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Metal finishing Q&As since 1989


Can you & should you refinish a fiberglass tub/shower?

This page includes it all. Join the debate if you wish :-)
• postings by people who have done it successfully many times, explaining exactly what they did -- browse for thumbs up sign
• regrets by people who wish they hadn't tried it -- browse for thumbs down sign
• professionals (& satisfied customers) saying it's not for amateurs -- browse for Go to a Pro

Q. I have a blue fiberglass tub/shower combination that we would like to paint white and do it ourselves. We have gotten bids here for $400-$500 and would like the information on what types of paint, glaze, etc. to use to complete this job.


Cary Brown
- Cheyenne, Wyoming

Q. I have a Fiberglass shower that's a light tan and I'm wanting to paint it a grey to Light gray like the rest of the bathroom (just like Cary is wanting to do)--but I don't want to paint it and have it come off after like the 3-4th shower can you help, thank you.

TC Paterno II
- DeLand, Florida

"Remodeling a Bathroom"
by Leon A. Frechette

on AbeBooks

or eBay or


(affil links)

thumbs up sign Yes, this can be done fairly easily. I have done several over the years. Preparation is the key here and if steps are skipped, the quality of the end result will be substandard.

Step 1. Sand the entire area to be painted with 320 grit sandpaper [320 grit on eBay or Amazon affil links] , you don't want to sand through the gel coat you simply want to sand until it hazes over and the finish becomes dull.

Step 2. Clean the shower with muriatic acid [on eBay or Amazon affil links] to remove all of the dust. Then rinse the entire thing with water and let dry completely.

Step 3. Painting. Use a good quality primer [on eBay or Amazon affil links] first then use a good epoxy based paint in the color of your choice. Rustoleum makes an appliance paint [[on eBay or Amazon affil links] ] which works perfect for this application.. The only draw back is the only colors are white and almond. I have used oil based paints before as well with a satisfactory result, you simply have to watch close for runs in your paint. Always use a spray gun or spray can, never brush or roll paint on.

That's it, its really that simple and the results are usually stunning.

Happy Painting

Greg Faromone
- Austin, Texas

Readers: muriatic acid is dangerous and even the fumes are highly corrosive. If you do this, use it highly diluted while wearing, as a minimum, [on eBay or Amazon affil links] and [on eBay or Amazon affil links] , with outstanding ventilation (even the fumes will rust and corrode metal), and follow label directions.

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. What type of primer would you use for this job?


Bob Douglas
- S. Grafton, Massachusetts

A. Sherwin Williams has a good primer but if you are going to use Rustoleum I would get a Rustoleum primer [on eBay or Amazon affil links] . Have fun. I'm going to start tomorrow.

Nancie Doyle
- Lacey, Washington

Q. I plan to patch the floor of a fiberglass tub/shower unit and then paint the whole thing. Would marine paint (epoxy-based paint used on fiberglass boats) be better to use? Or just how good is the Rustoleum paint for holding up under flexing, water, cleaning etc. and looking really good?

Bill Pruitt
- Mobile, Alabama

Q. I'm a faux artist and had planned on painting a fiberglass shower/tub to look like stone in a house we are planning on reselling, but I just got off of the phone with Sherwin Williams and a company that carries marine paint, but neither of them recommended painting it. They both said that no matter how you prep it, it's going to bubble and peel off before long due to the caustic reaction of hot water on it. I'm very discouraged now. It's going to be a nightmare getting a new tub in there. (Will have to remove walls and plumbing due to it's location.)

For those of you that have actually painted them, how long did it last?

Kim Clinton
- Titusville, Florida

Finishing Sander

on eBay or


(affil links)

thumbs up sign I just painted my tub yesterday with the Rustoleum epoxy spray paint [on eBay or Amazon affil links] . I did not use a primer. I did sand with a palm sander with 220 grit sandpaper [on eBay or Amazon affil links] . I then used muriatic acid [on eBay or Amazon affil links] to clean after sanding. Use extra caution when using because the vapors are extremely strong. I used a fan pointing to an exterior window. Fumes were still very strong. Then I sprayed the walls. The spraying was worse than applying the acid. I'd advise using a charcoal (activated carbon) respirator [on eBay or Amazon affil links] or some type of mask. Also either cover every thing or strip the bathroom. I gutted the bathroom because we are remodeling anyway. Luckily I was removing the floor also because it was covered in overspray. Also the walls in the whole bathroom were covered. So I suggest only spraying when you are going to remodel. The results were amazing. It looks better than a new enclosure. This is not an overnight project. It takes planning and some money. All and all I'm very happy though.

