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How To Paint a Bathtub? A Fresh Look in 10 Steps

How To Paint a Bathtub A Fresh Look in 10 Steps

Did you know that, on average, people spend around $10,000 for an average-size bathroom renovation with a bathtub? Out of that amount, a big chunk goes to replacing the bathtub, costing you $3000-$5000. Remodeling a bathroom or even repairing one is expensive, and you must be absolutely sure that the situation warrants a remodeling. Why is this important? Imagine that you have a ten-year-old bathtub. It starts to show aging signs, such as discolorization, and you want to replace it with a new one, which can cost $3k. This is where you might make an unnecessary decision if the bathtub is ten years old without any physical abnormalities and has minor surface issues, such as discoloration and minor scratches. Resolving this by painting it instead of replacing the whole bathtub is better.

This article will help you to paint a bathtub with easy steps. Without further spending time, let’s get started!

Can You Paint a Bathtub On Your Own?

YES. You can paint a bathtub on your own without any issues. But, before starting the paint job for your bathtub, you must take certain precautions to avoid health-related accidents. So, what precautions should you be aware of before painting the bathtub?

Precautions to Be Taken Before Painting the Bathtub:

Handling any paint with epoxy will emit some toxic gas. In order to avoid inhaling any toxic gases, it is best to wear a mask. Also, a well-placed ventilated fan can disperse the toxic gas easily into the environment.  If you are allergic to gas and dust, it is necessary to wear a respiratory mask before starting the project.

The next precaution is to make sure that the room is well-ventilated. Even though it is recommended to have a fan to exhaust the fumes/gas from inside the room to outside, it is better to carry out the painting job in an open space.

You should be aware of two main things before you start painting your bathtub.

How to Paint a Bathtub? DIY Edition:

Before you paint, make sure you have all the tools in your arsenal. For the DIY approach, the following tools and materials can help you get the paint job done without any issues. 

  • Caulk removal tool
  • Different grades of sandpaper (recommended grades are: 400 wet/dry and 600 wet/dry)
  • Bathtub repair kit
  • Plastic sheet rolls
  • Abrasive cleaners
  • Bathtub refinishing kit
  • Paint of your choice
  • Paint brushes (2 different sizes)
  • Paint rollers, with the stirrers 
  • Painter tape
  • Epoxy putty
  • All-green bathtub cleaner
  • Sponge and paper towel
  • Bathtub caulk

The first step is to choose the type of paint you want for your bathtub. When choosing the paint, you must check if the paint is able to withstand the high amount of moisture. Since your bathtub will be in contact with water for a long period of time, you need to ensure that the paint can withstand high moisture content. If the paint does not have that quality, you may again come into a situation where you must paint the tub again. Also, the paint that you are going to choose must be compatible with the bathtub material. For example, for an acrylic bathtub, it is best to use acrylic-based polymer paint for a high-quality and long-lasting life.

This “tip” may not be applicable to everyone, but if you want a perfect finish, like a professional job, then it is recommended to use a paint spray gun for the job. The consistency is constant, and the finish can be similar to a factory finish. But, the spray gun is expensive compared to a paintbrush.

For this “how-to” explanation, we are taking an imaginary scenario with an acrylic bathtub. Since we are working on an acrylic bathtub, the chosen paint is acrylic-based polymer paint (blue), and we are also going to use paint brushes since a spray gun can be expensive.

A Step-by-Step Guide:

STEP 1 – First, cleaning your tub and surrounding area is necessary. You can use an all-green bathtub cleaner and a sponge or paper towel to clean your bathtub. Remove all the caulk with the caulk removal tool. You can use a spackling knife if you do not have a caulk-removing tool. Clean the surronding area with the all-green cleaner and ensure all the foreign materials are cleaned.

STEP 2 – Remove all the hardware and accessories attached to the bathtub.  Ensure all the hardware is safely placed away from the working area. This helps to work freely without having to worry about breaking the accessories.

STEP 3 – Make sure the room is covered with plastic sheets. This helps to prevent the pain from unintentionally sticking to the walls and the floor.

STEP 4 – Set up your fan for proper ventilation. Make sure that the room you work in has a window. Then, you can place the fan near the window and let the exhaust toxic fumes dissipate to the outer surroundings.

STEP 5 – Take the 400 grit sandpaper, and sand the surface completely. This removes any surface irregularities. This is where you can innovate the paint job. After you are done with the sanding process, use the etch cream, and let the bathtub dry for 30 minutes. This helps to dull the surface of the tub. When you paint the tub, the color will be much more punchy than usual. 

STEP 6 – After the bathtub has dried for 30 minutes, wash the surface with water and remove all the moisture with a paper towel. Make sure there is no moisture on the surface of the bathtub.

STEP 7 – Now apply the epoxy on the surface of the bathtub. To cover the large surface area and reach every corner of the bathtub, use the paintbrush and apply it in a clockwise direction. Once you apply the epoxy, let the bathtub dry per the instructions on the epoxy cover. 

STEP 8 – Now is the time to apply the paint. Get the best possible result by using the paintbrush and paint tape. Stick the tape around the corners (which meet the floor) and the rim of the bathtub. If your bathtub is a corner-wall type bathtub, stick the tape to the end where the tub’s rim and the wall meet. This helps avoid unnecessary paint on the walls and floors.

STEP 9 – Apply the paint using the required brush (2 ½ ) on the bathtub's surface. To prevent the paint drip, use horizontal and vertical strokes alternatively. For most bathtubs, one coating is enough, but you can go for a second coating if required. Use a small paintbrush to finish the corners. Peel off the painter's tape from the corners. But make sure to dry the first coating before going for the second. 

STEP 10 – Let the bathtub dry for 48hrs minimum. This really helps the paint to nicely and smoothly stick to the surface. After 48 hrs, check the tub. Check if any paint is coming off the surface; if that is the case, repair that spot with a sponge and let it dry for another 24 hrs. Once the bathtub is completely dried, you can go ahead and reinstall all the hardware and accessories.


  • Is painting a bathtub good?
  • Yes, it is an efficient way to bring back the old glory of your bathtub cost-effectively, and most bathtubs are compatible with paint jobs. Before starting the project, check what paint goes with your bathtub material. 

  • How to paint a bathtub?
  • Clean the bathtub and apply the epoxy cream. Let it dry, apply the paint evenly to the bathtub's surface, and again let it dry for 2-3 days. This way, the paint will stick to the surface neatly and last longer.

  • How to prepare the bathtub for painting?
  • Clean the bathtub completely and sand it with wet sandpaper. This removes any surface irregularities. Let the bathtub dry for 2-3 hrs. Make sure to use paper towels to remove any excess water from the surface. Now the bathtub is ready for the painting job.

    Final Thoughts:

    A bathtub is an investment, and you should take good care of your investments. It is not necessary to paint the bathtub only after some irregularities are noted. You can, if possible, paint the bathtub once in two years. This way, you can maintain its glory for long periods of time. If you want to paint your bathtub and do not know where to start, this article hopes to act as a step-by-step guide for your project. Magnus home products offer a great collection if you are in the market and looking for a new bathtub. Magnus provides best-in-class products, from freestanding bathtubs in many materials to bathroom hardware. You can visit the collection here.

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