How to Paint a Bathtub

Lindsay Fay
by Lindsay Fay
7 Materials
3 Days

My bathtub was in pretty bad shape, complete with chips, holes and a corroded drain. Some special bathtub paint and a TON of prepwork later, it looked like a totally new tub!

My bathtub really was in poor shape, so I grabbed some special tub and tile paint to give it a new look.

I wish I could say it was a quick "paint and done" project, but it really wasn't. I prepped the bathtub for two full days before I started painting. Step one was filling the chips with an epoxy putty.

Then there was a litany of cleaning steps: 1) clean with bleach and water, 2) Clean with abrasive cleaner, 3) Scrub with lime-away and an abrasive pad. Since I was really worried about the paint adhering to the tub, I was diligent in doing these steps thoroughly, so it took awhile.

I was worried removing the caulk would take awhile too, but it actually went quickly compared to everything else. After I'd taken the caulk off, I sanded the entire tub with high grit sandpaper.

At this point, I was starting to feel like I was close to actually painting. I removed the drain, and then taped up the faucets and nearby walls.

Finally, it was time to paint. This stuff smells awful, so I put a fan in the window to help ventilate the room.

I used Rustoleum's Tub and Tile kit. It took three coats to cover the bathtub and surround, which used up two kits of the paint. I have plenty of tips and tricks on using this stuff over in the full blog post, so be sure to check it out if you're thinking of doing your own tub!

A few days later, I caulked the tub. Then the bathtub was done!

It looks so much better than before! - no more chips, stains, or holes! I'm not going to say the process was easy, but it was totally worth it!

Plus, it matches my new bathroom super well! I'm not completely done yet, but you can go get a sneak peak of the bathroom over on my DIY Vanity Lights post (which were an amazing scrap wood/items project themselves!)

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Lindsay Fay
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
  • Corrinne Tryon Corrinne Tryon on Jun 02, 2020

    Did you need to caulk the tile first. Will this work on tile that needs to be recaulked?

  • Susan Susan on Aug 07, 2020

    Do you know if you can do this procedure to a fiberglass bathtub and surround kit?

  • Carol Koch Carol Koch on Jun 03, 2021

    How can I fix my tub of it has cracks in it. It is a Mobile Home tub

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2 of 9 comments
  • Leslie Leslie on Jun 03, 2021

    Hi Lindsay, Good job on the restoration of your bathtub and surround. I did this several years ago to my tub and surround but used the Homax product which I do not endorse at all. It was a spray can and no matter how much plastic draping I taped up the spray seemed to find a way out of the bathroom. I have checked out the Rustoleum product that you use with a sponge roller and its reviews are really good. Thank you for posting your process and each time I see someone using this product I get more satisfied that it will do the job. That being said your prep work made the difference also be proud that you took the time to do it right :)👍️

  • Annie Annie on Jun 03, 2021

    Thank you. I was planning this for July.

    nice to hear the work involved 👍

    it looks amazing. Nice work.