Brightening the Bathtub for $60

Heathered Nest
by Heathered Nest
1 Material
6 Hours
Just like 80's hair, the color "almond" was BIG in the 1980s and early 1990s. Off-white, beige, buff...whatever you wanna call it, we liked it to tile our homes with. Preferably in a 4"x4" square. That was rad. What's funny is that in a decade where neon was thought to be so awesome, we sure played it safe when choosing our tile.
Hey, things come, things go. But just like they said in that great 1994 SNL sketch, it's now about time for us to be saying "buh - bye" to our outdated almond tile.
The thing about tile, and bathroom remodeling, in general, is that it's EXPENSIVE. And we're taking a serious hiatus this year on all things pricey. Like, for date night, I'm looking at restaurant reviews that say THIS: $ and DO NOT say THIS: $$$$ (and in all honesty, date night didn't even make the final budget proposal this year...we'll be date nighting it a casa con take-out while we DIY this bathroom to save some loot).

Same thing for this kids bath project we're working on. Now, in an ideal world where I had enough cash-on-hand to start a foundation like Bill and Melinda Gates (who, sidenote...happen to be the epitomy of the word "hero"), then I would probably go for broke, rip out all this outdated builder grade bleh and start anew...
But I need the OPPOSITE of going for broke. I need the million dollar look at rock bottom pricing, because I don't need to be floating a loan in that bathtub in lieu of a rubber ducky.

SO, my solution is a Rust-Oleum tub and tile refinishing kit (details on the blog).
To demolish, purchase and install a new tub and shower surround would have cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $1000-2000. With this kit, I can refinish the existing tub and surround, making it a clean white, for $60 TOTAL.

Since this tub and shower are always behind a shower curtain, and used by our children, who we've established prefer NOT to clean themselves in anyway, I feel like this is kind of a no-brainer.
This DIY is not difficult, but we did learn a lot along the way. If you're interested in all the down and dirty (and very stinky) details, head over to the blog post. It's all spelled out for you there.
Done!! OK, so if you were expecting a miracle, you're banging on the wrong bathroom door. It's still 4x4 tile, folks. But there was no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater here, you know? It was a perfectly functional tub and shower. I just wanted a little bit of an update. And for less $60, I think we done good.

Now, I have no illusions that this will be a lifetime fix. I think that within a couple years, this remedy will be showing some signs of wear and tear. I could be wrong. Good thing is that there is also a patch kit for this product!! I'm going to buy some now because I know that as we continue this reno project, the chance that this tub is going to be dinged during tile installation or something is exceedingly high.
Now that the surround and tub are squared (literally) away, how bout this shower/tub faucet kit? Think I'm getting rid of it? No chance. Gonna paint these suckers too. More on that maybe next week.

If you are interested in our plans for the rest of this bathroom, make sure to hit up the blog. And if you just dig bathroom renovations, check out some of our others on our blog.

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Suggested materials:
  • RustOleum Tub and Tile Kit   (
Heathered Nest
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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3 of 5 questions
  • Mike Cavanaugh Mike Cavanaugh on Jun 04, 2017
    Another option for you.

    I live on an older yacht. Same situation.

    I painted the tiles with a rubber paint. Works great and seals the whole area. It peels of easily.

    You get it in spray or liquid. Various colors. Lowes and Home Depot

  • Maribeth Maribeth on Jun 21, 2018

    Is there some way to paint only the grout if the tile looks fine?

  • Royce Royce on Jul 04, 2019

    The tile in my bathroom is that vinyl/plastic type stuff!😏 can it be painted as well????

Join the conversation
3 of 51 comments
  • Brenda Turner Brenda Turner on Feb 18, 2019

    i have been thinking about doing it. Just got to get my husband on board with the idea that you can paint tile..He saus you will be peeling paint off in just a short while. So the project as of now is just a discussion.

    • Kim Kim on Jun 16, 2019

      I have used epoxy on my tiles and cast iron tub, it’s amazing! I had to redo it about 18 months later but well worth it. Best to get a mask, the smell gave me a huge headache and made me dizzy.

  • Dorothy Dorothy on May 01, 2020

    i cannot find the complete details about how to... the needed list only shows rust kit. I thought there was a video also....hummm. Totally lost.😩 ....New to this site...👶😉