How to Refinish a Bathtub Yourself in Just 11 Steps: Complete Guide

How to Refinish a Bathtub Yourself in Just 11 Steps

Do you have a bathtub that needs refinishing? Are you not sure how to go about it, or where to start? Well, look no further! In this blog post, we will walk you through the 11 easy steps for refinishing your bathtub yourself. We will provide you with all of the information that you need to get the job done right. So sit back, relax, and let us show you how it’s done!

What You Need to Know Before You Start

Whether you have your tub refinished by experts or re-coated it yourself, everything is completed on the site. Surrounding materials, such as tile, flooring, and other components, are covered off while the resin coating is applied. This is one of the primary advantages of refinishing over replacing a tub or liner; while it does not offer the same like-new results as installing a new tub or liner, refinishing may be an excellent choice as a stopgap measure or in a bathroom that doesn’t see regular use.

Although DIY refinishing kits are significantly cheaper, it is important to keep in mind that the results will not be identical to those of a professional nor will it last as long. Thoroughly clean and prepare all surfaces before beginning the process, and make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions exactly. In order to assure the quality of your finish, only use cleaning products that are non-abrasive on recoated tubs.

Factors to consider when it comes to safety

Although some bathtub refinishing kits claim to be “odorless” and not produce any fumes, this is usually not the case. The best products are two-part mixtures that involve mixing an epoxy resin with a chemical hardener, which will create fumes regardless. Make sure to ventilate the space thoroughly by opening all of the windows and running the bathroom exhaust fan while you work.

Furthermore, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding breathing protection or using a respirator—especially during prep when you’ll be sanding down the existing tub.

The procedure below outlines the standard steps for most two-part bathtub refinishing products; however, be sure to read the manufacturer’s directions thoroughly for special instructions on how to properly use their product.

How to Refinish a Bathtub Yourself in Just 11 Steps

A list of what you will need

Equipment / Tools

  • Screwdriver
  • Putty knife
  • Abrasive pad
  • Rubber gloves
  • Breathing protection
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Bathtub refinishing kit
  • Paint roller with roller cover
  • Sponge paint brush
  • Roller trayCaulk gun


  • Chemical caulk remover
  • Bleach
  • Abrasive cleanser
  • Drop cloth
  • Painter’s tape#400 to #600 wet/dry sandpaper
  • Paper towels
  • Tack cloth
  • Tub-and-tile caulk

Follow these instructions:

1. Remove Hardware

When refinishing a bathtub, it’s best to unscrew and remove the spout and any escutcheons or cover plates. First, use a putty knife to clean away any dirt or caulk residue around openings in the tub.

2. Clean the Bathtub

Clean the tub well and remove any caulking from the joints around it. If necessary, use a chemical caulk remover to get rid of all traces of caulk from the surfaces. Scrub the entire surface with an abrasive cleanser or LimeAway applied with an abrasive pad to remove any mildew stains. Rinse thoroughly with clear water.

3. Mask Off Areas Around the Tub

Cover the floor and walls around the tub with drop cloths and painter’s tape. The epoxy covering will be difficult to remove, so keep spills and drops in mind.

4. Ventilate the Space

The sanding, etching, and sealing process produces dust and odors. Simple sanding may emit fiberglass dust that should not be breathed. To enhance ventilation in the area, open windows, turn on the exhaust fan, or set up portable fans before beginning labor. Wearing respiratory protection or whatever respiratory equipment is advised by the product’s manufacturer is also a good idea.

5. Etch the Tub Surfaces

When cleaning a tin tub, you should use the same steps as described above. Fill the tub with water, add an etching powder to it and scrub the surfaces with an abrasive brush. The etching powder aids in the dulling of the finish, allowing for adherence of the new coat. Clean out all debris from the basin using clear water.

6. Sand the Tub

To further roughen the surfaces, sand the tub once it’s dry with #400 or #600 wet/dry sandpaper. Make sure to rough-up all corners and edges of the tub; this is an important step to guarantee that the epoxy coating adheres properly. If an etching powder was not included in the package, make sure to clean the tub thoroughly and let it dry.

7. Wipe Down the Bathtub

Wipe down the tub with paper towels to ensure that it is completely dry, then use a tack cloth to wipe away any dust or paper residue.

8. Prime the Surfaces

Apply the kit’s primer to the bathtub surfaces if it is included. Apply the primer with a roller and foam brush, letting it dry as directed. Some refinishers are self-priming and don’t require a separate prime coat. Priming of bathtub surfaces should only be done using kit-supplied primers; use no other type of commercial paint primer.


To prevent lint from accumulating on the bathtub surfaces, clean the roller cover before applying primer or epoxy finish. To remove any loose lint from the roller cover, use sticky tape.

9. Mix the Epoxy Coating

Begin by stirring the hardener/catalyst into the epoxy resin, as per the instructions on the label. You will now need to work in a timely fashion, as once mixed, epoxy coatings gradually begin to harden. more often than not,, The product label will tell you how much working time (“open time”) you have before it becomes difficult to apply, but aim to finish coating the tub within one sitting.

10. Apply the Coating

Using a roller, apply the finish to the tub’s edges. To minimize drips, alternate vertical and horizontal strokes and avoid roller ridges. Roll the tub bottom next (horizontal surfaces), then sponge brush the tub deck. Finish any gaps with a sponge brush if necessary.

Please apply a second coat of paint as the label describes. Some products require that you recoat immediately, while others may only need one or two hours to dry before adding another layer.

Allow the final coat to dry and follow the label’s curing instructions. For some products, this takes up to two days; with others, it may be as long as three days. During at least the first day of curing, ensure that the area is well ventilated.

11. Caulk and Reinstall Hardware

Let the silicone caulk on the tub’s joints dry overnight, then reinstall the faucet. Your newly refinished bathtub can now be used!

When to Call a Professional

Although refinishing your tub yourself can be a cheap way to cover up an unsightly or worn tub, it won’t last long. The coating will start to wear away after only a few years and you’ll need to refinish it again. For most people, DIY bathtub refinishing is just a temporary solution until they can afford to replace the tub entirely. If you want a smooth and durable finish, it’s best to hire professional help.

Professional tub refinishers frequently promote their procedure as reglazing. The particular methods they utilize may vary somewhat, but the overall method is fairly standard. Professionals use similar techniques to DIY kits, although they commonly spend a lot of time repairing chips and cracks for an extra fee.

Additionally, the etching process may be done with an acidic solution rather than an abrasive powder. Usually, there is a primer coat applied before the refinisher applies several coats of epoxy coating—usually sprayed on rather than rolled or brushed on. The technician may then return a few days later to buff the surface to achieve a shiny finish.

You will likely get a better finish from refinishers than if you attempted to do it yourself, but don’t expect the final product to compare to a new bathtub.


How long does refinishing on a tub last?

The average bathtub refinishing job will last up to a decade, though it is possible for it to last even longer with the right amount of care and maintenance.

Can you change the color of the tub when refinishing it?

Yes, you can. That’s one of the benefits of refinishing a tub. You may change the color and remove an undesirable, antiquated color from your bathroom.

How do you clean a refinished tub?

Non-abrasive cleaners, such as a mild dish soap, should only be used to clean tubs that have been refinished. The tub should then be rinsed thoroughly.