Shawn Taylor
- Niantic, Connecticut

Readers: muriatic acid is a gas dissolved in a liquid, it is not a liquid. So it will fume! So not only is it dangerous to use, but the fumes will attack stainless steel and plated fixtures (even down in your kitchen if you let them get there). So use only with really, really good ventilation as well as proper protective clothing, including goggles [on eBay or Amazon affil links] and rubber gloves [on eBay or Amazon affil links] . Good luck.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

A. Hmmm - very interesting to read this ongoing dialogue. I did paint an avocado green shower stall in a rental house years ago. I took a "what-the-heck" approach with minimal prep & straight-forward application. I did a regular cleaning and wiped it down with either window cleaner or rubbing alcohol (can't remember). Then I just generously brushed on a basic white marine/boat paint (must have been epoxy ... the fumes were nasty!) I think I did two coats and the brush marks pretty much just melted together. It all worked just fine - I lived there a few years. The only problem was when, in desperation, I used a caustic drain cleaner and it melted the paint away just around the central drain where the water was standing, revealing a ring of that awful avocado green. Oops!

I've now got a rubber-ducky yellow jetted tub in my new house (whose idea was THAT?!) and hope the same process will work again... I'll try to remember and post my results - good, bad or ugly. Cheers!

Michelle McConnell
- Port Townsend, Washington

thumbs down sign I have been trying (in vain) to clean a fiberglass shower. I have tried every cleaner on the market including commercial ones, steaming, scrubbing, EVERYTHING! I finally used a fume-free oven cleaner [on eBay or Amazon affil links] someone recommended, and it got the top layer of gunk off, so I started scraping. Turns out, the previous owners had PAINTED the shower and the bottom layer of "gunk" is actually a coat of paint!

Rust-Oleum Tub & Tile Refinishing Kit

on eBay or


(affil links)

I am soooo mad! It looked great when we moved in, but after about 6 months, it got to where I couldn't get the shower clean (we have very hard water) and now it turns out that the paint must have become really porous and was holding all the soap scum and calcium deposits in. After inspecting the shower very closely, I have determined that it is spray paint. I hope I can remove it with some sort of paint remover gel [on eBay or Amazon affil links] . Please, DO NOT paint your shower unless you are selling or you want to be going through misery in a few months! I think I'd be better off to replace it!

Kathy Schoore
- Nashville, Tennessee

A. Rustoleum now has a product for this exact problem. I came across it while researching how to paint my blue fiberglass tub to white. Here is info in case anyone else needs it: "Rustoleum Tub and Tile Refinishing Kit" ⇨

Oscar Medina
- San Diego, California

thumbs down sign Hi All,

Well I am having the same problem! We remodeled the whole bathroom and so the Almond tub needed to be white we were told to buy Kliens tub epoxy we had an "expert" painter apply it for us we didn't use the tub for 5 days! It peeled and bubbled right away in the first shower! We then bought another kit and did it again and then went away on vacation for 7 days and didn't use the shower for 8 days and "AGAIN" the peeling! It looks awful and now we just put our house on the market and we haven't figured out how to make this tub look good. We put so much money into the house and do not have the time or money to replace the tub at this point. I see that this process has worked for some and I was hoping someone may be able to suggest something for us to try. We don't have the time or money to take another vacation to let the tub dry and we only have 1 bathroom. We have a major dilemma and wish we were NEVER told to epoxy the tub in the first place.

HELP! :(


Tobra Williams
Nashua, NH

thumbs up sign We have an old claw foot bath tub. The paint was wearing to the point that it was chalking. I wanted to refinish it without getting into a lot of expense. My brother had his tub recoated with a professional refinishing kit. It too peeled after about 4 months and looks awful! I paint with an industrial painting company...

