We are in the process of renovating a rental property to sell, and one of the things that desperately needed attention was the bathtub in the upstairs hall bathroom. It wasn’t in our budget to replace it, so today I’m going to show you how to refinish a bathtub on a budget. The refinishing kit that I used cost about $25, so if you have all of the other supplies on-hand (which you might), then you could do this entire project for that price. Even if you have to buy everything to prep the tub, you could still do it for under $100. Today I’ll walk you through how I did it, what I used, and my thoughts on the whole process.
Project Supply List:
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- Rust-Oleum Tub & Tile Refinishing Kit
- 4” High Quality Short Nap Kitchen & Bathroom Roller and Frame
- Foam Brush
- Paint Tray
- Drop Cloth
- Comet (or similar abrasive cleanser)
- Abrasive Pad
- Razor Blade
- Stir Sticks
- Safety Glasses
- Disposable Gloves
- Painter’s Tape
- Tack Cloth
- 400-600 Wet/Dry Sandpaper
How to Refinish a Bathtub on a Budget
Step 1: Remove Caulk
I followed the prep instructions I found on the product page here. First, I used a razor blade to remove the existing caulk from the perimeter of the tub.
Step 2: Clean Tub
I cleaned the tub with Comet and an abrasive sponge. The instructions recommend using Lime-Away also, but I skipped that step since I didn’t have any on-hand and this particular tub didn’t appear to need it. I did clean it with bleach after the Comet though.
Step 3: Protect Surroundings
Apply painter’s tape around the edge of the tub and around the drain, and lay a drop cloth down to protect the floor.
Step 4: Sand
Next, I sanded the entire tub with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper. (The instructions recommend 400-600 grit.) I used a tack cloth to remove all of the dust and debris.
Step 5: Mix Epoxy
The refinishing kit comes with 2 cans, a base and an activator. I stirred each one individually, and then poured the activator into the base can. I stirred for 2 minutes, per the instructions. Then, I poured it into a small paint tray. You will definitely need a respirator and fan for ventilation as the fumes are very strong.
Step 6: Apply Epoxy
I used a 4 inch roller to apply the epoxy, and a small foam brush to apply it around the drain and as needed around the edges.
Step 6: Add Second Coat
I waited an hour for the first coat to dry, and then applied a second coat the same way as the first.
Step 7: Remove Tape
The instructions recommend waiting an hour after the second coat has dried to remove the tape, but I only waited about 20-30 minutes. I didn’t want to risk the epoxy drying too quickly and the tape pulling some of it away when I peeled it off. This worked fine.
While this isn’t a long term solution, it’s a great option for anyone who doesn’t have the budget to replace a tub. One common question I’ve gotten so far is “how long will it last?” and that really depends on how much use the tub will get. I would guesstimate a couple of years with regular use. This tub appeared to have been refinished before, which would have been before we bought the place 14 years ago. It lasted several years with moderate use. It looks a hundred times better now, so it was definitely worth the time to do this. Again, I can’t stress enough how strong the fumes are so do not attempt to do this without a respirator.
Here is the “before.” That is not dirt, that’s actually where the finish has worn off over time.
And here is the “after.” I still need to caulk, but you get the idea.
I hope you found this helpful! You can check out the video here: