condition where the surface looks like an orange with a less than smooth looking surface. Applying too much paint at one time will create spots that drip and run.

Spray painting requires a steady rhythm to apply light even coats that do not drip. We found using this epoxy paint also required us to maintain a certain distance and cadence to prevent over spray from flowing over and leaving the surface all ready painted rough.

Also spray cans can be hard to maneuver to make all the turns and corners inside of the bath tub especially the side facing outward. If the can is turned upside down for too long it tends to sputter out the paint creating bumps in the paint job.

If you mess up let it dry and sand and apply the next coat. Just like any other finish it takes several coats and a light sanding in between. The epoxy will need to dry a certain number of hours between coats.

We found with two cans in the kit that we had plenty left over even with all the mistakes in starting out.

The tub should be caulked again around the edges using only a water based caulking. Other silicone caulks may not be compatible with the paint.

The tub and ledges will have to be kept clear of soap dishes and shampoo bottles so the surface will completely air dry.

In our case we mounted a glass wall shelf for bathrooms to hold the bottles and soap dish.

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