Reglazing a vintage Venetian Pink 1960s cast-iron bathtub
This DIY cast-iron bathtub project took a ton of elbow grease and four 12-ounce cans of epoxy enamel paint. I used Krylon specialty epoxy enamel gloss white-30007. This bathtub project was completed outside in (almost) full sun, then brought inside, and has since been reinstalled.
I have wanted to complete (and accomplish) this particular DIY project (successfully) for a while now. I reglazed the bathtub outside in the open air, because the fumes from the epoxy enamel are highly toxic. Plus, this paint generates a lot of over-spray, and can otherwise be tedious trying to use it indoors where there's little ventilation and less workable space to move around.
Why resurface an old bathtub?
There are various reasons why you might want to reglaze your bathtub. One of those reasons may be because you'd like your bathroom to be spruced up for this century. I know that was one of my reasons for wanting to reglaze my vintage 1960s bathtub, but the other reasons were, because the tub had rust spots forming where the porcelain veneer had gotten chipped off. Plus, the color had faded badly inside on the very bottom of the tub down to the original casting in a few noticeable areas.
Why not purchase a new bathtub instead of reglazing an old tub?
When I originally took the tub out, I believed that I would be able to purchase a brand new tub that was the same specific size. However, during the time that my particular tub was installed, bathtubs were apparently made in different dimensions than they are now. I looked endlessly for a new tub without having any luck finding the size that I needed for a replacement. Hence, the reason why I took another stab at reglazing my old tub again. Yes, again!
So, I am not going to sugarcoat my experience with you. I want you all to see the before, during, and after. Because there was much frustration that I encountered during the entire process. Keep in mind this was my first (and second) stab at refurbishing this particular bathtub. (Note: I am not a professional tub refurbisher.)
I actually took the bathtub out of my home about three years ago after I had a disastrous experience with a different type of tub and tile paint than the paint that I eventually ended up using.
Below is a photo that I took and zoomed in so that you can see just how devastating parts of this particular tub looked after the first epic failed attempt, which eventually turned out successfully after using the Krylon specialty epoxy enamel.
As you can see from the above and below photos, I tried scraping the areas where the first product messed up. I then tried to sand the mess down and tried again, but the glaze kept doing this exact same thing. Peeling, cracking, bubbling up, and popping off. I didn't know at that time if it was occurring because of the patch job that I did using a polyester resin, or exactly what the culprit was.
I admit, at this point, I had wished that I had never tried refinishing the pink bathtub. I was frustrated to no end. So, that's the point when I gave up and took the bathtub out of the house. (Don't worry, I also have a walk-in shower. So I was not without a way to bathe during this entire ordeal.)
Before I installed the bathtub inside my house, I still allowed two weeks longer for the epoxy enamel to fully cure. Even though the tub felt dry and smooth to the touch.
I ended up using four twelve-ounce cans of the paint. I didn't use primer, but maybe I should have.
Since I used Krylon specialty epoxy enamel over other options, I didn't need to hurry to use the product before it hardened and ruined. So, this allowed me the extra window of time to do this DIY slowly and perhaps more efficiently.
The paint that I decided to go with states that it dries in thirty minutes and I can honestly verify that it does. Krylon also states on their website that the product can be handled within an hour, but I preferred waiting. I didn't particularly want to smell paint fumes inside my bathroom, because I have sinus sensitivity.
So, my bathtub was originally Venetian pink. It isn't anything fancy, but it is a cast-iron tub. I originally decided to reglaze it because I had purchased a glossy white dual flush commode, and a sink that matched the commode, but nothing matched that pink tub. So, it had to go. I know, shame on me for not saving the pink!
Venetian Pink (#bb8e84 hex color) became extremely popular in the early 1960s, and it can still be found today in some bathrooms around the globe. Such as the bathtub that I have refinished in a glossy white epoxy enamel. (I keep saying that I re-glazed it, but that may not be the correct terminology for how I have refinished my bathtub.)
Before painting the tub this last time, I took the drain components out of the bathtub. I found that doing this actually is a better way, because then there's no taping involved and no paint can be chipped or pulled away when you take the tape off. Nor does paint bleed through the tape. Plus, I will be replacing the old hardware for new. (Lacquer thinner and mineral spirits can clean up most paint messes easily.)