I sanded the tub, wiped it down with thinner, primed with Devoe epoxy primer (#235). Sanded it again just enough to create adhesion. Wiped it down with thinner again (don't rub). Then painted it with two coats of X-O Rust interior/exterior enamel (TRU-VALUE product). It is a heavy duty formula that prevents rust, abrasions, weathering and fading. It looks beautiful! You need to sand slightly and wipe down in between each step. It's all in the prep work. It may need to be recoated more often (6 mos. or so) but a little sanding, thinner wipe down and re-coat with top coat is all it takes. It isn't peeling and I don't use a real abrasive cleaner, but it works.

Susan Weflen
- Tioga, North Dakota

Ed. note -- Readers: note that claw foot bath tubs are made of cast iron with a porcelain coating, whereas other most other posters are talking about fiberglass. There may be big differences in what works where.

A. A little google searching goes a long way. Here is a product (complete with user-supplied before and after photos) for refinishing all bathtubs including fiberglass:

Kevin Wroblewski
- Salt Lake City, Utah

Ed. update: That URL is now just a link farm. Readers should not go there at this time because hackers often buy up expired URLs hoping to get traffic from links on legitimate sites.

Wet-or-dry Sandpaper

on eBay or


(affil links)

thumbs up sign About resurfacing fiberglass tubs, we used automotive paint. That's right, auto paint, polyurethane. You wet sand the surface with 200-400 grit wet or dry paper. Wash thoroughly with cleanser and water, dry surface then wipe down, just prior to painting, with lacquer thinner [on eBay or Amazon affil links] .

Prime it with auto primer, and then after it dries lightly sand it, wipe clean with clean damp rags and apply the auto paint with an HVLP, that's a high volume low pressure spray unit [on eBay or Amazon affil links] . They can be rented. There is not much overspray and the paint hardens to a tough finish. I used to resurface counter tops and tubs using about the same method for all. Hope this helps

Brendan Walsh
ex-resurfacer - San Antonio, Texas

thumbs down sign We have a fiberglass shower that cracked near the drain. My father, who has done fiberglass auto body work did the repair on the crack, but we have yet to find a spray paint that will adhere for any length of time to either the patch or the rest of the shower pan. They all bubble and peel. We're trying the automotive paint next.

Melinda Crow
- Whitney, Texas

Q. How do you get the glossy shine after painting? Does the paint come glossy already?

Rebecca Lirette
- Houma, Louisiana

thumbs up sign Hi, as far as glossy paints go, yes, they come from the store in glossy finishes. You can get flat (dull), satin or eggshell (some gloss) or semi-gloss (shiny). The used to sell a full "gloss" but I'm not certain that exists any longer.

Remember, the shinier the paint, the better the seal, the easier to clean.

But cleaners, like 409 especially (not knocking 409, it's my fave cleaner) will melt most paints.

Get a squeegee and get all water off your painted shower after you're done using it, and clean gently with absolutely minimum abrasive and chemicals.

When I did my shower stall (Rustoleum all the way) I put sand in the coat I used on the bottom to texture it. My preference. After a year, it's chipping a bit (inevitable) and will have to be redone. Prep was sanding, washing, then Windex Commercial Line [on eBay or Amazon affil links] . Primer. Sanding. Wipe with damp cloth. Paint 2 coats. All rustoleum enamel.

Jon Howard
- Hagerstown, West Virginia

Q. If people can paint a fiberglass pool, why can't one successfully paint a shower or tub?

Wouldn't it use the same process?

I'm planning to paint my shower pan and will probably use pool paint.

Jan Couch
- Hanford, California

Go to a Pro I had a professional company do my 2 tub units and stand up shower stall that were blue. They came out great. I didn't want to replace them as I wanted the full unit without a grout line and we wouldn't be able to fit a full piece into the bathrooms. Two of the bathrooms are going on 3 years done and I just had the shower done. The price in the northeast is about $600-700 a unit. It is worth it if you don't want the expense of replacing the whole tub and wall. I also had a crack in the fiberglass tub repaired with no further problems. Just make sure you get a reputable company with a warranty. The job is complicated so I glad I'm didn't do it myself as I almost did. It took 4 hours a unit.

I looked in the yellow pages under tub refinishing, made sure they had a license then checked with the Better Business Bureau. The first company I used does tubs in many hotels so it is done all the time. We just may not know it.

