Though bathtubs are made from durable glazes, after years of being subjected to hard water, abrasive soaps, dirt and oils, and the occasional dropped shampoo bottle or shaving cream can, they can begin to accumulate stains and chips that turn the tub into a bathroom eyesore.
While the cost of replacing a tub may not be in the budget, there are DIY tub refinishing kits that can return the tub to a like-new appearance in just a few hours. These kits include strong epoxies and enamels that one can apply with a paintbrush, a roller, or an aerosol spray can to porcelain, metal, and fiberglass tubs.
This guide will explore what factors are important to consider when selecting the best tub refinishing kit while reviewing some of the top products on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Ekopel 2K Bathtub Refinishing Kit – Standard Tub Kit
- RUNNER-UP: Armoglaze – Enamel Epoxy Bath Refinishing Kit
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Homax Aerosol Tough as Tile Tub Refinishing Kit
- BEST SPRAY-ON: Rust-Oleum 280882 Specialty Tub and Tile Spray Paint
- BEST TWO-PART: Rust-Oleum 7860519 Tub and Tile Refinishing Kit
- BEST EASE OF USE: Magic Tub and Tile Refinishing Kit Spray on Aerosol
- BEST FOR TUB AND SURROUND: Ekopel 2K Bathtub Refinishing Kit – Tub and Surround Kit
- BEST FOR REPAIRS: HT HOMETINKER Tub, Tile and Shower Repair Kit
- BEST NONSLIP: Bathworks DIY Bathtub & Tile Refinishing Kit
- HONORABLE MENTION: Krylon K04502007 Tub & Tile Ultra Repair Spray Paint
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Tub Refinishing Kit
Most bathtub refinishing kits are compatible with the most common bathtub materials, but it’s also essential to consider how each product is applied, how much coverage they provide, and what supplies are included with the kit. Ahead, learn more about these and other important characteristics of tub refinishing kits.
Bathtub refinishing kits are versatile. Most are capable of working with the most common bathtub materials, including cast iron, porcelain over metal, fiberglass, and acrylic.
- Cast iron: Cast-iron tubs consist of a metal form coated with a thick layer of enamel. The enamel resists scratches and chips, making it one of the more durable tub types.
- Porcelain over metal: Porcelain over metal tubs consist of a thick coating of porcelain on steel, which gives it strength. Porcelain can chip easily, revealing the dark metal underneath it. Over time, the porcelain coating can also become stained and dull.
- Fiberglass: Fiberglass is a cheaper plastic material that is more durable than porcelain and porcelain over metal tubs. While fiberglass will not chip like porcelain on metal tubs, it can crack and fade over time.
- Acrylic: Acrylic tubs are similar in look and feel to fiberglass and are relatively easy to repair. They consist of acrylic over supporting fiberglass sheets. Like fiberglass, they are susceptible to fading and cracking over time.
White is the most common and popular option for bathtubs, although other colors are available to suit different styles. Many refinishers are tintable, allowing the user to change the color by adding acrylic paint. Some kits even include tinting dyes that allow the user to match the refinisher to the existing tub if it’s for a repair, or create a color of their choice if it’s a total refinish job. Most refinishers dry to a high-gloss smooth texture that mimics porcelain; however, some have a sand additive that gives the finish a slightly rough, nonslip texture.
Coverage and Thickness
Paying attention to the coverage the product offers is key to achieving good results. Since these products typically have strict drying times, there won’t be any leeway to run to the store for another kit should one run out mid-refinishing.
Most refinishing kits provide enough coverage to apply two coats to a standard-size bathtub. If the tub has a significant amount of wear, it may need three coats to return it to its former glory, in which case it may be necessary to purchase additional resurfacer. Some larger kits include enough resurfaces to cover a bathtub and a tub surround.
Thickness also impacts coverage. Two-part pour-on enamels and epoxies are thicker than refinishers that come in an aerosol spray can. As such, a pour-on refinisher may only require a single coat to refinish the tub whereas a spray refinisher may require as many as three coats.
Many refinishing kits include all the supplies needed to complete the refinishing project. Typical supplies included in these kits are tack rags, stir sticks, etching cleaners, foam rollers, sandpaper, and rubber gloves. That said, not all bathtub refinishers come fully equipped with supplies. Check to see what supplies the kit includes and what will need to be purchased separately to complete the job.
Ease of Application
Spray-on bathtub refinishers come in aerosol spray cans, while pour-on refinishers are packaged similarly to paint or epoxy. Refinishers that come in aerosol cans are easiest to apply as they require very few additional supplies. Once the tub has been prepped and taped off, simply spray the tub from a distance of about 12 inches using even back-and-forth strokes to get a uniform coating. Since spray refinishers go on in a thin coat, they typically require two or three applications for best results.
