Repairing a porcelain bathtub

How to repair a porcelain bathtub

Make old tubs look like new again.

Over time, the porcelain surfaces of bathtubs may lose some of their beauty. The surface may become dull or discolored. Often a slip with a heavy object might chip the surface. Many repairs do not require replacing the tub or calling out a professional. You can do them yourself with the aid of bleach, touch up paint, glue or caulk.

Stains and mineral deposits

Most discolorations can be removed with the sort the liquid chlorine bleach solution you can buy anywhere, and there are commercially available products for removing mineral deposits such as lime scale.

Tip: Lime scale can often be removed with salt and a damp cloth. First, put salt on the mineral deposit and cover with a damp cloth and leave for a while. Then wipe with a clean damp cloth.

For rust stains, try rubbing the stain with a slice of lemon.

For bad stains, you may need something stronger. Remember, that when using a stronger product you should take great care to protect your eyes and skin. Use eye protectors and gloves. We recommend applying either a 5% solution of oxalic acid or 10% solution hydrochloric acid for a few seconds before rinsing off with water.

How to repair small scratches and chips in your porcelain tub

For most small scratches and chips, the repair will be achieved by applying various coats of enamel or epoxy-based paint, and no small measure of patience. You should note that a 100% perfect finish is unlikely. However, in most cases the result will be acceptable. There touch-up kits available commercially in your color.

To begin, prepare the surface around the scratch or chip by cleaning thoroughly with alcohol. Make sure the surface is completely dry and dust-free.

Then, blending toward the edges of the scratch, apply the paint sparingly with a small brush. Let the paint dry for about an hour before applying another coat. Apply more coats until you achieve a satisfactory result. Do remember that the result will not be perfect.

How to repair large chips in a porcelain tub

The solution to large chips in a porcelain bath tub is epoxy resin. There are various types of epoxy resin, so ask your hardware dealer to recommend the most appropriate for the task.

In order to glue to chipped piece into its original position, first ensure that the area is clean and dry. As always, cleaning first with alcohol will generally get the best results.

Once clean and dry, finely coat both surfaces with the epoxy resin adhesive. (Check the instructions that come with the epoxy resin. Some manufacturers recommend applying to only one of the surfaces). Leave for a few seconds then push the two surfaces firmly together. Use masking tape to hold the pieces securely in place and leave for a least an hour. Ensure that the area around the repair is kept dry for at least twenty-four hours.

When the job is too big, the bathtub too old or too damaged.

If you decide that none of these repairs is going to solve your problem, what to do? Well, there are three possible options in order of cost:

  • 1. Buy a new bathtub
  • 2. Install a bathtub liner
  • 3. Reglaze or re-enamel your bathtub

Compare installing a bathtub liner with reglazing a bathtub
Find our more about bathtub liners.

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