Can You Paint a Plastic Bathtub? [Unlock the Secrets]

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You can certainly paint a plastic bathtub even with different types of paints. Some people think plastic has adherence problems, and as a result, painting might create bumps or terrible bubbles. But in reality, there are paints that give a totally new look to your overly used, filthy, and yellowish bathtub.

For this rejuvenation of your bathtub, you need to prepare it properly before painting.

can you paint a plastic bathtub

For a new bathtub, you might not have to put much effort into preparing the surface of it before the application of paint. However, plastic is totally a different material than concrete or metal. The latter materials have their own adherence texture.

But plastic is comparatively stubborn and won’t let paint penetrate deep into it. That’s why durability and proper adhesion have become a matter of great question. Today we will find out all the clear solutions to every question regarding painting on plastic bathtubs.

Can You Paint a Plastic Bathtub?

Painting a bathtub is not something that you cannot do. You are free to give it a colorful look or modernize your plastic bathtub with the help of paints. But there are some restrictions that you need to follow. We have already said that plastic has less adhesion capacity. It will not let paint penetrate deep into the surface.

As a result, painting might not last for a longer period of time. But you should not back out only for this reason. You can come up with ideas just by preparing the surface with a proper primer. This will definitely lead you to successfully paint the bathtub and it will also last for many years.

However, you also need to be careful about choosing paint. Less qualitative and old paint is not going to help you. Therefore, it’s always better to do some research before buying paints for your bathtub.

For a wise decision, choose a water-resistant paint, so, continuous exposure to water in the bathtub does not encourage the paint to peel off the surface. Epoxy or acrylic polymer paints work legit fine for this job.

Besides that, a good finish will also ensure that the painting of your bathtub will remain intact for many years. For finishing, there are refinishing kits that offer compatibility with your plastic bathtub. You will just now have to choose the right kit for it.

How to Paint a Plastic Bathtub?

Many people adopt plastic bathtubs because they are not only affordable but also extremely durable. But what is thinkable is the cheap look of your plastic bathtub. To cover this cheapness, many people paint the plastic bathtub. If you are DIYer and want to paint your bathtub too, you can do it by following these few steps.

Step 1: Materials You Need

First thing first, you need to collect all the materials for this job beforehand so that later on, you don’t get bewildered. Besides, this makes the job easier.

  • Epoxy or acrylic enamel paint
  • Primer
  • Safety wear
  • An open space
  • Tape
  • Paintbrush or roller
  • Scrubber, soap, deep cleaner, and washcloths

Step 2: Prep Your Bathtub

The second step tells you to give an intense cleaning to your bathtub. With time, plastic material gets worn out with dingy, yellowish layers of grease, sticky molds, body oils, residues of toiletries, and so on. Therefore, it is important to prepare your bathtub by cleaning out all the dirt from it.

First, remove all the extra elements from the bathtub. Then spread soapy water in the bathtub and let it soak it for 2 or 3 hours. During this time the layers and bonds of dust and dingy will get loosed. You can also use mild warm water or degreasing formula for extremely bad situations.

Give a vigorous cleaning by using a scrubber and abrasive material till the tub gets back to its previous clean look. You can also use fine sandpaper and sand your bathtub. This can add some adherence power to your bathtub too.

Step 3: Tape Important Areas and Put Primer

After providing a vigorous cleaning, you need to wipe out the extra water. Make sure there are enough ventilation areas for the passing of air. Before painting, you need to tape the important areas like the shower stall and edges where your painting will not look good. You can just tape any metal parts of your tub.

When you are done taping important metal parts of your tub, it’s time to put quality primer for plastic on the surface. We all know how effectively a primer helps to increase the adhesion power of both surface and paint. Spread out the primer on the surface evenly and give it enough time to be absorbed by the plastic and dry properly.

Step 4: Paint Your Bathtub

Your next job is to apply paint on the dried surface with the help of a paintbrush or roller. For an even layer of paint, the roller is more effective. However, epoxy or acrylic enamel paint is your best option. With the help of the roller, apply a thin coat on the surface of your bathtub evenly and seamlessly.

When the first coat dries fully, you can apply a second coat following the same manner. This will help to pop out the real color of the paint. Remember to wear a safety suit during the whole process. Because paints for plastics can emit serious chemical gas and fumes, they might attack your lungs and cause irritation.

Step 5: Finish It with a Topcoat

The next step is to check out if the second coat has dried or not. If it has dried, then apply an acrylic topcoat to seal the paint properly. Give it time to dry and then remove all the tape from the bathtub and Voila! Your new modernized bathtub is welcoming you to use it.

Factors to Consider before Painting Plastic Bathtubs

There are many controversies regarding painting a bathtub. Among those the controversy that plastic does not take paint properly on it is the major one. But if you follow some factors before you paint your plastic bathtubs, you can avoid such controversies.

1. Assess the condition of the plastic bathtub

If you are using your plastic bathtub for years, then there is a chance that it has many greasy layers on it. These layers can also be of dirt. Besides, continuous extraction of body oil contributes to making greasy layers on your bathtub.

Also, if your water has iron in it, over time, you will see the yellowish iron stick to the plastic like leeches stick to the body. So, you need to assess the condition of the plastic bathtub before painting it. Sometimes, the layers get so stubborn that even sanding won’t be of any help.

