Can You Spray Paint a Bathtub?


Last updated: June 8, 2023

Learn the step-by-step procedure for painting your bathtub in this comprehensive painting guide.

Can you spray paint a bathtub.

We all know how important a bathtub can be at the end of a hard day, or is it just us? Either way, your porcelain bathtub will get chips and stains the longer it is used. Stains from soap, shampoo, oil, and hard water are common for bathtubs.

Painting is among the best ways to give your bathtub a fresh look. However, is painting a bathtub with spray paint possible? Well, stick around as we look into the subject and explain exactly how to do it for good results.

Can You Spray Paint a Bathtub

Yes, you can spray paint a bathtub. Using the right spray paint will simplify the process and improve the chances of getting the right finish. Ensure you follow the steps outlined in this post to have the finish you desire.

What types of spray paint can you use on bathtubs?

The type of spray paint you use is crucial to getting the finish you want and a paint job that will last longer. 

With so many spray paint types available, choosing the right paint can be challenging for most of us. The main reason for this is that most people have no previous experience handling a similar DIY project. However, you do not have to fret about this – we are here to help!

Below are three types of spray paints that can be viable for your bathtub refinishing:

  • Acrylic enamel spray paint

As with acrylic paints, the acrylic enamel spray paint is also water-based. 

The major advantage of using this paint on your bathtub is that it is easy to clean. Additionally, it takes the least time to dry off all the paints listed here and does not have a strong smell.

The main disadvantage is that it is not durable, meaning you might need to repaint your tub more frequently. 

  • Epoxy spray paint

This type of spray paint is resistant to chemicals and water and is also more durable than acrylics. Epoxy paint provides a glossy finish when used on ceramic or porcelain tiles and tubs.

The downside of the paints is their strong smell, and applying them can be more difficult.

  • Urethane spray paint

These paints are more resistant to chemicals and water and more durable than all the spray paints mentioned above. However, they require a more specialized application process and cost more than acrylic and epoxy paints.

Quick note: When selecting the paint you will use on your bathtub, you should always consider the material used in making the tub and the type of finish you want. Equally important, you need to consider the environment your tub is in since other paints are more suited to humid or wet environments than others.

Step-by-step guide on how to spray paint your bathtub

Supplies and tools you will need

Below are the supplies you will need (remember, you may also include any other supplies and tools you deem necessary to carry out the process).

  • Scour pads and cleanser for cleaning.
  • Sandpapers (most preferably 400 and 600 grit).
  • Spray paint and primer.
  • Painter’s tape for covering areas you do not want to get paint, e.g., around the drain.
  • Drop clothes and plastic (for protecting floors and/or walls).
  • Overall, gloves, and respiratory mask for protection.
  • Any other relevant supplies.

Step 1: Prepare your work area

One of the most important steps commonly overlooked is cleaning the surface or object to be painted properly and thoroughly. We recommend that you do not skip this phase and give it the time required so your bathtub can have a good finished look.

Begin by letting in fresh air by opening your bathroom windows. If you have a bathroom fan, you should run it to eliminate any humid residue and moisture still in the room – running the fan for 2-3 minutes should be enough.

Step 2: Cleaning and prepping the bathtub surface

Cleaning the tub

Soap down the tub before scrubbing it with a cleanser, then finally scrub with a bleaching agent. Ensure you then rinse and wipe any residue using a thinner or acetone.

Sanding and priming the tub

When prepping the bathtub surface, sanding is a very important step. Sanding will ensure the spray paint will stick to the surface well and easily.

We suggest you start with 400-grit sandpaper and sand the entire surface you will paint. Then apply a thin coat of primer. 

The primer will remove some of the roughness due to the sanding, and some will stick to the bathtub’s surface. After the primer is completely dry, go back and sand the surface with the 600-grit sandpaper. 

Apply a second coat of the primer to the sanded surface and let it dry. Now the bathtub is ready to be painted.

Step 3: Spray painting the bathtub

Yes, we know you are ready to start spray painting the tub. But first, ensure you put on your protective gear.

Can you spray paint a bathtub?

Also, if your bathroom shares a vent with other areas of your home, say the hallway, then it is important that you cover the vent. Also, tape the space below the bathroom door; you would not want the spray paint fumes to escape into other areas of the house, would you? I guess no, because of the toxicity of spray paint fumes that could be harmful to your health.

You are now ready to start spray painting.

The spray painting process

As always, we recommend holding the spray paint 10″ to 12″ away from the surface you are painting. 

Also, the spray paint should be held at an angle of 45 degrees, allowing the paint to cover more surface area. Furthermore, this makes it easy for you to control the spray paint can so you can have the paint spread evenly across the entirety of the surface.

