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How to Change the Color of Your Bathtub With and Without Paint in 2024

No matter the bathtub, it’s no secret that they all require proper care and maintenance for them to keep their luster as well as their ability to run properly. Painting your bathtub is an excellent way to help you maintain the protective layer over your bathtub’s surface as well as denoting a sense of cleanliness. The color of paint can also help to create a more calming enjoyable experience depending on the colors you choose. In this article, we will be describing the benefits of touching up your bathroom and what colors are available for you.

What are common bathtub refinishing colors?

When it comes to bathtub colors, the type of material your bathtub is comprised of will ultimately decide your initial color choices. If you have a natural stone bathtub such as solid stone, marble or granite, then your basic refinishing colors will fit between a color spectrum of white, red,brown and black. Now, if your bathtub is comprised of acrylic, fiberglass or porcelain however, your color spectrum will sit between a wide array of colors such as blue, green, pink and yellow to name just a few.

Common natural stone bathtub paint colors

  • Brown
  • White
  • Red
  • Black
  • Dimmer red

Common acrylic, fiberglass or porcelain bathtub paint colors

  • Blue
  • Navy blue
  • Green
  • Pink
  • Purple
  • Yellow
  • Tan
  • Metallic

How your bathtub color can change the mood of your bathroom

Different colors in your bathroom can drastically alter your mood. White, for example, can denote a sense of cleanliness in your bathroom. This is also why white tends to be a more popular option in many bathrooms as many people want a clean looking bathroom.

Brighter colors such as green, blue and lavender also helps to create a more soothing environment as they are seen as “fresh” colors or more natural colors and can help to relax one’s self. Of course this doesn’t mean that darker colors are discouraged as darker colors can also hide blemishes in your bathroom as well as amplify specific areas of your bathroom.

For example, having a dark or black bathtub can amplify the aesthetics of your bathroom and any exterior decorations such as lights or any tiles that are set up as the bathtub will then be seen as having a very sleek and seamless appearance.

Can you paint a bathtub?

The short answer to this question is yes, you can paint your bathtub, but this doesn’t mean you can simply run to the hardware store and pick out your favorite color. Since your bathtub will be under constant water deluge, it will require a waterproof solution to keep from stripping-something normal paint cannot do. The solution is to go to your local hardware store or an online vendor and obtain a refinishing kit or specialized bathtub paint, which will contain a a waterproof paint solution for your bathtub.

For every type of bathtub, there are refinishing kits that come with its own compound which is suitable for that bathtub material-ultimately the purpose is for the material to adhere properly, otherwise you may mix and match as you feel. For acrylic and fiberglass, it is epoxy, whereas acrylic urethane enamel is suggested for cast iron. Cast iron specifically requires a primer for the paint to adhere better to its surfaces, so it is best to do your own research in regards to what fits your budget. In any case, all refinishing kits contain toxic fumes when applying, so it is best to take proper precautions before undertaking this project yourself.

Painting a bathtub with a refinishing kit

As stated above, changing the color of your bathtub will usually involve a prepackaged kit. These kits can be found at any online retailer or your local home improvement store and contain a chemical compound that will replace the finish on your bathtub.

What comes with a bathtub paint refinishing kit

A finishing kit typically includes:

  • Refinishing paint, somewhere between 8-16 ounces
  • Liquid primer
  • Hardener
  • Etching cleaner
  • Sandpaper
  • Tack rag
  • Tray
  • Rollers
  • Foam brush
  • Non slip additive

How long does it take to paint your bathtub with a refinishing kit?

The process of refinishing your bathtub will typically take anywhere between 24-48 hours for the paint to fully dry with at least 3-4 hours dedicated to stripping the finish on your old bathtub. The refinishing paint will adhere much better the more you decide to sand and clean your existing bathtub surface before applying.

Precautions before starting

The largest precaution you should take before starting this process is to wear a ventilated mask, and to keep the area you are working in properly ventilated. The paint will give off toxic fumes so it is vital that you do not inhale. Also, make sure to properly clean your bathtub and sand as this will save you much headache down the road from having to repaint.

How to change the color of your bathtub with a refinishing kit – step by step

1. Clean the bathtub thoroughly, removing any existing caulk and built up shower residue with a putty knife and sand down any rough surfaces.

