How to Refinish and Paint a Bathtub With Epoxy Paint

Updated on September 28, 2017
wilderness profile image

Dan has been a homeowner for some 40 years and has nearly always done his own repair and improvement tasks. He is a licensed electrician.

Yes, you can paint a tub.  This one used to be a 1970s avocado green.
Yes, you can paint a tub. This one used to be a 1970s avocado green. | Source

Can you paint a bathtub?

The short answer is "Yes, you can," but there is more to it than that. If you use some types of latex paint, I can guarantee that your satisfaction in a job well done will be very short-lived. The paint won't last past the first few baths. Things to consider before you begin:

  1. The type of paint you use will play a large part in determining the quality of the work, as will preparation. Prepping the surface and using the right materials are key to success here.
  2. The difficulty of the project needs to be considered. Are you prepared to take on a home improvement task?
  3. Your expectations of the finished product need to be evaluated. The finish will not be absolutely perfect, and if you don't like the result, it could well require a complete bathtub change.

Each of these points will be discussed in detail below.

What kind of bathtub paint should I use?

There are several products and manufactures that supply paint intended for bathtubs, tile, and sinks. Both one and two part epoxy paints can be used, and I would recommend the two part brush on epoxy paint even though it requires mixing two paints into one. Any leftover material will not be usable, but it is a small price to pay for a high quality job. The one pictured here, from Rust-Oleum, is the one used in this article, and I was very pleased with the result.

While a spray can of epoxy paint is also available and might give a better, smoother surface, it will also be extremely difficult to clean up places where the spray breached or worked its way behind the masking material. In addition, a spray requires a great deal more care in masking off areas that are not to be sprayed.

Under no circumstances should you use regular paint (not made specifically for bathtubs) as they are simply not designed to stand up under constant water conditions. It is one thing to have paint that is occasionally rained upon, and quite another to have it underwater for long periods of time.

How to Paint a Bathtub

The first step is obviously to read the directions on your chosen paint. A two part paint will require mixing the two parts into one container while a one part will not.

  1. Clean the tub thoroughly with soap and water and make any repairs as necessary before beginning. Easy-to-remove pieces such as faucet handles, trim, and the water spout should be removed. If the shower door is fitted to the bathtub, consider removing it as well; removal and installation will take only a few minutes and is probably quicker and easier than masking and carefully painting around the bottom track of the door. It may be necessary to do some sanding with 200 grit up to 600 grit sandpaper, and a thorough cleaning with TSP is a good idea as well.
  2. Mask off the wall at the tub edge with masking tape, as well as any other parts not to be painted, such as the drain. Don't try to paint right up against these items without masking them, as removal of excess epoxy paint will be difficult, if not impossible. Extra time spent masking is well worth the effort.
  3. Painting can be done with a small paintbrush for the edges that are masked off and either a large brush or a roller for the larger surfaces. Brushes and rollers won't really be cleanable, so don't use your best brush; buy a cheaper brush and discard when finished.
  4. Two coats are almost certainly required and the drying time will vary depending on which paint you use, as will the instructions for what to do with the epoxy while the tub is drying.
  5. Following the instructions for your particular paint, then re-apply after drying the recommended amount of time. Store the paint and brushes during this drying period as instructed on the paint—different paints and manufacturers recommend different storage methods.
  6. After a second drying period, remove masking tape and re-affix any removed items such as faucets. Again, check the paint instructions for the time necessary before using the bathtub and wait at least that long if not a few days longer.

Large chipped area in tub.
Large chipped area in tub.
Small chips in sink.
Small chips in sink.

My Personal Experience in Painting a Bathtub with Epoxy Paint

When my wife and I bought our latest home it came with hideous avocado green fixtures throughout the house. While I changed out the kitchen sink and toilets, I did not want the expense or work of replacing a bathtub and instead decided to try painting it.

I used a two part epoxy paint that required mixing with no trouble. Interestingly, the instructions were to store the paint brush and paint in the freezer overnight while the first coat was drying. I very nearly decided that they really meant the refrigerator, but finally wrapped the brushes in Saran Wrap and stored them, along with the paint, as instructed. The next morning the brush was still soft and pliable and the paint in good condition, ready for the second coat. (Lesson learned: Follow the instructions.)

