Can You Paint a Bathtub? A Comprehensive Guide for a Fresh New Look

Bob Thomas


Bathtubs can show their age after years of use, with stains, chips, and discoloration making them look unsightly.

If you're not ready for a full bathroom remodel, you may be wondering, "Can you paint a bathtub?"

The answer is yes!

Painting your bathtub is a cost-effective way to give it a fresh new look and prolong its life.

In this comprehensive guide, I'll share my experience as a qualified painter and decorator to walk you through the process step by step.

Quick Summary

Yes, you can paint a bathtub! Follow these steps to give your tub a fresh new look: 1) Choose the right paint, 2) Gather necessary tools and materials, 3) Clean the tub, 4) Repair any damages, 5) Sand the surface, 6) Apply a primer, 7) Paint the tub, and 8) Apply a sealant. By using the right products and following proper techniques, you can achieve a professional and lasting finish.

Gather Tools and Materials

Before you start, gather the necessary tools and materials for the project.

Here's a table with everything you'll need:

Tools and Materials

Bathtub refinishing kit

Provides paint, primer, and sealant

Painter's tape

Protects areas not to be painted

Plastic drop cloth

Protects the floor and surroundings

Bucket and sponge

Cleans the tub

Sandpaper (400-600 grit)

Preps the surface

Respirator mask

Protects from paint fumes


Protects hands

Paintbrush and roller

Applies paint and primer

Pro Tip: Choose a high-quality bathtub refinishing kit that is specifically designed for use on bathtubs. These kits often include paint, primer, and sealant, ensuring a long-lasting and professional finish.

Clean the Bathtub

Before painting, thoroughly clean the bathtub to remove soap scum, dirt, and any residues.

Use a bathroom cleaner and a sponge to scrub the entire surface, then rinse it well with water.

Allow the tub to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Repair Damages

Inspect the bathtub for any chips, cracks, or other damages.

Use a bathtub repair kit to fix any imperfections, following the manufacturer's instructions. Allow the repairs to dry and cure as directed.

Sand the Surface

Using 400-600 grit sandpaper, sand the entire surface of the bathtub to create a rough texture for the paint to adhere to.

Make sure to sand evenly and thoroughly, paying extra attention to any glossy areas.

After sanding, clean the bathtub again to remove any dust and debris.

Apply a Primer

Using painter's tape, mask off any areas that you don't want to be painted, such as the faucet, drain, or surrounding tile.

Apply a coat of primer from the bathtub refinishing kit, using a paintbrush for the edges and a roller for larger surfaces.

Allow the primer to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Paint the Bathtub

Once the primer is dry, it's time to paint the tub.

Apply the paint from the refinishing kit using the same technique as with the primer: a brush for edges and a roller for larger surfaces.

Apply multiple thin coats, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next one.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions for drying times and the recommended number of coats.

Apply a Sealant

After the final coat of paint has dried, it's time to apply a sealant.

The sealant will protect your newly painted bathtub and ensure a long-lasting finish.

Carefully follow the instructions provided by the bathtub refinishing kit for the proper application of the sealant.

Use a brush for edges and a roller for larger surfaces, just like with the primer and paint.

Allow the sealant to dry and cure as directed by the manufacturer.

Remove Painter's Tape and Clean Up

Once the sealant has fully cured, carefully remove the painter's tape from around the bathtub.

Dispose of any used paintbrushes, rollers, and other materials according to your local waste disposal guidelines.

Store any leftover paint, primer, and sealant in a cool, dry place for future touch-ups or projects.

Enjoy Your Newly Painted Bathtub

After the sealant has cured, your bathtub is ready for use!

Enjoy the fresh new look of your bathroom and the satisfaction of having completed a successful DIY project.

Regular cleaning and maintenance will help preserve your freshly painted bathtub for years to come.

Fruqenelty Asked Questions Section (FAQs)

Q. Can I paint over an acrylic or fiberglass bathtub?

  A: Yes, you can paint over an acrylic or fiberglass bathtub. Be sure to use a paint specifically designed for these surfaces, such as an epoxy-based paint or a paint formulated for plastics.