2. Remove the bathtub faucet and any additional hardware

3. Cover the area around the bathtub, open windows and provide proper ventilation

4. Using the kit’s etching powder, dull the finish with some water so that the new coating will bond to it. Rise the tub after

5. Sand the bathtub while it is wet to roughen the surface and improve the bonding. After, rinse the bathtub and let it dry fully before continuing-you may use paper towels and the dry tack cloth to completely remove any dust or residue.

6. Using the roller, apply the primer and let it dry as instructed.

7. Mix in the epoxy coating and apply to the bathtub with the roller, alternating between vertical and horizontal strokes to prevent overdripping. Finish any edges or cracks with the sponge brush.

8. Once the first coat is finished, apply the second immediately. Your aim is about three to four layers.

9. Let the bathtub cure for 48 hours, keeping it well ventilated.

10. Buff the coating, if directed. Some refinishers require buffing, while others do not. Reinstall faucet and other attachments, then caulk the bathtub and let it cure overnight before using the bathtub.

Painting a bathtub with bathtub liners

You can also change the color of your bathtub by using a bathtub liner. This is a PVC plastic or acrylic sheet molded to fit the bathtub you have in your bathroom. The special adhesive ensures that the liner is secured, which also makes the entire process a bit more time-consuming than bathtub refinishing. However, it’s still much cheaper than replacing your bathtub. One thing you will need to keep in mind with bathtub liners is that if they do not fit perfectly or become detached over time, you will need to invest more money to change your bathtub color.

Can you paint a bathtub without a refinishing kit?

For those who do not wish to use a refinishing kit, there are bathtub specific paints available. The process is more or less the same, but there are a wider variety of colors available and the price will be slightly lower than a refinishing kit. Also note that hiring a professional adds the side benefit of having a wider selection of colors to choose from if that is what you desire.

What do you need:

  • Painter tape
  • Bathroom specific paint
  • Hardening solution
  • Cover or tarp
  • Brush or sponge roller

How long does it take to paint your bathtub without a refinishing kit?

Similar to finishing with a refinishing kit, this process will take anywhere between 36-48 hours. There are instances where the paint will dry faster than the recommended time, but given that this paint will need to last for several years, it is best to be cautious.

Precautions before starting

As with a refinishing kit, keep your area well ventilated. Bathroom paint is not as potent as refinishing paint is, but inhaling paint fumes is never recommended.

How to paint your bathtub without a refinishing kit – step by step

1. Clean your bathtub thoroughly using a powdered cleanser or a limescale remover

2. Sand the entire surface of your bathtub until it is no longer shiny-a roughened surface will allow the paint to adhere better. Rinse away the dust and wipe the tub down with a microfiber cloth, allowing it to dry completely.

3. Apply a ring of painter’s tape around the edges of your bathtub and fixtures, including your drain, trimming any excess off.

4. Most bathtub paints will contain a hardener, if not, mix your hardener with your paint as directed by the hardener instructions.

5. Apply a base coat with a brush or roller, making sure to work quickly to avoid drips or streaks. After the first coat is applied, allow it to dry for 1-2 hours.

6. Apply a second coat, taking care not to leave streaks or drips.

7. Finish with an epoxy thinner, then remove the painter’s tape after an hour or so. Let the bathtub dry for at least 36 hours before use.

Repainting your bathtub can breathe new life into an old bathtub without having to replace it completely. No matter what type of bathtub you own, there are a wide variety of color options on the market, and whether you hire a professional or undertake this project yourself, the process is quite simple, so consider repainting or refinishing that old bathtub of yours.

Paint or Replace Your Bathtub?

There is always an option to purchase the bathtub in the color you want or get a new model with materials that are easier to paint on. Of all the options out there, this one is going to cost you the most, but for some homeowners, this is the only option to upgrade the look of their bathroom. 

Whichever of these options you choose in the end, whether it’s painting with or without a refinishing kit or buying a new bathtub, you should discuss your plans with a bathroom remodeling company to ensure the changes you make don’t negatively affect your experience or budget. 

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Derek Swain
Derek Swain
3 years ago

Thank you for mentioning how white bathrooms can help make the area appear cleaner. I remember my brother mentioning how the bathtub in his fixer-upper home has started to turn orange from water stains, and he would like to find a way to resurface it before he hosts a house party this weekend. Maybe he should find an expert that can help him resurface the tub.

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