In circumstances like that, you might have to give up on the idea of painting it. Then again, there are many plastic bathtubs that have old paint which are already peeling. For this context, assess carefully if the tub is re-paintable or not.

2. Research the appropriate paint and primer for plastic surfaces

It always results in good when you do your homework properly and then sit for the examination. Likewise, before jumping into the step of painting your bathtub, you should do some research.

There are some specific paints available for plastic materials. These paints are so great that you don’t have to prime the surface beforehand. They adhere evenly on the plastic-based surface.

But if you want to adopt some regular paint, then research properly. Our recommendation is you can go with epoxy and some quality acrylic paints. For using these paints, adopting primer for plastic material is a must.

3. Consider the impact on the bathtub’s functionality and longevity

Plastic is already very durable and has great endurance. But it has a lifespan too. Some bathtubs can be made of very cheap plastic and they will wear out pretty soon. So, you need to check the plastic quality of the bathtub first. See if it has bearable endurance and durability or not.

If it is cheap and weak, a vigorous cleaning before painting might snatch its last breath. So, you have to be careful about it.

What Kind of Paint Do You Use on a Plastic Bathtub?

You can check several types of paints in the market for your plastic bathtub. For the materials, not all kinds of paints are going to work fine on it. Paints that have much adhesion power suit the best on plastic surfaces.

There are many paints that are resistant to water. As a bathtub has to expose to moisture on a continuous basis, paints with water-resistant agents work the best without any doubt. You will find this kind of feature in epoxy paint. Epoxy paint is not only resistant to water but it also has immense adhesion quality and impressive durability too.

Also, there are some acrylic paints that go with plastic materials pretty well. Using a primer for these paints is advisable by experts. Also, you can use spray paints as well. Spray paints are very comfortable to work with. For plastics, there are also recommendable spray paints in the market.

Can You Spray Paint a Plastic Bathtub?

Yes, you can spray paint a plastic bathtub and it’s one of the easiest ways of painting as well. Many experts have recommended using spray paint for an even spreading of the paint. The evenness that you will hardly get from using a paintbrush or roller, you will get easily with a sprayer.

But the only concerning thing about using spray paint is it costs a lot. Besides, how many spray cans of paint you need is also a matter of concern. Apart from this, spray paint offers great advantages. Because it spreads evenly without any trouble, it also gets dry easily.

However, you need to be patient while using spray paint. Overdoing it might cause a dripping condition of the paint and as a result, your bathtub will have a bump-looking condition. So, it requires a little bit of professionalism and a lot of ventilation for air to dry the paint correctly.

Can You Change the Color of a Plastic Bathtub?

You are free to change the color of your plastic bathtub by painting it nicely. If the plastic material of your bathtub looks cheap, then you can paint it and change its color or overall look. But for this, you cannot just go straight to any hardware store and buy any of the colors.

You should learn the condition of your bathtub first. If it is paintable, only then you can paint it. Also, don’t just pick any of the colors. If you pick light colors and your plastic bathtub has already a dark bright color then the former would not be able to hide the latter color.

Also, not all paints are suitable for the plastic materials of your bathtub. Therefore, you have objections there too. Buy the paints specially made for plastic for having less trouble in making the base on the surface of your plastic bathtub.

Can I Use Enamel Paint on a Plastic Bathtub?

There are controversies regarding the usage of enamel paint on plastic bathtubs. Some people think that enamel paint makes bubbles or bumps on the surface making the paint look uneven and ugly. But this only happens when someone does not prepare the surface well.

For this kind of problem, one has to prepare the surface with sandpaper and primer. Only then enamel paint can work nicer on the surface of plastic materials. Besides this, enamel paint is durable enough once you apply it properly to your bathtub.

Because it has waterproofing agents, its durability speaks for itself. As moisture cannot penetrate through enamel paint, you can use this paint with certainty.

How Long It Takes to Paint a Plastic Bathtub?

Painting a bathtub can be a long process. Still, it depends on the mood, professionalism, and seriousness of the DIYer. Then again, it depends on the condition of the surface of the plastic bathtub. It takes approximately 3 or 2 days to paint a plastic bathtub in general.

But if the surface of the plastic bathtub is full of dingy, greases, layers of irons, and molds, then cleaning it will take almost a full day. Then applying primer and letting it soak for a whole day covers almost 2 full days.

After that, you can paint slowly on the surface taking up more time so it dries properly and gets ready for the second coating. This whole process might require 1-2 days. So, it should not take more than 3 or 4 days.

Professional Service vs. DIY for Painting a Plastic Bathtub

Professional service ensures guaranteed performance and will make your plastic bathtub look new and beautiful. It will bring successful results quickly and properly. But for this, you have to spend a hefty sum of money. Besides, professional service is professional and if it serves wrongly by tricking you, your money will go in vain.

But DIY for painting a plastic bathtub offers many things to learn to the DIYer. With numerous ideas, she or he can do the painting. It might get a little messier but the satisfaction level is unbeatable. A DIYer will certainly not perform like professionals but his work is 100 percent honest and self-satisfying.

Final Words

To conclude, a plastic bathtub can never be a barrier to making your bathroom look beautiful. No matter how cheap the plastic looks of your bathtub, you can give it a new look by painting it following our instructions and information. So, now you know with the proper knowledge to answer the question “Can you paint a plastic bathtub”.

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