Refinishing Fiberglass Bathtubs Refinishing Fiberglass Bathtubs
Fiberglass bathtubs are hardwearing and easy to care for. But deep scratches, holes, cracks and oxidation are unavoidable after years of use. Fortunately for you, this can be done as a DIY project. Even re-sealing and re-painting them are easy with the right tools and materials.
Step 1 -- Clean the Surface
Use mild detergent solution to remove dirt, grime and soap scum. Sponge all areas of the tub, even the drain area. Mix oxygen bleach and water in 50:50 proportions and scrub it on the tub's surface to disinfect the tub. Rinse well with water. Next, sprinkle baking soda around the tub and then scrub it with a scouring pad. This is to treat oxidation and remove slime caused by algae and molds. Rinse well with water. Let the tub dry thoroughly before you begin with the paint stripping process.
Step 2 -- Prep the Tub
Provide ventilation in the bathroom. Open windows, doors and turn on the exhaust fan. Put on the respirator and start applying the stripper. Let it stay for 5 minutes and then use 200-grit fine sandpaper to remove any last traces of paint.
Prepare the epoxy resin. Use the gun type, so that the resin won't harden while you are still working on and curing a crack in the corner or a hole near the drain. For very narrow cracks, use a toothpick when applying epoxy. For wider holes, apply epoxy on the hole, don't fill it up, place the fiberglass cloth, and then fill it up with epoxy on top. Press the epoxy firmly and let it cure. Sand it until the epoxy evens out with the surface of the tub. For narrow holes, epoxy fillers are enough to cover them; no need of patching it with fiberglass fabric.
Step 3 -- Apply Primer
Prepare the latex primer. Apply a single thin coat with a paintbrush or paintbrush roller. You can also use the compressor to spray it on the surface. Allow to dry. Use the fine grit sandpaper to level out the surface. Do the same procedure on your next coats. Let the primer dry completely.
Step 4 – Paint
Put out the compressor and read its manual on how to use it. Assemble it, together with the paint, and then test paint on a thick cardboard. Adjust the nozzle spray to achieve the right consistency.
Spray the first coat thinly. Use a swift hand to glide-spray the paint on the tub. Leave it to dry. Sand the tub with a finer sandpaper, a 400-grit, and brush off sanding residue with a paintbrush. Apply up to three coats. On the third coat, forego the sanding and leave the paint glossy.
Note: With this project, the type of paint that will be used to repaint is a 100 percent acrylic paint. It is a durable paint material, better than most gel coats, and produces a high-gloss finish. The only downside in using acrylic paint is that it dries quicker than other types of paint and you have to apply latex primer under the paint, which is added work for you.