Plastic bathtubs are generally long-lasting. However, it’s common for the soap buildup, hard water, and other residues to degrade the finish and luster, making your plastic bathtub appear filthy, drab, and old. While it may be appealing to replace your tub, this is both a costly and time-taking process.

You can paint a plastic bathtub to help revive or modernize it. Over time, bathtubs become tainted with oils that our bodies naturally release, and painting it can provide a new sense of hygiene. Or, paint it a certain color to provide a fresh and more relaxing ambiance to your bathroom.

In this article, I’ll explain how you can paint your plastic bathtub, including the best ways to paint it, how much time this project takes, the preferred paints to use, and more.

Best Way to Paint Your Plastic Bathtub

Painting your bathtub is a very practical option; however, it requires a special paint. You can’t just use the leftover paints from other DIY jobs that you have sitting in your basement or shed. You know your bathtub would be filled with water most of the time, hence, you’ll need a paint resistant to water to protect it from peeling. Unfortunately, this is something regular paint won’t be able to achieve.

The remedy is to purchase a specialized kit created for refinishing plastic tubs, which will include a water-resistant paint to use, or seek out a water-resistant paint of your preference. You can usually find these at your local hardware or supply shop or an e-commerce site.

There are various refinishing kits for all types of tubs available on the market, so you’re sure to find something that’ll work for you. These kits come with assorted items compatible with your bathtub material. Ultimately, the goal is to create a secure bond to the existing finish, but you’re free to pick and choose as you see fit.

Epoxy is recommended for plastic and fiberglass, and acrylic enamel is also a viable option. it’s wise to do your homework to see what matches your budget. Also, every refinishing kit will emit harmful fumes when used, so take adequate measures before attempting this painting task on your own.

Use of a Restoration Kit to Paint a Bathtub

As previously mentioned, altering your bathtub’s color will almost always necessitate the use of a readymade kit. These kits include a chemical substance that’ll restore the finish of your bathtub and may be obtained at your local hardware store or online vendors.

The following items are usually included in a finishing kit:

  • Between 8 to 16 ounces of refinishing paint
  • A primer in liquid form
  • Etching cleaner for hardeners
  • Tack rag
  • Sandpaper
  • Tray rollers
  • Anti-slip agent
  • Foam brush

Necessary Precautions Before Painting Your Bathtub

Wearing a vented mask and keeping the space you’re working in well aired are highly recommended before beginning this project. The paint emits harmful fumes; therefore, you must take these precautions. Also, be sure to clean your plastic bathtub thoroughly and sand it properly, as this can save you a lot of time and money in the long run by preventing you from having to repaint.

How Long It Takes to Paint a Plastic Bathtub

Painting a plastic bathtub can take around 1 to 2 days for the paint to properly dry, with around 4 hours spent on removing the previous bathtub’s finish. Keep in mind, the more time you spend cleaning and sanding the existing surface before applying the refinishing paint, the better the paint will stay.

Best Suited Paints for Plastic Bathtubs

Acrylic paint such as the RTG Supply Co. Refinishing Paint (available on Amazon) is the best choice to revive the tub’s original elegance. Its non-toxic formula dries fast and creates a finish with an amazing resistance to high water temperatures.

RTG Supply Co. Shower & Tub Refinishing Paint (Cream)
  • Attractive low-sheen finish makes faded, unsightly...
  • A fast, easy, economical alternative to expensive...
  • For acrylic, fiberglass, & enamel surfaces in good...
  • Low-VOC, eco-friendly formula has no toxic...

However, before applying the acrylic enamel on plastic bathtubs, they must be chemically cleaned to take off soap scum, mineral deposits, and any grease. If you’re going to use conventional acrylic paint, you’ll need to prime the surface with a primer made especially for plastic, as it helps the paint stick to the surface better.

Evenly apply the primer to a properly sanded, well-dried, and chemically cleaned plastic tub. Keep in mind, if the acrylic paint is exclusively made for plastic surfaces, it can be put directly over the base coat.

Another great option is epoxy. Unlike ordinary interior paint, which cracks and peels when exposed every day to hot water and other material, epoxy has excellent adhesion and is very durable if cured. With epoxy paints, You may paint not just the bathtub but surrounding tiles also.

How to Paint a Plastic Bathtub

Once you know what the best paint to apply to your bathtub and what precautions should be taken, you’re ready to paint your old bathtub and turn it into a wholly renewed bathroom fitting.

Let’s go through the step-by-step process for this project:

  1. Remove soap scum, grease, and filth from the surface of your plastic bathtub using your regular cleaner.
  2. To make the paint stick better, scuff-sand the surface with 200-grit sandpaper. Sand until the sandpaper is completely worn away. After that, use warm water to wash away the sand dust from your tub. Allow for thorough drying.
  3. Use epoxy filler to plug in cracks holes, crease out the dents, then smooth them out with a putty knife. Allow 24 hours for the epoxy to dry.
  4. Use paper tape to prevent the primer from getting on surrounding knobs, tiles, and other fittings.
  5. If you’re using paints that have been specially designed to stick to plastics, skip the priming of the surface. For a quicker job, I recommend either Krylon Plastic Paint or Rust-Oleum Paint For Plastic Spray because their super bond formulas don’t require you sand or prime the plastic surface.
  6. Applying primer or a bonding agent is the next step before painting. This will be crucial to attaining an excellent finishing. Allow at least 2 to 3 hours for the primer to dry before applying your chosen color.
  7. Mix and shake the paint then pour a third of it into a plastic paint tray. Be sure to follow all instructions given for mixing.
  8. Apply the paint using a brush to areas that are difficult to reach. This includes corners, drains, and around fittings.
  9. Using a paint roller, coat the rest of your bathtub with the paint. Apply three coats, allowing 1 to 2 hours between each application to dry.
  10. Remove the paper tape and wait for your tub to dry. Wait two full days for it to completely dry before using your remodeled tub.

Conclusion

The good news is that you can definitely paint your plastic bathtub. Many have found that painting plastic tubs at home can help give an outdated bathtub new life. This is a great technique to hide old stains and give your bathroom a fresh look.

However, you must take care to perform each step properly, starting with cleaning and sanding the surface properly before applying primer. Also, be sure to evenly apply all three coats of paint and allow the tub to dry fully before use.

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