My own paint job turned out very well, with no runs or streaks. The paint was very smooth and it was hard to tell it had been painted at all. I also painted a small bathroom sink at the same time with the only problem there being that my brush was really too large. Nevertheless, it also turned out well. I did wait a week before using the bathtub or sink even though the instructions did not indicate that it was necessary to wait that long. As I have another bathroom available, it was not a particular hardship and I felt the it wasn't worth any risk at all of peeling the paint up prematurely.

That work was done nearly 10 years ago, and I am just now seeing some chipping and peeling of the paint. One very large spot in the bathtub has chipped off, along with a couple of very small areas as well as a couple of small chips in the sink. It has actually lasted longer than I expected it to, and I plan on re-painting the bathtub. The sink, being more difficult to get a good job in and much cheaper and easier to replace, will probably be replaced in the near future along with the countertop.

Overall, with the understanding that the paint will not last forever and will need to be redone some time in the future, I found that painting was a good alternative to replacing.

Questions & Answers

  • My epoxy paint is not drying with a gloss finish?

    I have used the Rustoleum brand twice now, on different projects, and both times it came out very glossy. Could your paint roller have been too rough, or spray not put on heavy enough?

    As a fix, you might try sanding, ending up with at least 400 grit sandpaper, but it will be a tough job.

  • Can I touch-up a bathtub using epoxy paint, and a gravity brush gun?

    I can't imagine that being very successful. The epoxy paint is just too thick for any kind of gun, and I think you would have a very hard time feathering the edges into the existing. I also don't know how you would ever get the gun clean again - it would likely be a throw away after putting epoxy through it.

  • I am planning on refinishing and painting a clawfoot tub. It has flaking paint areas and am wondering if this needs to be patched first or can I just paint the epoxy over it? If it needs to be patched, what would you recommend using?

    If it is an iron tub and rusting in the flaked areas it will need a thorough sanding - all of the rust must be removed. In addition, any flaking areas need sanding to smooth the transition to the unpainted area and to ensure the flaking will stop.

    Other than that, there should be no reason to patch anything.

  • I used the rust oleum spray tub paint and its coarse like sand in spots, and not glossy anywhere. I followed the prep instructions and let it cure for a week. How can I fix it?

    If it's not too coarse, you can try to paint over it with the roll on tub paint. The only other choice is to sand it off and repaint.

© 2010 Dan Harmon


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      8 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      Hi, Lori:

      You would have to check with the company that painted it in the first place. Without knowing what kind of product they used it is impossible to say if they can re-paint or even if an epoxy paint will stick to whatever they used.

    • profile image


      8 months ago

      I had my bathtub professionally painted just over a year ago. It's chipping in a couple of places and I tried calling the company a few times and they won't return my call. Can this be repainted again (professionally)? even better, can we just repair the three small chips ourselves following your instructions?

    • profile image

      Kyriakos Triantafyllidis 

      8 months ago

      Dear Dan Harmon

      Thanks very much for all your suggestions you give to us

      the do it yourselfers.

      Details, tips and techical particulariities are valuable gifts

      to us.

      Thanks once again.

    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      10 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      You will have to remove all rust before applying: even an epoxy paint cannot make rust stick to the tub. But if you do that it should last a few years, yes.

    • profile image


      10 months ago

      my tub is very rusty and I am afraid someone is going to fall through I rent for the nest 2.5 years then I am leaving. Will this cover and seal the rust spots and keep it from rusting through for a few years or do you recommend something else???

    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      13 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      I'm sorry - all I can offer is to wait another day in the hopes that additional drying will help. Good luck!

    • profile image


      13 months ago

      I put the first coat on and it was fine then I started to apply the second coat the next day and it started bubbling up now what can I do? I just stopped because I don't want my whole tub to look like that.

    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      20 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      Hi Jody. I can only offer a couple of suggestions. If the sink isn't leaking water - the cracks are in the surface coating only - I would suggest sanding and using the epoxy paint shown here.

