Is there a quick and easy way to fix/replace the enamel on a bathtub? Our bathtub enamel is chipping and we don't have the money to replace the entire tub.
Hello tpatusco and welcome to The Community! We are glad that you are here.
I have a quick fix and two longer strategies for filling in the chips on your bathtub and keeping it looking great so you do not need to replace the entire tub.
You will need to have plenty of ventilation and wear proper protection equipment (safety glasses, respirator, and latex gloves) since these products will irritate your eyes, skin, and respiratory tract. For best results, be sure to follow the curing times as specified and make other arrangements since you will not be able to use your bathtub during these timeframes.
A quick solution is to use the Magic American Porcelain Chip Fix Repair for Tubs and Sinks. Empty the contents of this two part epoxy into the mixing tray (plastic package). Divide the mixture; let half stand for 30 minutes and freeze the rest. Use a brush to dab a light coat into chip. Wipe away runs with a damp paper towel. Wait 45 minutes and apply a second coat using a clean brush; clean the brush between applications using lacquer thinner. Apply multiple light coats. If more coats are needed, remove the stored mixture from freezer, let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature, and apply. The working time is 1 hour at room temperature and 6 hours in the freezer. Allow 3 days to cure and wait 5 days prior to cleaning with a non-abrasive cleaner.
There are two sets of products that you can use to fill in the chips and refinish your tub. The first method uses Homax Porcelain Chip Fix and Tough as Tile One Part Epoxy Tub & Sink Refinishing Kit.
Homax White Porcelain Chip Fix: The tough epoxy finish is durable enough for a tub, is easy to apply, and comes with a brush and mix tray. The How To: Repair a Chipped Sink provides step-by-step instructions. You will need to wait 5 days before cleaning with a non-abrasive bathroom cleaner.
Homax Tough as Tile One Part Epoxy: Once the chips have been filled in, you may want to refinish your tub with the Homax Tough as Tile One Part Epoxy Finish in spray-on (aerosol) or brush-on kits. The spray-on (aerosol) application is great for tubs while the brush-on approach improves a sink or vanity. An epoxy coat dries in about 90 minutes. Each kit contains nitrile rubber gloves, a surface prep cleaner, #000 steel wool, and a #2 polyester paint brush (in the brush-on kit). You will also need to purchase paper towels, sponges, plastic drop cloth, painters masking tape, lacquer thinner, dust mask, bucket, and a NIOSH-approved respirator. Check out the instructional video for more information. You will need to allow 3 days curing time.
Another way to fill in the chips and refinish the bathtub is with the Rust-Oleum Tub and Tile Refinishing Kit.
J-B Weld 2-Piece Cold Weld Epoxy Set: Rust-Oleum recommends that you first fill in the chips using J-B Weld 2-Piece Cold Weld Epoxy Set (“liquid steel”). There is a 4-minute set time and 15-hour cure time. (It will cure dark gray.)
Rust-Oleum 1 qt. White Tub and Tile Refinishing Kit: Once the chips are filled in, begin surface preparation following the label instructions. The epoxy acrylic paint is applied using a brush, roller, or sprayer to provide a high gloss finish. One quart will cover up to 3 coats on a standard bathtub and cleans up with mineral spirits. Recoating time is short; a second coat can be applied within 1-2 hours of the first coat. Allow to dry for 3 days before exposing to water.
Best wishes on your project and please keep us posted on your progress.