Margery Boga
- Glastonbury, Connecticut

Q. I am remodeling my home and my downstairs bathroom has an old iron tub which was refinished at one point but the refinish is beginning to peel away around the top back. The tub surround had been replaced in the past few years with a plastic surround that has little soap holders and whatnot. Between the tub and the surround the caulking is beginning to mold, even when I tried to replace it, and the surround itself is beginning to discolor. My question is can I roughen up both the tub and the surround and then paint on some fiberglass epoxy. Then Is it possible to sand down and primer/paint the fiberglass? I have used fiberglass on my boat before, but only to cover existing fiberglass. I don't want to start the project just to find out that the fiberglass doesn't really stick or that the project will look unprofessional. Has anyone had any experience doing a project like this?

Brian Nicklaus
home improver - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Q. After reading these postings I know I don't want to paint the existing walls in my tub/shower stall. The walls are a Marlite type stuff (composition board covered with a very thin, brittle layer of waterproof membrane) but because the tub is tucked under the stairwell, the wall slopes and the folks who put the walls up did not use any joint trim. They just butted it up to the next piece. Now all those edges are chipping and swelling and leaking. I know I have to resurface the walls but the question is - with what? Because of the funny sloping ceiling and angled wall (stairwell above) I know I'll have to create it myself (no kits, etc) but what material should I use? There are compound angles -- channel trims will not work with this one.

Advice and thoughts?

Lois Casey
- Springbrook, Wisconsin

Go to a Pro For resurfacing the walls of a tub/shower. Try vinyl flooring. The house I grew up in had "kitchen" flooring on the walls of the upstairs batch enclosure. It was something a local carpet/flooring company did on a regular basis. It was professionally installed. They used large diameter 1/4 round in the corners to keep the flooring from bending to much in the corners. Other than that, I believe it's just glued on like a regular floor.You have unlimited choice of patterns. You can cut cut it around obstacles. The bath/shower I'm talking about didn't get daily use, but it's been at least 27 years since it was installed and still looks great. I've never understood why I haven't seen it more. If a floor can hold up to foot traffic and is water proof, why not use it on a bath wall ?

Jesse Hopkins
- Grove City, Ohio

A. Replacing shower walls that are 'weird' is easy. Just use FRP (Fire Resistant Panel). Water proof and fire resistant it comes in white usually or almond and is available at home improvement stores. Remove the old 'stuff' and make sure that the sheet rock is in good shape, dry, fairly smooth. Then just cut the panels to fit and use liquid nails to glue them up. You will need some wooden temp braces and make sure to use plastic panel molding on all the edges. After the glue dries, caulk the seams with a good silicone caulk and the repair is 'long term'.

Ken Berkowitz
- Frederick, Maryland

Ed. note: For the record, FRP stands for "fiber reinforced plastic" rather than "fire resistant panel" Please don't assume it's fireproof unless it says so.

thumbs up sign OK. Time to put an end to this epoxy business. My best friend owns a tub restoration company. The answer is gelcoat. The good news, it's cheaper than epoxy, the bad news, much more labor intensive.


1. Sand entire tub with 200 grit paper.
2. Bondo [on eBay or Amazon affil links] or Duraglas [on eBay or Amazon affil links] any imperfections, chips, cracks, etc. the fiberglass (this is very important)
3. Spray w/ Gelcoat (it will dry an orange-peel finish)
4. Sand with 100 grit, then 220 grit, then 600 grit wet dry, then 1600 grit wet dry.
5. Polish with rubbing compound [on eBay or Amazon affil links] .
6. Polish with fiberglass finish.
7. Wax and buff.

Guaranteed this will work 100% of the time. No blisters, no peeling, no reaction to caustics. The surface is more resistant to scratches and dings as well. Plus, if you do something stupid like drop a cinder block or sledgehammer in your tub after you finish the project, that ding can be fixed with just a little bit of gelcoat and some sanding.

This is more difficult than just throwing some Rustoleum on it. But it is the way professionals do it, and the funny thing is, a 5th grader can do it. My friend has resurfaced hundreds of tubs. He is actually the guy that is called in by construction companies when they do the stupid cinder block/sledgehammer thing. A $50 repair beats a new $600 tub.

Using bondo or Duraglass is easy as pie. Even if your tub has a hole completely through it or a compound crack that runs for dozens of inches, you can fix it.

Incidentally, use this same process to restore boat hulls. I'm a sailor... I've done it a bunch.

Branden Espinoza
- Provo Utah
March 23, 2008

Ed. note: Thanks, Branden; you've sold us :-)

Q. I also intend to paint a tub surround, but mine is in 5 sections which I intend to take off the wall. I have one small round hole to fill/repair. After sanding I intend to wash the sections with a cleaner and water. After it is dry, and before applying the paint, I intend to use a automotive tac cloth to remove any dust, thus avoiding the acid and the fumes from the acid. I intend to use the newer spray paints formulated for plastics. I use to be in the electronics business and when monitors (CRT type) where expensive, I would repair and refurbish monitors. I repainted the cases with a spray paint that I found which left the cases looking like new and it held up well. Do you see any flaws in my intended plans?

Tom Gilligan
D-I-Y guy - Whiting, New Jersey
July 6, 2008

Homax Toughtile

on eBay or


(affil links)

Q. I'm only planning on painting the outside frame and exterior portion of my shower/tub unit, so this area will not receive much direct water. Should I just go with Rustoleum Appliance paint or should I use something more serious? I'm hoping for minimal fumes and mess.
Auto paint sounds like a good option as well. Any suggestions or ideas? Thanks!

Terri Carrion
D-I-Y - Guerneville, California
August 12, 2008

A. Homax also has a paint made for tubs and showers called Toughtile ⇨

It does not come as a spray and only in white but it can be tinted with standard hardware store paint tints. Rust-oleum appliance paint, mentioned in the previous post, is not appropriate for a shower or tub. It is made specifically for metal.

Bob Ballenger
- Wheaton, Illinois

Rust-oleum Appliance Enamel

on eBay or


(affil links)

thumbs up sign I used the Rustoleum appliance paint (white) .
to paint over a blue tub it came out great.
Step one clean with denatured alcohol
Step two sand lightly but entire surface (important) entire surface with 220 grit sandpaper.
Step three wipe down tub with denatured alcohol until no more dust comes off.
Step four shake can well and start painting you will need about six cans for a full enclosure tub spraying in light coats, do not let the previous coat dry before applying the next coat just give it about 5 mins to tack up.
Step five repeat coats until fully covered and let dry for 48 hrs before using.

Caution use a good activated carbon respirator [on eBay or Amazon affil links] cover every inch of your body and anything in the room and ventilate the room well this stuff is messy and tough to clean off once it is dry!

Bill Shields
- Gloucester Massachusetts
April 8, 2009

Q. They paint fiberglass car bumpers wouldn't that be the same kind of paint to use on a fiberglass shower?

martha walker
- Crawfordsville Indiana
April 9, 2009

A. Hi, Martha. Few if any bumpers are fiberglass, although most bumpers today are plastic. But automobile manufacturers employ special methods to improve adhesion, such as flame treatment combined with dyne testing, that you will not be able to do at home.

I'm not saying you cannot achieve what you want, I'm just saying that the car bumper analogy probably isn't right :-)


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Go to a Pro Sounds like everyone made the same mistake. Don't ever attempt to refinish a tub or shower unless you are a professional refinisher! For many reasons:
1. The chemicals you need to use are harmful to your health if not handled properly.
2. If you use the wrong material it will peel and discolor.
3. If you don't prep the surface properly it will peel and not have a smooth surface.
4. You need to use an HVLP spray system to apply a fine, glossy and smooth finish. The application takes experience to perfect.
5. The right refinisher using the right product can apply a beautiful lasting finish.(if taken care of properly)
There are other reasons, but you should get the idea. Some things aren't worth taking the cheap way out, although refinishing can save you thousands compared to replacing the units even if you do hire a professional.

