How do You Refinish a Rusty Porcelain Tub? Revive Your Old Tub

One of the most distinct features of a beautifully appointed bathroom is an immaculate porcelain tub. Over time, though, even the most well-maintained tubs can succumb to rust, causing a significant downgrade in their visual appeal.

But don’t fret, as the situation isn’t beyond repair. In fact, refinishing a rusty porcelain tub can be a rewarding DIY project. This article offers a comprehensive guide on how to breathe life back into your rusty porcelain tub.

How do You Refinish a Rusty Porcelain Tub?

When it comes to tub refinishing, the process generally involves three main steps: cleaning, repairing, and repainting. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to proceed.

Step 1: Clean and Prep the Tub

The initial step to refinishing your porcelain tub is to clean it thoroughly.

  1. Empty the tub and clear the bathroom: Remove all items from the tub and the surrounding area to prevent damage and allow for a neat work environment.
  2. Clean the tub: Apply a non-abrasive bathroom cleaner and scrub with a soft cloth or sponge. Rinse and dry thoroughly.
  3. Use a rust remover: Apply a rust remover on the rusted areas and scrub gently with a brush. Rinck thoroughly and dry.

Step 2: Repair the Tub

Once the tub is clean, it’s time to repair any damaged or rusted spots.

  1. Sand the rusted areas: Using wet/dry sandpaper (400-600 grit), gently sand the rusted areas until the surface becomes smooth.
  2. Apply a porcelain repair kit: Follow the instructions on the kit to cover any small chips or cracks.

Step 3: Repaint the Tub

The final stage involves giving your tub a new coat of paint.

  1. Apply a primer: After masking off areas you don’t want to paint, apply a suitable primer. Let it dry as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Paint the tub: Use a high-quality tub and tile paint, applying as instructed by the manufacturer.
  3. Allow to dry: Once you’ve applied the necessary coats, let the tub dry for at least 48-72 hours before using it.

Choosing the Right Materials for Refinishing Your Tub

Choosing the right materials is crucial when refinishing a rusty porcelain tub. This table provides an overview of the materials you’ll need and their purposes.

Non-abrasive cleanerTo clean the tub
Rust removerTo remove rust from the tub
Wet/dry sandpaperTo smoothen the rusted areas
Porcelain repair kitTo repair small chips and cracks
PrimerTo prepare the tub for painting
Tub and tile paintTo repaint the tub

Additional Tips for a Successful Tub Refinishing

To ensure a successful tub refinishing project, consider these additional tips:

  • Ventilation: Ensure your bathroom is well-ventilated during the process, especially while applying chemicals or painting.
  • Safety: Always wear protective gear, such as gloves and safety glasses, when handling chemicals or sanding.
  • Patience: Don’t rush the process. Give each stage—cleaning, repairing, and painting—the time it requires.

Key Takeaways

Refinishing a rusty porcelain tub can be an engaging DIY project that breathes new life into your bathroom. Remember these key takeaways:

  1. The refinishing process involves three main steps: cleaning, repairing, and repainting.
  2. Choosing the right materials, from rust removers to high-quality tub and tile paint, is crucial for a successful project.
  3. Always maintain good ventilation and wear protective gear during the process.
  4. Patience is key. Allow each step, especially drying times, to fully complete for best results.

With this guide in hand, you’re ready to tackle the project and return your rusty porcelain tub to its former glory.


What materials do I need to refinish a rusty porcelain tub?

You will need a porcelain repair kit, tub cleaner, sandpaper, a paintbrush, primer, and enamel paint.

Is it possible to refinish a rusty porcelain tub at home?

Yes, with the proper tools and procedure, you can effectively refinish a rusty porcelain tub at home.

How do I remove rust from my porcelain tub before refinishing?

Use a tub cleaner and fine grit sandpaper to scrub away rust spots. Rinse and dry thoroughly before applying primer.

How long does it take to refinish a rusty porcelain tub?

The process usually takes 1-2 days, including drying time, but it might be up to a week before it’s fully ready for use.

Can I use any paint to refinish my rusty porcelain tub?

No, you need to use a special tub-and-tile epoxy paint, or porcelain enamel paint that’s designed for tubs.

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