Pour-on refinishers are more labor intensive and require a bit more skill as the user must pour the material around the rim of the tub, then distribute it with a brush or a foam roller. While single-step refinishers are ready to use out of the can, two-step epoxy coatings require the user to mix the hardener and the resin just prior to application. The user must also work quickly when using a pour-on resurfacer to prevent the product from setting up before the application is done. Although pour-on resurfacers are more work, they typically produce better results and often require only a single coat.
While tub refinishing kits will dry to the touch rather quickly—some spray-on products dry in as little as 20 minutes—the user must typically wait longer before using the bathtub. The wait time before reopening the bath depends on the product and can be as little as 24 hours or as long as 3 days. Most manufacturers list the resurfacer’s total cure time on the packaging. Remember, it’s always best to err on the side of caution when deciding when to use the bath, as exposing a refinisher that hasn’t fully dried to water can ruin the new coating.
In order to create a durable coating that can withstand the rigors that a tub faces, most tub refinishing kits include strong solvents in their ingredients, many of which put off harsh fumes and high VOCs. With that in mind, it’s wise to ventilate the space while applying the resurfacer by setting up fans, turning on the bathroom fan, and opening windows. There are some products that are odorless during application and put off low VOCs, making them ideal for resurfacing projects in bathrooms that lack windows for ventilation.
Tips for Using a Tub Refinishing Kit
Refinishing a bathtub is a job most DIYers can handle, though there are a few tips and tricks to getting the best results and ensuring the new coating lasts many years. Properly preparing the tub, evenly applying each coat, and giving the new coating plenty of time to cure are all key to achieving good results.
- Don’t cut corners when prepping the tub. How long a tub refinishing kit lasts is directly related to how well the product adheres to the tub’s existing finish. So, while cleaning and sanding the tub may seem tedious, it’s critical to creating a surface that will adhere well to the refinisher.
- Apply evenly. Even though most refinishers are self-leveling, it’s still important to get as even a coat as possible, whether using a brush, roller, or spray can, to prevent inconsistencies in the paint.
- Remove the tub drain and overflow faceplate. If possible, remove the tub drain and the faceplate covering the overflow. This will allow you to coat under these areas, eliminating a seam between the new coating and old coating around the drain and faceplate that could promote chipping or peeling.
- Let it cure. The sight of a refinished tub may make you anxious to use it, but subjecting the new finish to water too soon will shorten the life of the new glaze. Err on the side of caution and wait a few days for the glaze to harden.
Our Top Picks
The tub refinishers on the list below are some of the best options for returning a tub to its former glory. They work with most types of tub materials, are easy to work with, and produce quality results.
The Ekopel 2K Bathtub Refinishing Kit comes with everything needed to complete a standard bathtub refinishing project. Compatible with the most common tub materials, including cast iron, steel, ceramic, and fiberglass, this kit is a great choice for most bathtub refinishing projects.
Unlike thinner spray options, this kit is applied by pouring the paint onto the tub from around the tub rim, then spreading and smoothing it with the included foam roller. The result is a thick first coating that won’t require additional coats.
The kit comes with all materials required for installation including a foam roller, scooper boxes, and covers. Ekopel is odorless and includes no harmful chemicals, making it one of the more environmentally friendly options on the market. Refinishing takes about 2 to 4 hours, and the refinisher cures in just 24 hours.
A one-coat application and compatibility with multiple materials make this enamel finishing kit a great choice for most bathtub refinishing products. Because it’s a pour-on product, it creates a much thicker coat than spray-on options, limiting the number of coats one needs to apply to just one. It also conveniently comes with the necessary tools for prepping the tub and applying the refinisher, eliminating the need to make a trip to the local home improvement store for supplies.
This is also one of the more versatile kits on the market as it is compatible with cast iron, metal, acrylic, and fiberglass. The epoxy is odorless, making it ideal for use in bathrooms that lack a window for ventilation. Armoglaze also takes some of the anxiety out of the refinishing process by offering step-by-step online tutorials.
For those refinishing a tub in a rented apartment or who are on a tight budget, it may not make sense to spend $100 or more on a tub refinishing project. This refinisher from Homax is a great affordable option. For just a fraction of the price of other tub refinishers, users can restore a fiberglass, porcelain, ceramic tile, or acrylic tub.
Application is easy. Simply prep the surface with the included steel wool and surface prep cleaner, then coat using the aerosol spray cans. Apply an additional coat after about an hour and reopen the bathtub for use in 48 hours. The kit includes all prep materials, protective gloves, and two 16-ounce cans of refinisher. Homax Tough as Tile comes in white and bisque.
When it comes to simplicity, it’s tough to beat this tub and tile spray paint from Rust-Oleum. It comes in a simple spray paint aerosol can that makes it easy to apply—no need for special brushes or scrapers. Hold the can about a foot from the surface and spray using an even back-and-forth motion. It dries to the touch in just 15 minutes and fully cures in 3 days.