Brian Russell
- Phoenix, Arizona
February 12, 2010

A. I resurface tubs for a living. I have read all this and the thing that is most important is prep. First you must make sure there is no silicone around tub. Nothing sticks to silicone it must all be removed and cleaned off before sanding. Same goes with soap scum; clean it before sanding. If you sand either of these into your surface it will bubble up and peel. If your surface is clean and scuffed almost any good paint will work. May not last a lifetime but still cheaper than replacing.

frank v.
- Lafayette, Louisiana
April 20, 2010

Q. I've just embarked on yet another bathroom reno, this one with an acrylic clawtub. I'd like to paint the outside of the tub after I remove the clawfeet. The brass needs cleaning and sealing and I'd welcome suggestions for products to use for both the exterior of the tub and for the brass feet.

Karen RM
- Edmonton, AB Canada
October 10, 2011

Q. I have a kit purchased from a home improvement store to resurface my bathtub. The surface feels slightly rough after 2 coats, possibly from holding spray can too far away. Is a third coat possible to get a glossy appearance? Should I use steel wool or sandpaper to smooth surface before another coat?

Ray Trahan
- Palmdale
November 22, 2011

A. I have just gone through this process with the Rustoleum appliance paint. Looked great for about 2 weeks and is now slowly chipping off the bottom as well as discoloring in the back part of the tub where a slight amount of water gathers. I did read on the can that it is not made for standing water... maybe that should have warned me off.

Definitely need a respirator when doing this job, also make sure that you have the over spray going through an area that is well plastic'ed off as it will make a big mess. Do not turn on your vent fan, I almost did and am very glad I did not. There would have been a large white paint spot at the vent exhaust.

Going to try sanding the coat down and put on either a gel coat or the Rustoleum stuff made for tubs, will see.

Christopher Gorrie
- Newport, North Carolina, USA
December 12, 2011

thumbs up sign I have a 58" tub and shower that was going to require moving walls to change out with a standard 60". So I decided to try painting it. I'm in the automotive painting line of work so it isn't that difficult. DO NOT USE ACID, unless you have some super super ventilation, then I still don't recommend it. It will eat away at everything in the house and out. Sand well with 320 grit 3m wet or dry sandpaper until there is no gloss left. lacquer thinner [on eBay or Amazon affil links] will do the job just fine to clean it. I used Rustoleum products to do mine, used a spray gun with compressor though, not aerosol cans. Primed, let it dry good then 2 to 3 thin smooth coats of semi gloss white. Looked great and still does 4 years later.

Ryan Rip
- Altus, Oklahoma, USA
December 18, 2011

Q. I painted with the epoxy paint you can get from Benjamin Moore that is supposed to be good for fiberglass. I filled and sanded and then I got the type of roller that doesn't break down while using the epoxy, and did the shower surround as well as the tub. The shower surround looks great after 6 months, but the tub itself seems to show some hairline cracks where adults have stood for the shower and sat in the tub. Then I rinsed out the carpet cleaner in the tub and scratched my nice paint job. How can I avoid/fix the hairline problem, as I have now primed it with Stix from BM and in desperation took a bath and it seemed to stay on the surface, but for how long? However, it is winter and it is hard to keep the house warm if I have the window open and it would seem the lower the temperature the longer it takes to dry, and it is terrible to have to smell the epoxy roc's if there isn't sufficient ventilation (I could only take 10 minutes while painting and my eyes were streaming even with a fan and window opening).

Kat Berryere
- Red Deer AB Canada
February 6, 2012

thumbs down sign You cannot paint or glaze a fiberglass bath or shower and expect it to last. It is a bandaid. The reason you are having problems is that fiberglass turns dull. Every time you clean it it begins to dull as you are taking off a minute film of the gel coat. Look at a brand new fiberglass boat, and see how it looks after a few runs sitting in someone's driveway. Boat owners just expect the hull to get dull; you should expect the same for your bath or shower.
When hot tubs first came out they were made of fiberglass. After a season of use they were dull. So the quality ones are made of acrylic.
The reason you have fiberglass is because it is cheap & easy for builders to install. Most tract builders are not going to give you a quality tub or shower.
My advice would be to live with what you have or buy an 100% acrylic tub or shower base because it is non-porous, easy to clean, and stays shiny for the life of the product. It also never yellows, chips, or stains, and is a good insulator. If you get a scratch just buff it out just like they do with Corian countertops and football helmets. Do you think that NFL football players get new helmets for each game? The equipment manager buffs out the scratches before each game

