Changing the color of your bathtub doesn't have to be complicated. Whether you want to give your bathtub a much-needed refresh or you just moved and the color of your bathtub isn't your style, the good news is that you can change the color of your bathtub—even if you're not a DIY pro.
In this article, we are going to break down when it's a good idea to change the color of your bathtub (and when it's not), plus how to approach it, so you can try this project out for yourself.
How can you change the color of a bathtub?
If you're ready to update your bathroom by changing the color of your tub—or simply breathe a new lease of life into your existing color scheme—what you need to do is reglaze your bathtub. This is also sometimes referred to as refinishing.
Reglazing or refinishing is a common way to bring new life to your existing bathtub without the added expense of having to purchase an entirely new bathtub.
The process involves sanding the surface, filling in any cracks and damaged areas, applying primer and paint, and buffing the new surface. It's a rapid and low-cost way to restore a bathtub.
What do I need to refinish my bathtub?
The basic substances you will need to reglaze your bathtub include a paint, a primer, a hardener, and usually some kind of non-slip agent. But these must be specially designed for the task.
You can purchase the supplies online or at most local home improvement or bathroom supply stores. The easiest way is usually to get a bathtub refinishing kit, which will come with most (if not all) of the items you need.
This one from Bathworks is a popular choice:
Bathtub refinishing kits usually include all of the different products that you will need to apply to the tub during the reglazing process, sometimes even including rollers, brushes, trays, and other accessories you will need. If not, you can pick these up cheaply at the same times.
You should also plan to purchase a ventilated mask of some sort. The fumes that the reglazing products give off are very strong and can be toxic, especially in a confined space like a small bathroom.
Make sure to wear your ventilated mask any time you are working on this project, and open a nearby window for additional ventilation if you can.
How do I know what color to change my bathtub to?
Everyone's motivation for changing the color of their bathtub is different.
Maybe you just moved into a new home and the bathtub is an unsightly shade of green or yellow that makes you feel like you stepped back in time, or maybe you just did a big bathroom makeover and you want a fresh, clean look.
There are several different color choices available when it comes to purchasing bathtub refinishing kits. The most popular kits are white, shades of gray, and shades of cream, beige, or brown. However, if you have a special color in mind, most bathroom supply stores would be happy to help you out.
Is changing the color of my bathtub cheaper than getting a new bathtub?
If you're trying to update your bathtub on a budget, refinishing it in a new color is easily the least expensive way to do so.
You can purchase a bathtub refinishing kit for as little as $50-100. When you factor in the other supplies that you'll need, typically you can keep costs under $150.
Conversely, if you were to purchase a brand new bathtub you would spend upwards of $500-$1,000 on the bathtub alone. This doesn't include professional installation fees and any other potential plumbing changes that you might need to make in the process.
Will refinishing my bathtub in a new color make it last longer?
Refinishing a bathtub does more than just make it look clean and new again. It can extend the life of a bathtub upwards of 15-20 years—as long as the process is done right.
It's a great way to get more usable years out of your existing bathtub without having to do an expensive project like replacing the tub entirely. You reap the benefits of changing the bathtub color to match your preferred style, and extending its life.
Of course, it's important to take your time and follow the directions on the bathtub refinishing kit to make sure you get good results. There are many steps in the process and each one must be done with care to ensure the finished surface is smooth, clean, and ready for use.
If you like to learn by video, this kit by ArmoGlaze is designed to be simple for first timers and comes with video instructions:
It's versatile enough to work on cast iron, metal, acrylic, and fiberglass as long as prepare the surface properly.
When should I hire a professional to change the color of my bathtub?
Changing the color of your bathtub is a fairly straightforward DIY project. With that said, DIY isn't for everyone. If you are short on time, patience, or just prefer not to get your hands dirty, you can also hire a professional to come and refinish your bathtub for you.
Having your bathtub professionally refinished should only take a couple of days and you'll be able to enjoy your fresh new bathtub in no time. Professional refinishers can sometimes also help you select the right color to complement your bathroom color scheme, and advise you on other services you might want to consider at the same time.