Read how to fix a chipped bathtub and how to repair a cracking and peeling bathtub with an epoxy finish. There’s no need to refinish the entire bathtub to fix one small problem.
A Chipped Enamel Bathtub
Our last house was a brand-new home, built just for us. I loved moving into a home where everything was new; the fridge, the sink, the carpet, the walls, the bathtub, everything was brand-new and undamaged. So it was a sad day when, 2 months after we moved in, something was dropped on the edge of the bathtub making a huge chip in it.
I researched everywhere to find out how to fix that chip, asked anyone who might know, and search the (very young) internet, but found nothing. I was told several times that once a bathtub is chipped, there’s nothing you can do. I tried filling the hole with caulking, but it looked terrible and after a while it came loose.
I wish I had known about Rust-Oleum Tub and Tile Repair then. It’s an easy fix that works great and lasts. It wouldn’t have made the chip disappear completely, but it would have filled in the jagged edges and made the chip unnoticeable unless you looked closely.
Rust’Oleum Tub and Tile 3 Years Later
Our 1950s home had a green bathtub, greened tiled walls, and a green sink. To lighten up the room, we refinished the bathtub in white a few years ago. You can read all about my experience refinishing a bathtub with Rust-Oleum Tub and Tile here. So, how is the epoxy holding up?
For the first 2 years, it looked great. No problems. We had a beautiful white bathtub that was easy to clean. Then, a year ago, the epoxy started to peel just a little in one spot along the edge of where the shower curtain hangs. The directions for Rust-Oleum Tub and Tile say not to use it on anything with constant water immersion such as a swimming pool. I think that water dripping off the shower curtain and pooling just a little along its edge weakened the epoxy. Because we’ve gotten a few more peels along that same line.
The epoxy has stayed clean and white, though. I clean it the same way I would any other tub, and the color has not yellowed or stained at all, even with hair dye. The white is still just as white.
We also have been using the bathtub for baths more often this last year and that’s affected the epoxy. Again, I think it’s the prolonged exposure to water that causes the problem. The epoxy cracks and peels have mostly been along the bottom of the tub walls, not on the floor of the tub.
Luckily there is an easy way to fix any of these chips and peels and keep the tub looking clean and white.
How to Repair a Chipped or Peeling Bathtub
Rust-Oleum Tub and Tile Touch-Up seems to be the same epoxy product as Rust-Oleum Tub and Tile Refinishing Kit, just in a smaller amount. It’s a two-part epoxy that you mix together just before applying. However, the whole process is much, much easier when you’re just touching up. The only prep work you need to do is to wash the tub with soap and water, rinse, and let it dry. That’s it. No sanding or harsh chemical cleaners needed. The epoxy does smell as bad as the Refinishing Kit epoxy, but because it’s a smaller amount, the smell isn’t nearly as strong.
One more prep task that the package directions don’t mention but I suggest, is to remove any loose old finish. It feels wrong to be removing the finish and making the peel bigger but the touch-up will look and work better in the end if there are no loose bits.
The one downside is that Rust’Oleum Tub and Tile Touch-Up takes 3 days to cure, just like refinishing the whole bathtub. Luckily I could do the whole process (wash, dry, apply epoxy) in under an hour before we left on a weekend trip. There were a couple larger spots that needed a second coat of epoxy, so those took a second hour, mostly in wait time.
To begin, mix part A and part B of the epoxy together. (The bottles are really cute. I wish I could have reused them for something else, but I wasn’t willing to risk dealing with the toxic chemicals from the epoxy, so I just tossed them.)
The part B bottle comes with a small brush similar to a nail polish brush for applying the epoxy. It works great on small chips and cracks, but with some of the larger sections it felt like using a bottle of white-out to paint a wall.
Paint the epoxy on just the chip or where the old tub is showing through. The new epoxy will make the old epoxy finish curl back, so try not to get any on top of the old finish. You won’t notice the curl right away, until it starts to cure. With larger areas, this is going to happen no matter what. A large area will never look as good as it did before it peeled, but it will look better than while it was peeling and it will stop it from peeling more.
Lesson learned: repair any peeling finish while it’s still small!
One last tip, if you are repairing a refinished bathtub that has started to peel, I would suggest buying the 6-pack of Rust-Oleum Tub and Tile Touch-Up. You can only use a pack one time and chances are the finish will start to peel again in other spots. Then you will be ready to fix it while the problem is still small.
I am so happy I found Rust’Oleum Tub and Tile Touch-Up because my bathtub looks almost new again. I panicked when the epoxy finish started to peel, but repairing those peels was really easy. Much easier than refinishing the whole tub. And my bathtub looks fresh and white again.
So, if I could go back in time, would I still refinish my bathtub with Rust’Oleum Tub and Tile Refinishing Kit, knowing that it might peel a little? Yes. Definitely. It’s easy to fix those peels and even with the repaired spots my bathtub looks much better than when it was a faded mint green with stains and chips.