Rust-Oleum uses an acrylic formula that creates a hard, high-gloss shell that resists chipping and scuffs when applied correctly. For best results, apply two or three coats to ensure adequate coverage. Keep in mind that this product is intended for use on ceramic and porcelain tubs.
Two-part kits such as this one from Rust-Oleum can be difficult to work with, but the results are worth it. This two-part enamel dries to a hard shell that beats many spray-on products in durability and finish. Once mixed, the epoxy can be applied with a brush roller or a sprayer. With its thick consistency and self-leveling characteristics, most tubs will only require one coat for an adequate finish.
For damaged tubs that require three or more coats, plan on purchasing an additional can. Additional coats can be applied just 1 to 2 hours apart. The refinisher sets in just 24 hours, leaving users with a high-gloss porcelain-like finish.
With an aerosol spray can application, this is one of the easier to use options for refinishing a tub. Most of the heavy lifting happens when prepping the tub, which involves cleaning and sanding the surface, then taping off the faucet and drain. To apply, simply spray evenly on the tub surface and wait 30 minutes before applying additional coats. It dries to a hard, porcelain-like finish in about 24 hours.
This kit includes two cans, which is enough to cover 35 to 45 square feet—about the size of an average bathtub—with two coats. Keep in mind that the kit does not come with the required sandpaper for prepping the tub or protective gloves, so be sure to order those separately or pick them up from the local hardware store.
When a bathtub has seen better days, it’s not uncommon for the surround to require a little TLC as well. For a project of that size, one needs a resurfacer with enough coverage to handle both. With its two cans, this kit comes with enough refinisher to cover both the tub and surround in multiple coats. It also conveniently comes with all the supplies needed to complete the project, including a roller, covers, scooper boxes, and enamel.
This product, which is compatible with cast iron, steel, ceramic, and fiberglass, goes on thick, making it easy to pour around the tub. Once mixed, the enamel must be used in 60 to 90 minutes—ample time for finishing the job. It typically requires just a single coat for good results and cures in just 24 hours to a high-gloss porcelain-like finish.
Sometimes a full refinishing isn’t what the tub needs. For minor touch-ups such as fixing chips, gouges, or small worn areas in fiberglass or porcelain tubs, this kit from HOMETINKER might be the perfect fit.
This repair kit consists of a resin and a hardener that the user mixes just before applying it. Once mixed, it becomes a thick paste that covers gouges and holes that can be sanded to a smooth finish that matches the tub’s existing finish once it dries. Included color gels allow the user to match a wide range of tub colors from white to almond to black.
In addition to the repair materials, this kit conveniently includes all accessories needed to complete the repair, including sandpaper, scraper, color gels for tinting, toothpicks, craft sticks, and disposable gloves.
High-gloss finishes are beautiful, but they can also be slippery, making them hazardous for certain users. While it still dries to a high gloss, Bathworks’ refinishing formula includes a sand additive that gives it a nonslip finish, making it a good option for those concerned about slipping in the shower.
The refinisher, which works with porcelain over metal, fiberglass, and even cultured marble, is a two-part resin that, once mixed, can be applied with a roller. One kit will cover about 60 square feet, which is enough for an average-size bathtub, and includes a paint tray and roller, a tack rag, a stir stick, etching cleaner, sandpaper, and rubber gloves.
For its ease of use and exceptional finish, this spray-on tub refinisher is a worthy choice for refinishing tubs. Prepping the tub requires cleaning and lightly sanding the old surface and taping off fixtures and other unpainted areas. Apply the resurfacer evenly and wait just 25 minutes for it to dry to the touch. Krylon tub resurfacer dries to a porcelain-like finish and is designed to withstand high temperatures
In addition to being easy to apply, Krylon’s tub refinisher is versatile, too, thanks to its compatibility with porcelain, glass, fiberglass, and ceramic tile. Keep in mind that worn tubs in need of multiple coats will likely require more than one can. Also, Krylon spray paint resurfacer does not come with sandpaper, gloves, and other materials required to complete the job.
FAQs About Tub Refinishing Kits
If you’re wondering about how long a newly refinished tub will last or how to maintain a refinished bathtub, then read on for answers to these and other commonly asked questions about these products.
Q. How long will a refinished tub last?
Most refinished tubs will last about 4 years, although that lifespan can be extended by properly maintaining the tub and being aware of what type of cleaners one uses on it.
Q. How long does it take to reglaze a bathtub?
Most reglazing can be completed in a couple of hours with the tub ready for service within a few days.
Q. Can a bathtub be refinished more than once?
Yes. Just make sure to thoroughly prep the tub for refinishing it by thoroughly cleaning and sanding the old finish. This will ensure a strong bond between the old surface and the new.
Q. How do I clean a refinished bathtub?
Avoid using abrasive cleaners and instead opt for a soft soap type of cleaner. This will help preserve the new finish and extend its life.