      If they actually go clear through I would replace the sink. If that isn't possible, coating it with fiberglass resin, or even a layer of fiberglass cloth with resin, might provide a lasting solution. Might.

    • profile image


      20 months ago

      I want to use this on my tub and also my sink,however the sink is that hard plastic and has cracks through out the bottom of the sink.How do I fill those cracks before I paint?

    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      21 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      I don't know why it could not be painted. But I'm sure you would be able to where it was chipped unless some permanent, waterproof method of filling those chips was found. Perhaps a fiberglass patch?

    • profile image


      21 months ago

      My bathtub is in need of refinishing in the inside it is chipped beyond repay can I still paint over it?

    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      3 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Probably an hour per day or there abouts.2 adults and 2 kids, each with a shower each day.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Can I ask how often the tub was being used over those ten years? Considering doing this for a child's tub, it would be soaked for roughly an hour every single day. Thus I'm curious how long it might be expected to last under such conditions.

    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Good luck with your project. It isn't a difficult one and can yield great results.

    • ClaytonDaily profile image


      4 years ago

      Great hub. I was looking for this info, my tub has nicks and scratches and I knew that latex paint wouldn't work. Saved me hiring someone and paying extra for the labor.

    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Well good! Perhaps I've done some good then by writing the hub. Good luck with whatever you choose.

    • amiebutchko profile image

      Amie Butchko 

      4 years ago from Warwick, NY

      Oh my Gosh! My husband and I were just wondering last night if it is possible to paint your bathtub! Will have to refer him to this useful hub!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Oh, thank you for this idea. I have always dreamt about changing the color of our bathtub to brighter one. I have been searching for it for very long time and finally found the best way to do it! We recently purchased our house, by the way my husband found it at really useful page. With this useful plan and my imagination I can make my bathtub fantastic. Actually, I thought that it is costly, but now I don’t think so. Without a special person I will do it by myself cheaper. To my mind it will also be a great opportunity to unite our family doing such interesting thing)) I hope that with our joint efforts we will change the bathroom for better!

    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Littlejonigreen, that would be my approach. Someone has painted the tub quick and cheap to sell the house, and you are stuck with the result. Clean all the paint off, through sanding or chemical stripper, and re-paint it properly.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Just bought a house and after a few baths the paint started peeling. It's my assumption that epoxy was not used. Should I remove all paint and or sand it before applying epoxy?

    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      I'm not familiar with that product, but epoxy paint is pretty tough. Not as tough as the original surface, but tough. I usually use just soap and water, though.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I am in the process of painting our tub. Actually waiting on the first coat to dry so I can add the 2nd. My question is about cleaning the tub. I've always used Bar Keeper's Friend, but I'm assuming that would be too abrasive on the paint. What do you recommend?


    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      My intent is to use a blunt scraper and take what I can with that. At that point I will use an orbital sander and sand both the epoxy finish and, in particular, the edge where it has chipped. You won't want a sharp edge there - it needs feathered out.

      While I expect this to leave sanding marks in the fiberglass tub, it won't hurt anything as the epoxy is so thick and could well provide better adhesion the second time around.

    • diynovice profile image


      5 years ago

      I also painted my tub about 10 years ago with good success and in the past few months it has started chipping. I also don't remember what specific kit I used. I wanted to paint it again, but I wasn't sure how to take off the rest of the finish that hasn't chipped. How are you planning to do that? I really appreciate you sharing what you have learned.

    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Well, it's certainly a viable alternative to replacing a tub. That's a major renovation project, while a couple of coats of paint only takes a few hours.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      How cool. I will have to remember this one. I have friends who love to do this sort of stuff in old homes to restore them. This would be perfect.

    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      I don't see any reason why not, as long as the shower surround does not have large flexible spots in it. While epoxy paint will have some give and flex, if the shower wall can be moved in and out 2 or 3 inches it might crack.

      Some of the older shower surrounds have had some of the wall covering behind it rot out, leaving just the thin fiberglass, and it can have considerable give.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      can this paint be used on the old fiberglass shower/tub units? Mine is blue and I am so sick of it. If I can paint this thing I will save a lot and can spend money of some new hardware and shower head for it.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I've been wanting to try this but have never known of anyone to do it. Now that I know it works I'll be putting this on my to do work list.