Bill Petrocelli
- Laurel, Maryland
December 9, 2012

thumbs up sign I have been refinishing cast iron tubs for almost 2 years now, in the Atlanta, Ga area. It takes me anywhere from 6-8 hours to properly prep the tubs. Prep is the absolute key to a refinishing done right that will not bubble or peel. After my initial sanding, I etch the tub with phosphoric acid, let it stand for 30 minutes, rinse with hot water, let dry completely (using a paint removal heat gun [on eBay or Amazon affil links] to dry, which heats the metal prior to painting), lightly wipe clean with a terry cloth and acetone [on eBay or Amazon affil links] . These steps are done after the sanding with 320 grit sand paper.
I then apply 2 very thin coats of 2-part epoxy primer (grey), which helps me see to an even coverage over the entire area of the tub (not just in the trough) allowing complete drying of each coat and sanding between coats with 500 grit automotive sanding finish paper, and very lightly, as before, removing dust debris with a terry cloth and acetone.
Only then will I attempt to apply the 2-part epoxy color paint, applying 4 light coats. After all this, and a 72 hour dry/curing time, I return to buff the paint and what is known in the south as "burn it in". Paint, has to be heated if it is to harden properly. The hardening process is what stops the paint from peeling, hardened paint will chip; as with ceramic and porcelain, which are both put through extreme heat curing processes.

Johnny Nichols
JN Construction,llc. - Sandy Springs, Georgia
June 17, 2015

Q. Will this Rust-Oleum product fill in cracks in the flooring of a fiberglass tub. Our tub is a fiberglass surround. Thanks for any advice you can give related to this problem.

Caroline Shedd
- Montezuma Georgia
March 22, 2018

A. Hi Caroline.

Bill S. tells us on this page that the Rust-Oleum product he tried ("Appliance Enamel") worked well, whereas Christopher G. told us that it was a failure which didn't last two weeks. So I'll guess you're talking about the "Specialty Tub & Tile Refinishing Kit"?

It is an epoxy acrylic so it probably has the thickness, viscosity, and gumminess to do "fill in" of small cracks. But the thing is, if the whole thickness of glass fiber reinforced composite resin wasn't strong enough to resist cracking under the flexing of people standing in the shower, we really can't expect a topping or a filler to do so for long. It should last a while, and has mostly positive reviews on Amazon, but if you want perfection save your money for a new acrylic shower :-)

Luck and Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
March 2018

A. Hello everyone.
I am painting cars for last 15 years and I came across many peeling paints.
The right way to paint any metal or fiberglass surface after sanding is first vinyl wash, then primer, then sending with 320 to 600 dry or 400 to 800 wet; after this you must apply two coats of adhesion promoter to stick the final paint to the primer.
For any paint to stick with out peeling you need to use adhesion promoter; without that you are wasting your money and time.
Hope to help someone on the face of the earth :-)

Ahmad Madawa
- On Canada
July 17, 2018

Q. Why 2 coats of Adhesive Promoter? It says on the directions that you're to apply the final coat 10 minutes after you apply the promoter. I just want to get it right since this sounds like it will last.
Clean, prime, sand, promoter, within 10 minutes 2nd coat of promoter and within 10 minutes your paint coat. Does that sound right?
Rust-Oleum 7881830 Appliance Enamel 12-Ounce Spray, White is what I'm hearing will work best for this application, will the promoter work with this paint?
This has been the best advice I've seen in reading about refinishing my fiberglass shower pan so far.

Nivek Marshall
- SE Michigan

Go to a Pro Refinishing a bathtub or shower is not just prep and spray on a paint. This should only be done by a professional as there are many health risks if proper PPE is not adhere to. Proper preparation is very important as well as protecting the rest of the area. Only special paint made specifically for this type of work should be used. Automotive paint appliance paint oil-based paints should not be used. The paint professionals use will last 10 to 20 years if done properly. Even when these special paints are used there are specific primers, how long after you primer that you paint, how you put on the coats of paint,time in between coats are all important factors in the finish. Again, this type of project should be left to a professional. I believe anyone would agree that $500 to $700 is money well spent to avoid health issues or having to spend $2,000 to $3,000 replacing the unit.

Keith Green
refinisher - Newark, Ohio, US
July 31, 2019

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