Painting Bathtubs, Sinks, Toilets, Tile Etc.

Painting Bathtubs, Sinks, Toilets, Tile or any surfaces that receive excessive water contact or are subjected to standing water, requires FIRST that the surfaces be THOROUGHLY CLEANED, then Painted with (ONLY) EPOXY Paint!

I recommend using a one-part Spray Can Appliance Epoxy and one that is fairly inexpensive and available at most stores is Rustoleum’s Appliance Epoxy, however you can if you know how to Brush Properly, use a (one-part or two-part) Liquid Epoxy Paint (be sure to layout any vertical surfaces in the “up and down” direction to avoid brush marks or “sagging” while drying)…

FIRST you MUST CLEAN All Surfaces and the best thing to use that will insure complete scum removal is Lacquer Thinner… pour some into a tray and use Coarse Steel Wool dipped into the Thinner, to clean 12in X 12in areas, and wipe them dry immediately with a clean rag, before moving on to the next area…

If your surfaces were PREVIOUSLY PAINTED, you need to scrape off any loose paint and seal the edges with Seal All, a Glue that’s water resistant and available at most stores (apply it with your finger and “smooth out” the glue over the edges, clean-up with Lacquer Thinner)…

Next, using 1 inch masking tape and paper towels, MASK OFF all adjoining surfaces if you are going to use the Spray Can Technique…

Before you begin, use a hand vac to suck up any small particles… then you can Start Appling The Epoxy Paint…
Use care to Avoid Sags or Missed Areas, apply the paint evenly giving One Heavy Coat…

Next CAREFULLY REMOVE tape and masking, use Paint Thinner to Clean-Up…

IMPORTANT: You Must Allow A Full FIVE DAYS For Curing… before you subject the surfaces to water…

If you are going to use a Rubber Foot Mat (in bath tubs) you can do so, but they tend to absorb dirt and film and unless you remove them each time, your newly painted tub might start peeling a year or two later… SO… there is an ALTERNATIVE… read on …

There are many Rubberized Spray Coatings available, but I recommend 3M’s Rubberized Underseal Undercoating Spray Finish, available at Auto Supply Stores… FIRST: Using 1 inch masking tape and paper towels, Mask Off All Adjoining Surfaces Completely, and create whatever outline and size you desire for your final mat look (rectangular, strips, oval etc.)… Then spray on One HEAVY COAT and remove all tape and masking BEING VERY CAREFUL AS YOU DO, since the coating will smear or mark up if you accidentally touch it… use Paint Thinner to Clean-Up… this coating will need a full 24 hrs before usage…

Above all… always use Proper Lung, Face and Hand Protection, and insure a well ventilated area, and follow all product label instructions…

NEVER expect to produce a “perfect” or “flawless” job, you will always have some imperfections… your finished job if done properly will last for many years to come, and will be a GREAT Improvement from your old surfaces…

Thank You… “Magic Dave

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  1. Tommy Z

    I question using steel wool. I had removed my toilet to put a new wax ring on it. I took it outside and I thought I’d clean it really good. I used steel wool and that is what removed the white off the inside of my toilet, so I stopped the cleaning. Now the toilet looks like it has a ring around it due to the toilet not being cleaned. I want to cover that up. Not sure if I should try paint. Water is going to be on it all the time. I don’t want to make the toilet be eventually worse than it is now.

  2. Debbie

    Hi Magic Dave! I just want to say THANK YOU for posting this article!! 🙂 I am so grateful that you, and many others, are willing to generously share your expertise and advice with others. At 56 years of age, I finally became a homeowner for the first time since being divorced in 1998. I bought a doozy of a fixer-upper that was previously owned, and never maintained, by hoarders. I bought it a year ago with all cash, and am fixing it up as money becomes available (I don’t believe in debt.) I have a disability that now prevents me from doing it myself, but I have some wonderful people who have done really excellent work for me. I’m trying NOT to make all the mistakes I see on shows like “First Time Flippers, haha! I’m an academic researcher by profession, so I research the heck out of every project before I undertake it. Articles like yours are extremely helpful!! So far, so good. I was originally planning a full gut bathroom remodel, but one lesson I learned early on is that everything in construction/refurbishing costs 2-3 times what I thought it did, haha! So I have switched to a plan to update the bathrooms (one full bath, one very, very tiny powder room). I started asking friends and co-workers if it’s possible to paint a toilet, bathtub & surround, and sink, and I was laughed out of the building! But now having read several articles on the subject–yours being by far the best–I’m confident it can be done. Knowing the meticulous work two of my workers do, I’m also confident it will turn out beautifully! Again, THANK YOU for sharing your knowledge!! I couldn’t do this whole refurbishment without people like you!! Sincerely, Debbie

  3. Just came from Home Depot, where I questioned a couple workers: 1) why white bath tubs dont stay bright white, like when they are installed & 2) what’s the best way to make your tub white again? No solutions were offered, other than painting with $50 bath tub painting kit or replace the tub. Since we also had a few scratches near the flange at the top of the tub (rookies mistake)e, I asked how to fix those & was told to use appliance repair in a little bottle. That got me to thinking, then why can’t you just spray the whole thing with appliance paint. So, I’m standing in line getting ready to purchase the $50 bath tub spray kit & was googling to see if you can use appliance paint & your article popped up. I dropped that $50 box & left the store, figuring I’ll research it further before deciding. Thank you for posting this & putting an end to the ridiculousness of having to buy expensive paint when you can use ANY epoxy paint. I will update this comment with how things went.

  4. Sherry Hogan

    Can I use appliance paint on a surface that has been primed?

  5. Brian

    Which Rust-Oleum appliance paint is better to use on your bathtub? Spray on, or brush/roller on? I don’t want to use any two part solution.

    • Doesn’t matter, there both the same product. The quart will do more coats over a larger surface, spray cans can give a smoother finish. The best is the 2-part epoxy, suitable for water immersion.

  6. Thalia

    HELP! I used Rustoleum Appliance Epoxy (the spray version) to refinish an integrated sink/countertop. It turned out amazingly great. It was super smooth and just a perfect finish. I was so happy. And then… I accidentally leaned against the front of the countertop before it was dry. I have about a 2×3 inch section front and center that is bumpy/lumpy messed up from where I leaned against it. I tried to smooth it out with a foam brush but that didn’t help much. GAH! I’m so sad. It’s been 24 hours. Can I sand this section and repaint it? Any advice?

    • Wait for the paint to fully dry then sand out the damaged area, feathering out the edges. Work through 320 grit to 400 wet sanding if possible. Now respray the damaged area. Most likely the newly painted area will show as a shinier spot. Wait and see if it blends while the paint cures, wait a couple weeks. If it doesn’t you will need to polish the entire top with MEGUIAR’S Clear Coat Safe Polishing Compound, this will blend it all together.

      I have not used the Rustoleum Epoxy myself but have used similar products. This method should work.

  7. Mccollum

    Do you recommend using a sealer after painting bathroom counter and if so any recommendations

    • Depends on what you applied to the countertop. For epoxy no sealer is needed. Countertop coating kits shouldn’t need any sealer but I have never used them. Check the coating manufacture you used for recommendations.

  8. Brandi

    I’m planing on using the Rustoleum’s Appliance Epoxy on my cast iron tub. In referrence to the Rubberized Spray Coatings – and this may be a dumb question – but would you put that on before you paint the tub or after? I used the appliance epoxy on my bathroom countertop and sink this weekend and it turned out amazing.

  9. The ‘Rubberized Spray Coating’ is applied after the appliance epoxy.

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