    • chrissieklinger profile image


      5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I will have to give this a try. We have a tub in our basement that is hideous. I tried the spray stuff but it did not hold up well and I mostly just use the tub to give my dogs a bath in so it is not used everyday. We have hard water so I am sure over time the paint will wear faster but if it even last for 5 years it is worth it. The tub was put in by the previous owner and the bathroom was built around it and it would be too much of a hassle to replace it!

    • SimeyC profile image

      Simon Cook 

      5 years ago from NJ, USA

      You might just have saved me a lot of money - this should keep my bathroom going for a few more years before I re-do the whole thing!

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 

      5 years ago from Rome, Italy

      I'll need to do this soon. Our tub was second hand when we installed it 24 years ago. Thanks for the information and tips.

    • jellygator profile image


      5 years ago from USA

      I did this on the bathtub in a house I bought. The tub was in horrible shape, but it was cast iron (way too heavy for me to move it alone, and I didn't know anyone in the area yet.) It had rust stains and scratches that were hideous! After using an epoxy kit, it looked brand new.

      I haven't tried the stuff for appliances or kitchen counters yet, but after that turnout I'm game for 'em if I ever need to.

    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      6 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      I hope it works out you, Chris - fish eyes weren't apparent in the work I did (I've only had that happen when painting a car, not with thick epoxy paint).

      Good luck on the rest of your project!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I live in Canada and bought a 2 part kit from Home Hardware - no one else sold paint kits. I didn't want to over spend by purchasing off the internet either so I just bought the only kit avail. I needed to use a mask - strong fumes and the prep is harder than one may think. I scrubbed and scraped everywhere because if there is caulk left behind you will get 'fish eyes' and it won't stick and sure enough, I got fish eyes. So the manu. says if that happens to apply 2 dots of anti-fish eye stuff in the paint for the 2nd coat. Hope it works and doesn't mean it will only half ass stick. I was dissapointed that my hard work still left behind some caulk residue..

    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      6 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      I'm very sorry, Rheafly, but I cannot. That work was done 10 years ago and I have no idea what brand was used. It was a two part system requiring mixing of the two parts of the epoxy paint, but that is all I can tell you.

      I do recall that we purchased the tub paint at Home Depot, but so long ago there is a very good chance that they no longer have it anyway.

      I'm rather surprised to hear of poor reviews, though - we have been very happy with our results. It needs re-painted now, but it HAS been ten years - that's not bad for a coat of paint on anything, let alone a bathtub.

    • profile image


      6 years ago


      We have an ugly flesh colored tub that I hate and have wanted to try to paint, but all the kits get very bad reviews. Could you tell me what type you used? Thanks!

    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      6 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      We found it worth while, mostly because tubs are especially hard and expensive to change out.

      Our tub needs another coat by now, and I will probably put it on this winter sometime. The chipped area has grown quite large. In spite of that, though, I find it worthwhile to simply paint again. It lasted for a long time.

      I might mention as well that the chipping started at the drain - next time I will take extra care to make absolutely sure that area is well painted. Perhaps even taking the drain out before painting. The outside of the tub is still beautiful after over 10 years now.

      I didn't find the smell too bad at all. An open window will help, of course.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      We were considering hiring this for about $300. There is a complete kit on Amazon - the savings are substantial - $75 for the entire kit! Will have to discuss with my husband. Is the smell really bad?

      The information you shared is invaluable - my husband hates the designer pink - if it were your avocado I would paint it myself - pink is livable until we renovate but until then I think he would enjoy the challenge of painting it white as you did 10 years ago.

      Bathroom fixtures are expensive in time and money to change out - this is a great alternative.

      Thank you so much!

    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      7 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      It was new to me, too, and I think few would ever consider it. In my case I found the avocado green tub ugly as sin and it would be a lot of work and expense to replace it.

      Epoxy tub paint took care of the problem for only a little effort and a few dollars. Definitely worth it to me.

    • hanwillingham profile image


      7 years ago

      Interesting and useful hub.Painting bathtub with epoxy sounds new to me. Thanks for the information.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)