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Thread: Refinishing/Repainting Fiberglass Tubs?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Peterson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Question Refinishing/Repainting Fiberglass Tubs?

    Hi Everybody

    Maybe this summer, or next year, we are going to do some serious bathroom updating. My home was built in the 70's and two of the bathrooms are vintage retro 70's colors. We have harvest gold fixtures in one of the bathrooms, and peach/tan fixtures in the other. In each of the bathrooms, I have a one piece fiberglass tub/shower unit. The tubs are just fine, with the exception of small little baby chips in the bottom of the tubs (which I think is from people dropping things while taking a shower. I love having a one piece tub/shower as I don't have to worry about caulking, grout, etc. They are also so easy to clean! I'm not wild about ripping walls down around the tubs to remove them. If we tear these tubs out, we will not be able to get another one piece tub/shower in the bathrooms as they will not be able to clear the stairs, doors, etc.

    I went to a bathroom showroom and explained the situation, and the guy said that the tiny chips and cracks can be filled, and the tubs could be refinished and repainted to look like new in any color I want. He mentioned something about "stripping" the tub to get the original color off of the fiberglass, and they prime, paint, and apply all of the necessary coats on the fiberglass. I have a friend that refinished her bathtub and had disasterous results. It peeled in one year. Now, she had a cast iron tub. I have fiberglass units.

    I would like to have the peach tub refinished in an ivory color, and the harvest gold refinished white.

    What do you recommend? What are your impressions of refinishing fiberglass? I've never heard of refinishing fiberglass and seem kind of leery about it.

    Thank you very much for any advice you can give me. I've learned so much about plumbing and remodeling by reading through these posts.

  2. #2
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    200 miles south of Little Rock


    Fiberglass can certainly be successfully refinished, recolored, recoated, painted or whatever, but I do not know what materials would be best. If you happen to know someone who does auto body work, you will probably learn more there than from a typical salesperson in a bath store. Having done both new and fiberglass repair work in the past, I am very suspicious of any thought of "'stripping' the tub to get the original color off the fiberglass," because the color is in the surface-layer gel coat and cannot be removed without sanding away that entire layer of resin.

    If you find the right company or individual to do the work, you will be pleased with the result.

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    As with many projects, prep is most of the effort. I find it less than likely a really good job can be done in the home by most people.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014


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