How to Repaint a Bath with Enamel Paint

Written by lisa east hunter
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How to Repaint a Bath with Enamel Paint
A dingy bathroom can me made over with paint. (32 year old bathroom image by Russell Espinoza from

A dirty and dingy bath is an unappealing sight, but the bathroom is one of the last remodelling projects homeowners want to tackle. Replacing old bathtubs and fixtures is an expensive and messy project. Most people don't realise that your bathtub and counters can be painted with enamel paint. Cast iron tubs are dipped into enamel during manufacturing to give them that smooth, perfect surface. You are simply imitating that same effect with a paint brush.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Ammonia-based cleaner
  • Sandpaper
  • Palm sander
  • Rags
  • Paint brush
  • Enamel paint
  • Acrylic topcoat

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  1. 1

    Clean the bathtub and any other areas of the bath that you plan to paint with an ammonia-based cleaner. Oils and soap scum will interfere with the paint's ability to bond to the surface of the tub. Thoroughly remove all grime.

  2. 2

    Sand the entire area using medium-grit sandpaper. Use a palm sander, available at most home improvement stores, to sand the tub. Palm sanders provide a better finish than hand sanding, because they vibrate. Sand the inside and outside of the tub and any other portions of the bath, like the counters or sinks, that you plan to paint. Wipe away all sanding dust with a damp rag.

  3. 3

    Tape off any areas of the bath that you don't wish to paint. Use low-tack painter's tape and newspaper to protect the walls and floors.

  4. 4

    Paint your bath using enamel paint. Enamel paints are a good choice for bathrooms because they go on smooth and create a strong, durable finish. Enamel also comes in a wide range of colours. You can find enamel paints at your home improvement store. Paint the bath using a good-quality paint brush. Avoid brush strokes as much as possible by keeping enough paint on your brush. Paint in one direction to reduce visible lines. Apply two coats of paint, allowing the first coat to dry completely before applying the second.

  5. 5

    Apply a clear acrylic topcoat. Paint the topcoat onto the bathroom surfaces in the same way that you applied the enamel paint. Apply two coats of topcoat. Allow the topcoat to dry completely. Wait five to seven days before heavy use of the bathroom.

Tips and warnings

  • Uneven areas of the tub's surface and other imperfections are difficult to avoid when painting smooth surfaces like tubs and sinks. If you end up with drip marks or brush strokes, wait for the coat you are working on to dry completely. Then use fine-grit sandpaper to buff the imperfection from the surface. Continue with the next coat.

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