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DIY Refinishing Tub & Bath Surround ?

bunda3's picture

Hi All,

I'm going to remodel my bathroom and the tub and shower surround is a one-piece, which I like, but it's baby blue, which I don't.  It's original to the house (1976), so I'm guessing it's fiberglass or acrylic.....?  It's not iron/porcelain anyway. 

My question is: can anyone help me figure out where to get the best (and still cost-effective) DIY bathtub refinishing kit?  I've seen the Rustoleum kit (brush-on), and several on the internet that seem to range from a special spray paint to a professional multi-concoction scheme requiring special paint spraying equipment, which I'm not against, just wonder if there's a general concensus of what's a good DIY bath refinishing product.

I posted this under "Green Building" because along with my frugality (I'm cheap but I tip well), I'm trying to throw less stuff in the landfill on my remodel.

Thanks for your consideration!

(post #157713, reply #1 of 20)

 I have never seen a do it yourself paint,epoxy work worth a diddly. I have seen every one peel. Even with meticulous preperation they fail.

(post #157713, reply #2 of 20)

This is the newest & latest thing in bathroom remodeling

It's called one day bathroom remodeling

We have a franchise here in Wichita and I stopped by and checked it out recently

(post #157713, reply #3 of 20)

Sadly, tear it out, gift it to H for H,( that should help you conscience) put in something you like, and move on. Life is too short for the various kluges (quick,dirty, and temporary) out there for you to regret. 

Edited 11/28/2008 11:18 pm ET by s crough

(post #157713, reply #4 of 20)

what you are working with is the same as a boat.fiberglass const with a blue gel coat.

i coming at this from being in automotive body and paint for 30 years. first get you some dawn liquid dishwasher soap and a red scuff pad.

get in there and scrub and clean everynook and cranny very well, let it dry. then get some wax and grease remover follow the directions,this is the easiest step. now  get you a bucket of water and "sand" every bit of it with a new red scuff pad. now if i was you i would remove the faucet trim and shower trim.

find a local auto paint dealer. you will need 1 qt of epoxy sealer,in ppg it's called dp40,you'll also need 1 qt of colr [white]in acrylic urethane. andall the thinners . this is going to cost in the area of 125.

now mask the shower off and dropclothe the rest of the bathroom.

you will need a compressor and a spray gun [harbor frieght sells one that works pretty well for 25.00] and a good mask. your ready to paint it!

if you need any other details let me know.larry

if a man speaks in the forest,and there's not a woman to hear him,is he still wrong?

the older i get ,

the more people tick me off

(post #157713, reply #5 of 20)

My only thought is that he might want to practice a while with the spray gun on something disposable. Don't ask me how I know, but I will state that it was on something that could be repaired.

Also, having worked in industry and specifying paint and cleaning systems, I cannot overemphasize how important cleaning is. In the case of cracks, the soap film just keep on soaking in, and it really takes effort to get a clean surface. But once you have that surface, you can get that (urethane?) paint to stick.

(post #157713, reply #7 of 20)

Other question, what is a "red scuff pad"?  Is that an auto body painting supply, or is this something I can get at the local Home Depot?  What would be a brand name?  Are there different "grits" like sandpaper?

Thanks again for the info.

(post #157713, reply #9 of 20)

a red scuff pad can be bought at hd.usally made by 3m but there are far as grits,yes there are different grits,red being a kind of all round type white ones are finer,i think green ones are corser.some people will call em scotchbrite pads. your wife might have a small one at the kitchen sink.

hold the train.if you got a buddie that is a automotive painter,it's time to invite him over for a big steak and drinks. if you had this all preped it would be nothing for him to shoot it for ya,while your outside grilling the steaks.

talk to him,and see what it would take for him to spray it for you.also if he would sell you a pint of wax and grease remover,3 -4 scuff pads,you would be ready to go.

you can't get this thing too clean,if i was doing it,when i thought i had it good i would get naked in the shower,with scuff pad in hand ,scrub and rinse really well.  don't let the wife see ya she'll think your somekind of pervert!!!!

if a man speaks in the forest,and there's not a woman to hear him,is he still wrong?

the older i get ,

the more people tick me off

(post #157713, reply #13 of 20)

LOL, I was thinking the same thing this morning in the shower-- my friend paints everything from cars to roll-off dumptsters for a living, why not just see if he'll do it if I get it prepped? 

