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Bathtub Refinishing 101: 7 Simple Tips for Tub Reglazing Success

When performed correctly, tub reglazing can breathe new life into an old bathroom. Here, we offer a few recommendations to make your next bathtub refinishing job a victory.

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Benefits of Bathtub Refinishing

Most homeowners prefer tub reglazing to purchasing a brand new bathtub. Why? Because when executed properly, professional bathtub refinishing can make a tub look good as new. Furthermore, this process allows your clients to keep their tub in place, preventing the need to alter existing flooring, tile, fixtures and more. Instead, the surrounding surfaces are simply left in place and masked off while the work is completed.

There are several factors to consider when resurfacing a bathtub. In the sections below, we'll outline seven simple steps to make your next tub reglazing project a huge success.

Step #1: Prepare Your Workspace

Before beginning your bathtub refinishing project, you'll need to properly prepare your workspace. In addition to covering all of the surrounding surfaces, you'll also need to take all of the necessary safety precautions. To keep the room well-ventilated, turn on the bathroom fan, open a window and use an industrial fan to redirect the room air outside.

Step #2: Remove Caulk

First, remove the overflow plate above the tub drain. Next, use a utility knife to cut the caulk where it meets the surround. Once the caulk begins to loosen, use a putty knife to ease it off. (Don't worry if black marks appear during this process; they can be removed later.)

Note: If the caulk you're removing contains silicone, it's crucial that you use a silicone digester to remove the residue. Failing to do so will ruin the tub reglazing job.

Step #3: Clean the Bathtub Thoroughly

Before you can refinish a tub, it must be thoroughly cleaned. Start by using a scouring powder and pad to scrub it down. You'll also find that a razor scraper is an excellent way to remove soap scum. Don't neglect the area under the soap dish – debris is likely to accumulate there. Finally, give extra care and attention to the drain, as it is the most common area for tub reglazing to fail.

Step #4: Repair Any Damage

When refinishing a bathtub, the surface must be absolutely smooth. This means that any chips, cracks or other damage must be repaired beforehand. To do this, line the bottom of the tub with masking paper and use a putty knife to apply filler over the defects. Allow the filler to dry completely before sanding. This process will need to be repeated until the desired effect is achieved.

Step #5: Sand the Tub

Once the tub dries completely, the surface needs to be sanded. You can manually sand the surface or use an electric orbital sander with 120-grit sandpaper. It's important that you wear your respirator during this step. Once you've sanded the entire tub, wipe the dust and debris away with a wet paper towel. Make sure to wipe away from the drain, towards the back of the tub. Finally, you'll need to apply lacquer thinner or a detailing compound.

Step #6: Apply Masking Tape

Next, you'll need to mask off the tile around the tub as well as the surrounding flooring. You should also mask the drain by placing tape over it (just remove the excess so it doesn't get in the way of the glaze.) To prevent drips from ruining the tub reglazing process, place a latex glove or similar barrier over the faucet and showerhead.

Step #7: Apply Tub Reglazing Product

When steps one through six have been completed, you're ready to apply the glaze. Be sure that you read the instructions thoroughly, as all bathtub refinishing products are different. After the tub has dried for a few hours, the masking can be removed. Avoid completing this step too soon, though. Otherwise, dust can fall onto the tub's surface and stick. After 24 hours, re-caulk the bathtub. At the 48-hour mark, you can complete the project by replacing the overflow cover.


If you're wondering how to reglaze a tub, just follow these seven simple guidelines. Complete your next project with ease and precision – and most importantly, make your client happy!

Learn More About Professional Bathtub Refinishing

TopKote has everything you need to hone your tub reglazing skills, including bathtub refinishing training courses. To learn more, contact us anytime.

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