7 Tips for Painting Your Shower Enclosure

A fiberglass interior to a shower with a glass shell.

A shower enclosure can start looking faded and old after a few years, whether from harsh cleaning chemicals or just from regular use. Fortunately, you can refresh the look of your shower enclosure with paint. This article offers a few tips for you to get the best results from your work.

1. Prepare

Before starting, remove all of your towels, rugs, and any other fabric items from your bathroom. You don't want to ruin them with accidental spills. Lay newspapers down to cover the floor as well. Then, put on old clothes and get started!

2. Sand Surface

Sanding is a key step to be sure your project is a success. You will want to rough up the entire surface of the shower enclosure so the paint can adhere well. Using 320-grit sandpaper, sand until the finish becomes flat. You do not have to remove the finish entirely. After sanding, you need to clean the debris from the stall.

3. Clean Thoroughly

The most effective cleaner for this process is muriatic acid, which is available at home improvement stores and pool supply stores. It will remove all of the leftover debris. When using this acid, take note that it has very strong vapors, and you will need to ventilate the room as best you can and wear a respirator mask while using. Also, the muriatic acid will need to be diluted with water before you can use it. Let the stall completely dry before you begin the painting process.

4. Prime First

Priming prior to painting will ensure that the paint will not come off or crack easily. Use a good quality primer, such as Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch, which is a multi-purpose primer made for this kind of project. Coat the shower enclosure evenly and give it time to dry.

5. Use Epoxy-based Paint

You will want to use an epoxy-based paint on the shower enclosure. Either rent a paint sprayer or purchase cans of spray paint rather than using brushes or rollers, and your choice for finish should be flat or semi-gloss (if you want a shiny finish). While spraying the paint, keep the room well-ventilated, and apply in wide, side-to-side sweeps for even coverage.

6. Seal the Paint

Use two cans of clear spray sealer to coat the enclosure and protect the paint job. Allow it to cure for two days before you run water in it.

7. Take Care Cleaning

Do not use harsh chemicals on the painted area of your shower enclosure when cleaning. Instead, use full-strength vinegar in a spray bottle and a sponge. The acid in the vinegar will clean soap scum and water stains easily. If you get any soiled areas, use baking soda on your sponge and rub in a circle until the soil disappears.