After taking the drain out, I used a large razor blade to scrape off chipped paint and old caulking. After which, I scrubbed the tub with Comet (with bleach) abrasive cleaner and rinsed it out with a pressure spray nozzle. (I did this about four times.) I left the bathtub sitting outside in the sun to help dry it. Then later in the afternoon, I wiped it down with a lint free cloth. Then sprayed it with a light coat of epoxy enamel and allowed it to dry and cure overnight. Doing this helped me to verify if this particular product was going to work effectively in my tub. Plus, it helped me see the bad spots much easier.
After waiting a full forty-eight hours, I roughed up the first coat of paint using 220 grit and 400 grit wet and dry sand blocks, then repeated the entire process of cleaning the tub again. After which, I sprayed one more coat of the epoxy enamel over the bathtub. Then I left it outside to dry and cure in the sun. (Using this epoxy enamel, the re-coating window is within two hours or after forty-eight hours.)
When spraying the epoxy enamel, I applied a light coat each time I went over the bathtub. I proceeded to take these initial steps to ensure that I wouldn't have runs occur. Although, on the can of paint it states that it doesn't run or drip. I can also testify that those claims are correct. I didn't have any of those issues while using the product.
Why did I choose Krylon specialty epoxy enamel?
I actually didn't like the refinishing paints that I had to mix part A with part B. I also didn't like the time window of having to use all the paint during a certain amount of time, because if you don't, the paint hardens and ruins. Plus, I didn't like the brush-on or roll-on idea.
So, here's what I like about Krylon specialty epoxy enamel: the paint actually hardens as it dries with a durable finish. It dries exceptionally fast. Plus, it's completely waterproof, and supposedly scratch-resistant, and it's resistant to most chemicals. The paint does actually dry in less than thirty minutes. (I used this product outside, so keep that in mind too. The outside temperature was also in the high 80s while I was doing this DIY project.)
I paid $63.96 on four of the 12-ounce cans of Krylon specialty epoxy enamel and $7.99 for an assortment of seven wet/dry sanding blocks. I already had the respirator, plastic gloves, drop cloth, etc.. So, the job didn't cost too much. I ended up using the entire four cans. (Remember, I started the second round with an extremely messed up bathtub.)
I moved the bathtub in the shade because the color is almost too glaring to look at otherwise being outside in the sun. It's indeed (what I consider being) a bright white, and the enamel has made the tub super glossy. The end results turned out better than I actually anticipated. The epoxy enamel dried into a very similar "factory-like finish" and I am pleased with the outcome.
How well does Krylon epoxy enamel hold up?
After coating the bathtub several times with the epoxy enamel and allowing it to cure for several days, I tested the paint with water by spraying it with a high pressure nozzle while standing inside the tub. The paint stayed in place, it didn't wrinkle, chip, bubble up, nor did it do anything else funky. I continued testing the epoxy enamel each day afterward. It was important to me to make sure that the paint was going to hold up before reinstalling the tub inside my home.
The other product that I tried (over three years ago) left me horrified. Before and after water had been drawn in the tub (for the first time), the paint began bubbling up almost immediately at the drain. Then, after a couple more uses, it popped off in big spots on the sides and bottom of the tub. The paint became rubbery-like in its texture and peelable in certain areas, especially around the drain. Honestly, the paint never hardened like the Krylon epoxy enamel did.
Keep in mind, just because a paint product says that it's made for tub and tile, doesn't mean that it will work on all types of bathtubs. After doing a bit of research, apparently this is what ended my first reglazing attempt at epic failure.
If you're considering sprucing up your outdated cast-iron tub, I believe that the glossy white paint would turn out awesome in a bathtub that is originally white or off-white. Plus, if your cast-iron bathtub just needs a quick resurfacing, you'd probably be able to get it done with less paint than what I had to use.
I realize that you may not be able to take your bathtub outside of your home. So, please take these simple precautions if you should decide to use this product inside your home: eye protection, a reusable full face cover respirаtor with 2091 Р100 filters, gloves, drop cloths, masking tape, and proper air flow. You may even want to invest in purchasing a painter's suit beforehand.