Good advice!

(post #157713, reply #6 of 20)

Thanks for the information.  I appreciate the step by step info on refinishing.  It sounds somewhat complicated (except for the clean, clean, and clean some more part, which is the common theme for refinishing baths), but I like a challenge... and if I screw it up, like the other poster said, I can donate it to H for H. 

It sounds like my friend who refinishes auto bodies may be able to loan me the equipment and mask for a day.... and tell me where to buy the filler and paint.


Thanks again.

(post #157713, reply #8 of 20)

Very good info.  I've been using more specialized automotive/industrial finish products each year...good stuff in many situations.


Beer was created so carpenters wouldn't rule the world.

If I could edit my location it would say I'm now in Reno :-)

(post #157713, reply #10 of 20)

automotive products are very superior to home finish products.they are made to stand up in weather for 10+ years. but the drawback is cost. i use to use auto clearcoat on cabinets,it works great. now a gallon of clear lac in auto runs around 175.00 a gal versus 40 a gal for sw clear lac. so i have had to switch.

oh the difference is the auto is a acrylic base and sw is the old nitrocellouse lac.[back in the 50's that was used on cars] larry

if a man speaks in the forest,and there's not a woman to hear him,is he still wrong?

the older i get ,

the more people tick me off

(post #157713, reply #11 of 20)

This reminds me of a call I got a few years ago from a lady who needed her washing machine fixed. From her voice, I knew that she was in her senior years and after the usual questions (brand, description of what it was (wasn't) doing, etc), I asked her what color it was. When she said "Avocado", I told her that nobody made parts for Avocado washing machines anymore. - lol

Seriously though, I suspect that it would be much faster to replace your tub and surround than trying to refinish it.

(post #157713, reply #12 of 20)

I agree, I just hate to see a perfectly good one-piece get thrown out just because its color isn't fashionable anymore.


Thanks for the response

(post #157713, reply #14 of 20)

You could just leave it alone and claim it's a "retro" look. - lol

Edited 12/1/2008 11:56 am by Dave45

Refinishing a surface (post #157713, reply #15 of 20)

I am a professional coatings expert, I own & operate a bathtub refinishing business & my take on DIY kits keep me busy redoing the efforts of others. I will add that porcelain tubs & tiles are not like the acrylic ones because you can not sand powder coated tiles & tubs for the paint to stick. Fibeglas, & Cultured Marble tubs & showers are the best for a home owner to take on a task of painting because they sand wonderfully to ensure adhesion. Epoxy is a great primer or undercoat if you will, just dont use it for a topcoat or paint job because it is pourous (stains easy) dulls out & discolorates over time. The kits dont offer the exceptable coatings for a sucess. Paint stores do not offer anything designed for this type of painting, but there are a few that will work. Make sure it is an Acrylic Urethane with a catalist additive that mixes together to spray. I am a brush king, but I will not brush a car or bathtub because thats just silly, If I had too I would add a flow agent & use the cross hatch method in brushing as in enameling a set of cabinets. Spraying gives the effect of New,,make sure you wear a charcoal resperator any time you paint anything with a catalist additive,,,you cant breathe without it. Professionals are far & few between, so good luck & never paint without degreasing(cleaning) pre paint cleaner first.

That was a really good post! (post #157713, reply #16 of 20)

That was a really good post!  I just wish you would hit the ENTER key once in awhile to break it up so it would be easier to read :)

YAY!  I love WYSISYG editing!  And Spellcheck!


Its also a RoboSpam posted to (post #157713, reply #17 of 20)

Its also a RoboSpam posted to a 3 year-old dead thread.

Well, if it's intended to be (post #157713, reply #18 of 20)

Well, if it's intended to be spam it's an incompetent spammer -- no URL or other commercial reference.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Exactly, it almost looks like (post #157713, reply #19 of 20)

Exactly, it almost looks like the other spam sometimes posted here as he doesn't make it easy to read.

Nope, just something this forum needs more of:  Expert members willing to post good advice!


Who cares if the thread is old?  It's a trove of information that keeps getting added to.

YAY!  I love WYSISYG editing!  And Spellcheck!


Refinishing kit (post #157713, reply #20 of 20)

Hello Bunda

I see a lot kit on internet, read instructio and wacth video how they do the tubs. And i choice liquid tub liners kit.

very good results, i like it.