How To Refinish A Cast Iron Tub

Posted on: 7 September 2017


An old cast iron tub adds sophistication and old-world style to your bathroom, but they can fade and rust with time. However, a faded tub doesn't mean you have to buy a new one, which is a relief if you don't want to part with it during a remodel. Refinishing the tub is more cost-effective than a replacement, and it can be done by a novice DIY person. Follow these tips to refinish a cast iron tub:

Gather Materials

To refinish the tub, you need:

  • work gloves
  • respirator
  • rags
  • scouring pads or scrub brush
  • razor blade 
  • vinegar or baking soda
  • drop cloths
  • rags 
  • plastic putty knife 
  • wrenches or screwdrivers
  • 80-grit sandpaper or palm sander 
  • 220-grit wet/dry sandpaper
  • tub cleaner
  • trowel
  • paint stripper
  • glazing putty (optional)
  • oil-based rust-resistant primer and enamel spray paint

If possible, detach the plumbing with wrenches or screwdrivers, and move the tub to a ventilated are alike a garage. Cast iron tubs are heavy, so enlist several assistants to help you move it. 

Otherwise, open a window, wear a respirator, and point an exhaust fan out to help remove fumes. Cover the surrounding floor and areas of the tubs you don't want to refinish with drop cloths or plastic.

Clean the Tub 

Use a utility knife to cut through old caulking around fixtures, and remove the drain stopper. Pour some tub cleaner on the surface, scrub the entire tub, then rinse with hose or bucket of clean water. If the tub has been painted, apply paint remover before you clean it.

To remove rust, use a scouring pad or chip it with a razor blade. If the rust won't come off, run water from the tap, or pour hot water, add vinegar or baking soda, let it sit for several minutes, scrub, and rinse. 

Sand and Paint

Dab some glazing putty on the tip of a rag, and fill in holes or cracks; moving the rag in a circular motion, or use the putty knife to spread it. Avoid getting extra putty on the surface.

Give the putty about one to two hours to dry, and refill the damaged areas, if needed. Lightly sand the putty, clean, and dust.

Brush the primer on the surface to inhibit rust, and let it dry, then add another coat, if needed. Insert the spray paint can in a spray gun for an even finish, and coat the surface holding the can several inches away.

After the first coat of paint dries, gently sand the area with the wet/dry sandpaper, using the cloth to dab water. Spray on a second coat, let it dry, and sand again. Contact a company like Lookout Renovation Company for more information and assistance.