Can you Paint Plastic Bathtubs? (Here’s How) – Complete Guide

Is your bathtub looking a little dated? Or maybe you’re just tired of the color it’s currently painted. No matter the reason, you may be wondering if it’s possible to paint a plastic bathtub. It may seem like a daunting task, but you can indeed paint a plastic bathtub.

The answer is yes. You can paint a plastic bathtub and get great results, too. Generally, a plastic bathtub is a fiberglass tub that comes in various sizes and shapes. Some have more curves than others, while some have more straight lines. Though they are white or off-white, they can be easily be painted. 

Whether you’re looking to give your tub a fresh new look or are trying to cover up any damage, painting it is a great way to do so. Here’s how to get the job done right.

Should you paint a plastic bathtub?

There are several reasons for painting a plastic bathtub. You can use paint to cover up any stains or scratches, but the main reason is to give it a fresh new look. Many people choose to paint their bathroom with neutral colors, so you may just want to change the color of your tub or sink.

It’s also an affordable way to give your bathroom a facelift with minimal effort and time.

Once you paint it, there’s no need to use any type of sealant or clear coat. That just adds more mess and inconvenience to the already tedious task of painting a bathtub.

If you’re tired of looking at your current color scheme or simply want to give your bathroom a face-lift, painting your plastic bathtub is an easy and affordable way to do so.

What Kind Of Paint Do You Use On A Plastic Bathtub?

Any type of paint is okay to use on a plastic bathtub as long as you’re willing to put in the work. Shop around and find just the color that suits your taste and needs best. Be sure to buy the right type of paint for whatever surface you’ll be painting onto. Usually, something made especially for fiberglass surfaces.

Generally, it is a good idea to use the same type of paint on your plastic bathtub as you would any other surface. It may be less likely to adhere to your tub walls if you have latex-based paint.

It’s important that whatever paint you use sticks well with no peeling problems once it is dry.

However, if you’re covering a darker color with white, it doesn’t matter what paint you use. As long as the surface is clean and dry, any type of paint will cover up stains or scratches.

How Do You Get Paint To Stick To Plastic?

Getting paint to stick to plastic can be a bit of a challenge. It shouldn’t be too big of an issue if you’re painting over the same color. However, if you’re covering up something else or simply want to change the color entirely, several tips might make it easier for your paint to adhere properly.

  • The biggest thing you can do is give the surface a good scrub to remove any dirt or residue on it. You want your paint to have a smooth surface to adhere to so that it doesn’t peel off in the future.
  • If there are any stains on your plastic tub, let them soak in some soapy water for about 15 minutes. That should soften them up enough to make it easier for you to scrub away.
  • Even if you can’t tell what kind of material is on your plastic tub, take some time to give it a good scrub. The surface needs to be smooth and clean before any paint will stick well.
  • It’s also important to let the surface dry completely before applying any paint. It’s okay if it is a little damp, but you don’t want it to be too wet. If there is any moisture on the surface when the paint is applied, bubbles may form and ruin the look of your new paint job.
  • Be sure to use at least two coats of your chosen color so that they will look even over the entire surface. It can help to use a paint roller on larger surfaces since it will easily cover more space in less time.
  • If you want to be sure your paint job is long-lasting, you may want to apply a clear coat or wax after everything is dry and cooled down. The added layer of protection will help prevent any scratches and dulling of your paint job.
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How to Paint a Plastic Bathtub: Step by Step Guide

Just follow the steps below for success:

Step 1 – Clean the Bathtub

Before you begin painting your plastic bathtub, it’s best to do some cleaning first. Remove all bathroom accessories such as soap dishes and water diverter knobs to get started.

Next, clean the tub thoroughly with a good degreaser and let it dry completely before you begin painting.

Step 2 – Tape off Your Bathtub

To prevent any unwanted paint from ruining your bathroom’s walls and flooring (or any other areas in your home, for that matter), use painter’s tape to section off those areas.

Step 3: Cover the Unwanted Areas With Plastic or Paper?

Now that you’ve covered all of your desired areas with painter’s tape, it’s time to decide on what kind of drop cloth to use; plastic or paper. Consider your current paint colors.

Paper drop cloths work best if you are painting the tub a dark shade (like black, brown, or even dark blue).

If you are painting the tub a light color (white, dove gray, pink, or peach), use plastic sheets instead. Plastic drop cloths also provide more protection against splattering. Still, they can be tricky to dispose of since they’re not biodegradable, so make sure to read the instructions on the packaging carefully before using them.

Step 4 – Sand and Prime

Next, sand and prime your bathtub if necessary. If you’re working with a plastic tub (not fiberglass), skip this step since it’s not needed for this type of surface. Just make sure that whatever spray paint you use is compatible with the type of tub material you have.

Step 5 – Paint Your Bathtub

Now that everything is prepped, it’s time to paint your plastic bathtub with spray paint! Keep in mind, though, that you can’t use just any kind of spray paint for this task. Spray paints are formulated for different types of surfaces.

If you want a high-gloss finish on your painted plastic or fiberglass surface, check the label to ensure your chosen paint will work with it.

Read our comprehensive guide here for more info on painting plastic surfaces vs. other kinds.

Once it’s done drying, screw all bathroom accessories back into place and admire how great your new (and colorful) bathtub looks! 

Can You Paint A Plastic Container?

Paint is made to stick on plastic surfaces, but only if clean and dry. That means you can paint pretty much anything except some more sensitive materials that either aren’t meant for painting or just don’t work well with it.

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Some painted things these days include plastic pans, storage containers, and other various household items that may be made out of this durable material.

