How do I resurface a bathroom ceramic sink and countertop?

Written by karen waggoner
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How do I resurface a bathroom ceramic sink and countertop?
Refinishing a sink and countertop is like giving the bathroom a facelift. (Water tap in bathroom image by Nikolay Okhitin from

Refinishing a porcelain or ceramic sink, tub and surrounding tile in a bathroom is a thrifty idea. Replacement of such equipment not only requires paying for new sinks, showers, bathtubs, and more, but it also requires major remodelling expense to take out the old fixtures. Hiring a professional to complete the resurfacing is easy enough; dozens of services exist, but a homeowner can do it too with the help of several different products sold in hardware and discount stores as well as on the Internet.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Electric fan
  • Protective mask
  • Disposable gloves
  • Wire brush
  • Single-edge razor blade
  • 80 grit sandpaper
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Steel wool
  • Paper towel
  • Acetone
  • Masking or painter's tape
  • Newspaper
  • Primer bonding agent
  • Brush-on reglazing coating
  • Disposable mixing bowl
  • Foam brush or roller
  • Paint tray

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  1. 1

    Remove any rust stains with a wire brush and inspect the surface for excess caulk, paint spatters or other debris stuck onto the ceramic. Use a razor blade to gently remove these imperfections. Take care not to gouge the surface with the blade or brush.

  2. 2

    Sand the surface with 80 grit sandpaper to finish removing the last traces of caulk, silicone or rust. Vacuum the surface to remove sandpaper debris.

  3. 3

    Use the steel wool to scratch the porcelain surface. Scratching the surface helps the refinishing coatings to adhere. Vacuum debris left by the steel wool.

  4. 4

    Clean the surface by wiping it with acetone on paper towel in a well-ventilated room. Wear gloves, use a fan, open a window and keep candles and smokers far from the room. Dispose of the used paper towel carefully in a closed container, preferably outdoors. Allow the acetone to evaporate completely.

  1. 1

    Use masking tape or painter's tape to protect areas adjacent to the surface to be refinished. This includes drains, metal faucets and handles as well as any other area not requiring refinishing. Be sure to cut carefully around the tape protecting a drain or faucet to produce a clean line between the metal and the new coating. Use newspaper attached with tape to protect large areas like the floor and walls.

  2. 2

    Use acetone on a paper towel to wipe the fixture again, taking care to remove any debris or adhesive from the tape. Wait for the acetone to dry. Dispose of paper towel properly.

  3. 3

    Apply the primer, the bonding agent, with paper towel using a circular motion to cover the fixture completely, again wearing the mask and taking precautions with the flammable primer. Allow the primer to dry at least 20 to 30 minutes before proceeding.

  1. 1

    Mix the brush-on coating or special paint according to the manufacturer's directions, either in the can or in the disposable bowl. Pour some of the paint into the paint tray, and use the foam brush or roller to apply it. Do not apply one heavy coating. Paint lightly at first, adding coats until the coverage is perfect. Allow the paint to dry to the touch between coats. Acetone will correct drips and errors if applied immediately.

  2. 2

    Remove the masking tape as soon as possible. Do not allow the paint to dry with tape left on the fixture. Once again, acetone will correct errors. Clean brushes or rollers with paint thinner or discard.

  3. 3

    Allow the new finish to dry at least 24 hours, preferably 48. Keep the new finish dry as long as possible.

    Do not apply heat.

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid abrasives on the refinished sink and countertop.
  • Mixing the brush-on paint allows you to add tint to match existing fixtures or to change the colour. Purchase the tint along with the primer and paint.
  • Follow directions precisely. Refinishing products are easy to misuse and may cause undesirable results.
  • Keep children away from the room; ventilate well to avoid inhalation of the vapour or fumes.

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