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Budget Fixes for a Damaged Bathtub
It’s one of those homeowner nightmares. You've just bought a nice, new, steel bath—known for its extra durability—and you've somehow managed to scratch it. Was it the ornament you accidentally dropped? Was it the kids' toys? Or was it some rarely seen monster that takes great pleasure in scratching random baths?
Whatever it was, don’t fret! Before you rush out to waste money on a new one, you should know that the scratch can easily be repaired, and it shouldn't cost you much either. If there is only a small amount of damage, you should be able to buy one of the many DIY enamel scratch and chip repair kits available, and they're so easy that anyone can use them.
However, if the damage is extensive, then you would have to get the bath to be repaired by a resurface service. Hopefully, it’s only the former of the two, but how do you do it?
What You Need (Depending on the Damage)
- DIY enamel scratch and chip repair kit (should come with hardener)
- Eye protection and respirator (for sanding)
- Rag or cloth
- Sandpaper (various grits, see 'Repairing Gouges' below)
- Hand vacuum or brush
- Water putty
- Plastic spreader
Repairing Minor Scratches and Chips
No doubt you have already identified the scratch or chip in your bath or else you wouldn’t be reading this! If the scratch or chip is small, then you shouldn't worry too much as you can probably repair it yourself, but it needs to be dealt with quickly, as even a tiny chip can encourage rust to develop.
Grab a DIY enamel scratch and chip repair kit, which are designed to repair damage and flaking on enamel, ceramic and acrylic surfaces. This is perfect for repairing your steel bath surface, and while the majority of kits are available in white, there are also extra colour choices available from some companies if you need them. Most kits will last you about seven uses for average-size repairs.
Prep and Surface Cleaning Before Beginning
Before you begin the repair you need to make sure the surface of your bath is properly cleaned. You should be keeping it regularly cleaned anyway, as otherwise, you'll begin to notice discolouration and a lack of smoothness to the material.
You should not use abrasive cleaners as this can damage the surface of the bath. After cleaning dry the bath extensive and remove any flakiness that may be apparent around the scratched or damaged spot. Don't touch the surface again after this as your fingers may make the bath greasy again.
Make sure you follow the instructions that come with whatever kit you’ve decided to buy, filling in the affected area before leaving to try. With some kits, you will need to use epoxy and hardener, which need to be mixed together before use. Apply the first coat and leave to dry, before applying a second to add that finishing touch.
Directions on Repairing a Scratched Steel Bath
This will require a little more work than a minor scratch, but it’s still simple enough to carry out.
Firstly get hold of some sandpaper, around 220-grit, to sand the affected area and remove any loose flaky bits and other imperfections. Once this has been thoroughly accomplished you need to step it up to a higher, and thus finer, grade of sandpaper such as 800-grit.
Keep sanding it in layers until you’re satisfied, and then get a brush or a hand vacuum to remove any debris left over. Quickly apply some acetone with a rag. If the gouge is more than 3 or 8 inches deep then apply water putty using a plastic spreader and leave it to dry for several hours.
All you need to do then is apply the repair kit the same way as you would with a minor scratch (see above).
Read More From Dengarden
Repairing Deep Damage
If the damage is deep then do not despair, it can still be repaired by you. To begin with you need to mix together equal parts of epoxy and hardener, filling the holes with this mixture. The epoxy works to replace sections of the missing surface, solidifying after being allowed to dry for up to 72 hours.
Once the epoxy mixture has finally dried you need to carry out the sanding process described above, followed swiftly by using the repair kit. If there is extensive damage to the bath you will most likely need more than one repair kit, so be prepared for that eventuality.
If All Else Fails, There Are Other Options
There are many companies out there that can resurface steel baths professionally, and it should hopefully cost you less than the price of a new bath (otherwise why would you bother?) but check that before you begin the process. The enamel coating on your steel bath would have to be removed, leading to a spot repair or a complete resurface of the bath.
If you’re having your bath repaired in the bathroom then it will be re-coated with a spray on enamel bath paint, which is intended to restore the original smooth surface. UV lights or heat are pointed at the surface and after 24 hours it should be fine to use again. Doing it this way is much cheaper, plus it will save you the effort of getting the bath out of the bathroom in the first place.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2012 Thomas Mulrooney
Thomas Mulrooney (author) from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on August 06, 2015:
No problem Larry :-)
Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on July 29, 2015:
Very helpful tips. Thanks.
Thomas Mulrooney (author) from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on May 23, 2014:
Dolus, some of them are pretty damn sturdy believe me :D
Dolus on May 23, 2014:
If the gouge is more than 3 or 8 inches deep.
WOW! what are these baths made of, The armour from discarded Tiger tanks?
Thomas Mulrooney (author) from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on August 08, 2012:
Catsimmons, thanks for the comment!
Yes it is, I don't want people to go through the expense of having to resurface their bath if it's not needed. People can do more DIY in their homes then they think, even if they believe they're awful at DIY.
Catherine Simmons from Mission BC Canada on August 08, 2012:
Very useful hub...good to know that resurfacing isn't the only option!