Q. How long does it take for the paint to dry on a bathtub?

  A: It typically takes around 24-72 hours for the paint to dry on a bathtub, depending on factors such as the type of paint used, temperature, and humidity.

Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for drying times.

Q. How long does painted bathtub last?

  A: The durability of a painted bathtub depends on the quality of the paint and the application process.

If properly applied, a high-quality paint job can last 5-10 years or longer before it starts to show signs of wear.

Q. Can I use any color to paint my bathtub?

  A: Yes, you can choose from a wide range of colors when painting your bathtub.

However, keep in mind that lighter colors tend to show dirt and stains more easily, so you may need to clean your bathtub more frequently if you choose a light color.

Q. Can I paint my bathtub if it has been previously painted?

  A: Yes, you can paint over a previously painted bathtub.

You will need to follow the same preparation steps as for an unpainted bathtub, including cleaning, sanding, and priming the surface to ensure proper adhesion of the new paint.

Q. Is painting a bathtub a DIY project or should I hire a professional?

  A: Painting a bathtub can be a DIY project if you have the patience, skills, and proper tools.

However, if you are not confident in your ability to achieve a professional-looking result or if you have concerns about the safety aspects of the project, it's a good idea to hire a professional.

Q. Can I paint the tiles surrounding my bathtub?

  A: Yes, you can paint the tiles surrounding your bathtub.

You'll need to use a paint specifically formulated for tiles or ceramics, and follow a similar preparation process, including cleaning, sanding, and priming the surface.

Q. How do I maintain a painted bathtub?

To maintain a painted bathtub, clean it regularly with mild, non-abrasive cleaners.

Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive scrubbing pads that can damage the paint.

Additionally, fix any chips or scratches in the paint as soon as possible to prevent water from seeping under the paint and causing further damage.

Q. Is it safe to use a bathtub that has been painted?

Yes, it is generally safe to use a painted bathtub, as long as you have used a paint that is designed for bathtubs and have followed the manufacturer's instructions for application and drying times.


Painting a bathtub is a cost-effective way to give your bathroom a fresh new look without undergoing a complete renovation.

By following these steps and using the right materials, you can achieve a professional, long-lasting finish that you can be proud of.

With proper care and maintenance, your painted bathtub will provide you with years of use and enjoyment.

Suggested Products:

Rust-Oleum Tub & Tile Refinishing Kit: This epoxy-based paint kit is designed specifically for refinishing bathtubs, tiles, and sinks. It provides excellent adhesion, durability, and color retention, helping to transform your bathtub's appearance and giving it a long-lasting, protective finish.

Homax Tough As Tile Brush-On Tub & Sink Refinishing Kit: This brush-on refinishing kit is suitable for use on porcelain, ceramic, and fiberglass surfaces. It offers a durable, high-gloss finish that helps to restore your bathtub's appearance and extend its lifespan.

3M SandBlaster Sanding Sponge: This sanding sponge from 3M is designed for use on a variety of surfaces, including bathtubs. It helps to create a smooth, even surface for painting by removing any old paint, dirt, and debris, while also promoting better paint adhesion.

Krud Kutter PH35/12 Prepaint Cleaner/TSP Substitute: This non-toxic, biodegradable cleaner is an effective alternative to TSP (trisodium phosphate) for preparing surfaces for painting. It effectively removes grease, grime, and dirt, ensuring a clean and contaminant-free surface for your bathtub paint job.

FrogTape Multi-Surface Painter's Tape: FrogTape's painter's tape is designed to provide sharp paint lines and prevent paint bleed on a wide range of surfaces, including bathtubs. Using this tape will help you achieve a professional-looking result when painting your bathtub by keeping the paint within the desired areas.

Wooster Brush Shortcut Angle Sash Paintbrush: This high-quality paintbrush features a short, flexible handle that allows for greater control when painting in tight spaces, such as around a bathtub. Its durable, synthetic bristles provide a smooth, even application of paint, ensuring a top-notch finish.

About the author 

Bob Thomas

A fully certified interior decorator and house painter , Bob Thomas brings immense expertise and knowledge amassed from many years of hands-on experience with residential, commercial and specialty painting and decorating projects of all sizes and scopes.

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