Always test your chosen paint on a small section to make sure it will hold up properly before attempting it on anything larger. The last thing you want is for everything in your kitchen cupboards to be covered in peeling paint.

So take the time to do some experimenting before covering big areas with paint.

Best Paint For Plastic Tubs

Different surfaces require different kinds of paint, so it’s important to know the difference before utilizing one product. For example, plastic materials are usually painted using spray cans, while fiberglass tubs are better suited for traditional brushes.

Paint your bathtub with spray paint. If you’re looking for spray paint that works well on the plastic surface of a bathtub, you should know that there are specific paints made especially for plastic.

For example, Glidden makes a spray paint designed to adhere to a plastic called ‘Glidden Gripper.’

Paint your bathtub with brushes

On the other hand, if you’re looking to paint over fiberglass, regular latex or enamel paints work best. To get the most out of any brush-on paint you use, properly prepare the surface with a wire brush or sander beforehand.

This will ensure that all mold and mildew is removed from the fibers in your fiberglass tub so that paint has something to stick to.

Is it safe to spray a plastic bathtub?

By itself, plastic isn’t particularly suitable to hold up against weathering elements like sun and rain. That’s why it’s often treated with chemicals during the manufacturing process, which can make it hazardous if not handled properly.

Though you do need special paint for plastic material rather than just any old spray paint, it should be safe to use on the surface of your bathtub if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Can You Resurface A Plastic Bathtub?

One of the most popular DIY homes remodel projects is resurfacing a bathtub. The reasons for this are easy to understand because paint can update your bathroom appearance while also protecting the surface from damage, minimizing mold and mildew growth, and giving you peace of mind that it will last for years to come.

A resurfaced plastic bathtub can look brand new with just a couple of coats when done right.

Plastic surfaces are porous, so the old surface must be completely removed before applying paint. Simply sanding down the existing material will not work. For your paint to adhere properly, you’ll need to use a chemical stripper or a plastic epoxy remover that is safe for use in bathtubs.

These can be purchased at your local home improvement store or hardware store.

Once you have removed the old surface, it’s time to apply your primer coat. Use a high-quality primer that is designed for plastic surfaces.

Is My Tub Plastic Or Acrylic?

Both plastic and acrylic surfaces are used in bathtubs. The main difference is that acrylic is more expensive, but it also doesn’t contain any chloride. By contrast, most plastic surfaces will leach out small amounts of chlorine over time, resulting in staining/discoloration.

This isn’t an issue if you already have a discolored or stained tub since the problem has already occurred once, and it likely will again.

However, if you want to reduce the change of your bathtub developing stains in the future, look for paints that claim to be chlorine-resistant. These may cost more than standard paints but are well worth considering when making your final decision.

Can You use Enamel paint A Plastic Bath?

Enamel paints are generally not recommended for use on plastic because they will likely melt the material. The same is true of latex paints unless the label specifically states that they should be used on plastic surfaces.

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Latex paint tends to be thinner than oil-based paints, which means you might have to do more coats to cover your surface adequately.

How Do You Get Smooth Paint Finish On Plastic?

The key to getting a nice, smooth finish on plastic is to prep the surface properly. This includes cleaning it thoroughly with soap and water, ensuring that you get rid of any residue left behind by your stripping agent or chemical cleaner, and then letting it dry completely before you start painting.

If the humidity in your house is high when you’re doing this process, it will take longer for the surface to dry. Also, drying in a well-ventilated area will help speed up the process.

Is Painting A Bathtub A Good Idea?

Painting a plastic bathtub can be a smart idea if you are looking for an inexpensive way to update your bathroom’s look. This is particularly true if you have an older tub that has experienced some discoloration or staining over the years.

For instance, if your current tub is relatively free of scratches and other imperfections, it’s likely that painting it will give you the nice, new appearance you are looking for. However, if your tub is old or has accumulated a lot of scratches and other personalization over the years.

Then, even painting may not be able to provide you with the result that looks fresh and new.

What Kind Of Paint Do You Use To Paint A Tub Surround?

When painting your tub surround, you should use the same type of paint that you would use for your tub. However, if you are using a different color for this part of your bathroom or are opting for granite-finish paint, make sure to pick up some extra primer and brushes.

It’s best not to use rollers when painting a tub surround because you may accidentally get paint on your tub. Instead, use a high-quality paintbrush or a paint sprayer to apply the product.

How do you refinish a plastic bathtub?

Refinishing a plastic bathtub typically requires the use of epoxy paint. This is because most paints have chemicals harmful to plastic, so they will eventually cause staining and discoloration on the surface.

Once you have stripped off your old finish or given your tub a new coat of paint, it’s time for the next step, which is applying the epoxy paint. Most epoxy paints require a primer and multiple coats to deliver a nice and even finish that will resist staining and discoloring over time.

However, if you want your new coat of paint to last as long as possible, make sure you use brushes or rollers that are specifically designed for use with epoxy paint.

Since most paints of this type dry very quickly, you’ll need to work in small sections at a time when painting your tub surround.

What paint can you use on a plastic bath panel?

Whether you need to use paint on your plastic bath panel is all about what type of material it is made. If it has a smooth, glossy surface, only oil-based paints are recommended for use on this type of plastic.

However, if the panel has a matte or rough finish, latex paints are usually preferred.

How do you paint a bathtub?

Painting a bathtub can be a relatively easy project, but if you have an older tub that has experienced some scratching or staining over the years, it may not produce the desired results. If your current tub is free of scratches and other imperfections, the painting will give you an update.

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