How to Use Epoxy in Your Shower

You’ve painted, you’ve put in a new mirror. Your bathroom should be beautiful. Then you turn around and see your old, dingy tub. Showers and tubs can be an expensive replacement to finish your bathroom updated. Many homeowners find that a full replacement is just not financially practical, but a refinish could be.

Resurfacing of tubs and showers is often done by professionals with experience in this work. A homeowner with a bit of knowledge and talent can attempt a refinish. Refinishing is a two step process of painting tub and tile epoxy paint onto your existing porcelain, fiberglass, acrylic, cast iron or steel tubs.

Expectations

Understanding the potential outcomes of epoxy in a shower or tub will help avoid heartache in the future. The preparation put into this project will directly affect the outcome. It’s a great option if a full renovation is planned for the relatively near future but a stop gap measure needs to happen first.

Once you start this project, there is no going back. Epoxy sticks really well to showers, and everything else for that matter. There is no removal of it, once it’s placed. If there are paint failures like cracking or peeling, you will have to start over completely. The mixed epoxy must be used in hours, so keeping some for repairs is impossible.

How it Works

The paint is sold in a set of resin and hardener. The two parts are mixed together causing a chemical reaction that begins the curing process. Because of the materials, epoxy is very smelly. It’s important to use it with good ventilation and fans. Open windows if possible. Most users find respirators helpful during their painting.

Tools
Screwdriver
Drain wrench and adjustable wrench
Wire brush
Bucket
Scrub sponges
Bleach
Abrasive cleaner
Lime-away cleaner
Utility knife
Paint scraper or putty knife
400/600-grit wet-dry sandpaper
2-part epoxy refinishing paint
Respirator (if required)
100% isopropyl alcohol (if needed)
Paint bucket
Roller tray
Paintbrush (fine-bristle varnish brush)
Roller with 1/4-inch roller cover
Rags

Directions

Each epoxy product can differ slightly in instructions. It’s always recommended that you read through the directions from the manufacturer thoroughly before beginning.

Remove, Clean and Repair

You should plan to spend significantly more time on preparation than on actual painting. It’s a time-consuming process but your job will suffer without it.

Remove all metal drains and hardware from the tub area. Scrape the area free of paint and grime with a wire brush and sandpaper. Repair any cracks or chips in the tub with patching compound made for the material.

Allow time to dry according to the repair material. Use a cleanser made of abrasive powder and sponge. Rinse clean and allow to dry. Next, scrub the area with an abrasive pad and product made to dissolve minerals, like Lime-Away. Rinse and repeat if necessary.

Make sure the area is free of any caulk. Use a utility knife to pull it off if it remains. Clean caulked areas with alcohol to remove any contaminants.

Sand

Using 400-grit wet/dry sandpaper, sand the entire area very thoroughly. If your product recommends a rougher sandpaper, use that instead. The tooth scraped into the surface will allow for proper adhesion. Vacuum or dust away the dust. Wipe all of the surfaces off with a tack cloth.

Apply the Epoxy Refinishing Paint

When you apply the epoxy paint, make sure the windows are open and use fans to ventilate the room. Mix the resin and hardener together. If it seems really thick, you can add 10% isopropyl alcohol to think it. You will only have 6 hours before the compound hardens.

Apply a coat to the tub and shwoer with a good quality, fine bristle varnish brush or ¼ inch nap roller. Avoid excessive brushing and rolling. Try to get an even coat that is smooth. Let it dry an hour and apply a second coat. Allow to dry overnight before any use. Clean your brushes with alcohol.

After drying overnight, check the area for thinness or missed places. If you find some, mix a new batch of paint and apply a full third coat.

Finish

The paint must cure for at least 3 days before putting the hardware back on and returning to normal use. Add new caulk to the joints that need it.

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