How to paint a bathtub

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for a bathtub to become discoloured with age. Fibreglass is prone to scratching and cast-iron tubs can get chipped and rusty.

However, there is a simple and cost-effective solution that will save you from buying a new one.

This is how to paint your bathtub.

Tools needed:

  • Putty knife
  • Dustsheets
  • Masking tape
  • Rubber gloves
  • Overalls
  • Protective glasses
  • Cloth
  • Sandpaper
  • For fibreglass bathtubs:
    • Course brush
    • Trisodium phosphate
    • Acrylic latex spray paint
    • Epoxy spray paint
  • For cast-iron bathtubs:
    • Alkaline emulsifier
    • Acid-based citrus cleaner
    • Denatured alcohol
    • Fibreglass putty
    • Oil-based, rust-resistant primer
    • Oil-based enamel


1. If your bathtub is flaking, you’ll first need to strip it of its worn out paint. Find out how to restore a peeling bathtub here.
2. Remove old chalk with a putty knife and remove the drain cover.
3. Protect the floor and surrounding walls with dustsheets and masking tape.
4. Put on your rubber gloves and goggles for safety.

If you’re painting a fibreglass bathtub:

5. Scrub the tub with a heavy duty cleaner, such trisodium phosphate, and a course brush.
6. Rinse with cold water.
7. Allow to dry.
8. Using sandpaper, scrub the tub until gritty, and then brush away dust with a cloth.
9. Paint the tub with acrylic latex spray paint. You’ll need to hold the can about eight inches from the surface, slowly moving it from side to side to get an even coverage.
10. Allow paint to dry for at least six hours, leaving the bathroom windows open for ventilation.
11. Lastly, use the same spraying technique to apply the epoxy paint.
12. Wait at least eight hours for the paint to dry before using the bathtub.

If you’re painting a cast-iron bathtub:

5. Wipe the surface with an alkaline emulsifier before you start.
6. Apply an acid-based citric cleanser to neutralise the emulsifier.
7. Rinse and dry the bathtub, then use a cloth saturated with denatured alcohol to clean the surface.
8. Trowel fibreglass putty into any chips and scratches before using sandpaper to smooth them over.
9. Wipe down the bathtub and apply your oil-based, rust-resistant primer.
10. Allow four hours for the primer to dry.
11. Repeat the wet sanding and wipe the tub clean.
12. Paint the bathtub with an oil-based enamel in your desired colour and allow the paint to completely dry.
13. Gentry rub the tub with wet sandpaper to ensure it’s smooth and remove grit with a cloth.
14. Apply a second coat of the enamel for a professional finish.

Remember to always refer to the instructions and safety warnings on the products you buy, as each manufacturer’s advice may vary.

Your bath should now be as good as new, and most likely, it’ll look the most stylish it’s ever been!

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