It would be best if you spray paint in complete streaks. What we mean is once you start to spray paint at one end of the tub’s surface, ensure you do it in a straight line to the other end of the surface before starting the next section.

We suggest you also apply thin coats as this makes spreading the paint evenly across the surface easier, and they dry quickly. Applying 2-3 thin coats will be enough to give your tub the smooth finish you are looking for.

Quick tip: Remember to clean the spray paint can nozzle after you are done painting, especially if the paint is still left in the can. This will prevent any clogging of the nozzle.

Step4: Let the paint coat dry

When you apply a coat of paint or primer during the painting or prepping steps, you should let it dry before applying another. This will ensure that each coat sticks well to the surface and help you avoid cracking or peeling off. 

After the painting is done, a great tip is to wait for at least three days prior to using the tub to protect the paint from moisture and ensure is cures properly.

All this will improve the durability and quality of the finish of your DIY paint job.

Can you spray paint a plastic bathtub?

Can you paint a bathtub with can spray paint? Yes, you can, even if your tub is made using plastic. All you have to remember is to choose the right paint for your bathtub, clean and prep it, and follow the steps outlined above when painting it.

How long will my tub take to dry completely?

Generally, the tub may take a few hours to a couple of days to dry completely. How long your bathtub takes to dry depends on various factors. Let us quickly look at some of the factors:

  • Prepping: Prepping the tub is essential if you want to have a better finish and your tub to dry quicker. Ensure you clean the surface, sand it thoroughly, and apply a primer.

  • Choice of paint: Not all paints are manufactured the same! The time each coat takes to dry completely also depends on the paint you use. While others may dry quickly, some might take several hours.

  • The number of paint coats: If you apply multiple coats (which we recommend), it will take longer for your tub to dry completely. This is because you must let each coat dry before applying another – hence more time.

While the time your tub takes to dry might seem important, you must follow the right steps and instructions for a better finish. There is no need to rush the process and end up with poor results.

What precautions should I take when painting a bathtub?

  • Safety gear

Like everything else, your health should be the first consideration, even when spray painting your tub. Before you begin the painting process, ensure you put on your coveralls, gloves, and, most importantly, a respirator mask (ensure it works correctly).

  • Choosing the right paint

Selecting the right paint for your tub is crucial. Ensure the paint you use is specifically manufactured for the material your tub is made from. This will make the painting process easier and quicker and give you the great finish you want.

  • Paint in a ventilated area

Spray paint fumes are hazardous to your health. As such, you should spray paint in a well-ventilated room to ensure aeration during and after the process. Doing so will reduce the harmful fumes and chemicals in the air.

Quick note: Other safety measures you can take include keeping away children and pets, taking frequent breaks to get fresh air, and familiarizing yourself with emergency procedures in case anything goes wrong.

Best paints for painting a bathtub

  1. Rust-oleum tub and tile spray paint

This spray paint is specifically manufactured for tub and tile surfaces, making it one of the best options for your project. 

Rustoleum tub and tile spray paint comes in a 12-ounce can and is available in coastal fog and white colors. The paint dries up in around 20 mins and leaves your tub with a porcelain-like and smooth, glossy finish that is waterproof.

  1. Krylon epoxy aerosol spray paint

Krylon epoxy spray paint is a fast-drying paint that provides a glossy finish to your tub. The paint is durable and chip resistant. The paint also comes in a 12-ounce can and takes only 20 minutes to dry to touch.

If you are looking for a factory-like finish for your bathtub, then you can never go wrong with this spray paint.

FAQs – Can You Spray Paint a Bathtub

Is sanding necessary when spray painting a bathtub?

Sanding is crucial if you want the primer and paint to adhere well to your bathtub’s surface.

We recommend that you first sand with 400-grip sandpaper, apply the first coat of primer, and then sand with 600-grit paper before applying the final coat of primer.

After this, you are ready to spray paint your tub!

Can I use a refinishing kit on tub and tile surfaces?

Yes. Using a refinishing kit on tub and tile surfaces is much more straightforward than spray painting. However, you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on using the kit properly for the best results.

Do I have to hire a professional to paint my tub?

No. You can do the job independently, especially if you follow the steps outlined above. Still, if you feel a professional can do a better job and can afford their services, you can hire one.

Can I spray paint my bathtub and other fixtures in my bathroom?

Yes. You can spray paint your tub and fixtures in your bathroom. Ensure you follow all the instructions we provided above for your tub. Additionally, follow the correct step to paint your fixtures.

Content Summary.

While painting a tub is more challenging than other surfaces, we have outlined the step-by-step process you should follow to make the process less challenging. 

Always pick the right paint for your tub’s surface, clean and prep it before painting it, and follow the provided steps. Also, ensure you take all the safety precautions while carrying out the process.

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