The Girl Who Tried Everything

and then blogged about it…

DIY Claw Foot Tub Restoration Exterior & Interior

Tub Restoration

This took weeks only working on it a couple hours after work each day, but the transformation was amazing. I was lucky enough to have the tub out of the bathroom to work on which meant I was able to paint it outside but please be advise these paint chemicals are toxic. Even outside I still used a heavy duty breathing mask for safety. All of the steps assume that you have taken the tub apart, and that you know how to put it back together at the end.

Supplies Needed


  • Rust-Oleum Glossy Protective Enamel (I used Sunrise Red)
  • Kilz 1-qt Oil Based Primer White
  • Electric Sander (could be done without it but I wouldn’t)
  • Paint Brushes
  • TSP
  • Breathing Mask


  • Rust-Oleum Specialty 1-qt. White Tub and Tile Refinishing Kit
  • Comet
  • Abrasive Pad
  • Lime-A-Way
  • Fine Grit Sandpaper Wet/Dry
  • Tack Cloth
  • Latex Gloves

How To Exterior:

Tub Restoration

Step One:

Sand the tub. Please remember that most of these old tubs have layers of paint on them and that the paint is mostly likely lead based and toxic.  It took me days to get this as smooth as I wanted it.  It might have been easier if I had used paint thinner to removed the old paint first but I hate paint thinner so I decided to just sand it down.


Step Two:

Clean with tsp to make sure that all the dust from the sander is removed.  I used  a shop vac to get all the dust off; you could also used a tack cloth if you wanted.  The cleaner you get it the smoother the paint will go on.


Step Three:

Paint with an oil based primer.  I didn’t tape anything I just painted it with a roller the small ceiling king with hard foam.  I used Kilz because my husband swears it’s the best primer ever made. I painted it with two coats.


Step Four:

The final step is to paint with the Rust-Olium oil paint. Here in California you can only get it in a limited number of colors as it’s illegal to mix, so I went with red because I wanted it to stand out in my bathroom. You could paint this with latex paint but it tends to crack with the heat over time; the oil based paint lasts longer. I used three coats.


How To Interior:


Step One:

Sand down the inside. I used a rough paper to start and then a fine git to smooth it out in the end.


Step Two:

Then I followed all the cleaning steps on the box of the tub and tile paint. I used Comet, then an abrasive pad, and then Lime-A-Way rubbing with a wet dry sandpaper so that the paint has something to stick to. Then I let it dry over night. The next day I came back and wiped it down with a tack cloth to make sure there was no dust.


Step Three:


Then the painting begins, I painted outside but I have read a lot of horror story review about the chemical smell. Outside with a mask it wasn’t bad, but I could still smell the potency.


The Rust-Oleum is a two part mix and once it’s mixed it has a time limited to be used. I mixed the paint and then started painting it on. This stuff is sticky. People recommended to use a roller, it didn’t work for me. The only thing that worked for me was a good paint brush. The paint is self leveling so even with the strokes in it from the brush it leveled itself out. I did three coats, waiting hours in between for the paint to dry, and then sanding and tack clothing in between.


Step Four:

Wait for the paint to cure. The box says 3 days but I was still working on remodeling my bathroom so I actually waited a month before using.


Over all it turned out better than I had hoped. The inside isn’t smooth like a new bathtub it has a paint texture but it looks amazing and it’s smooth enough for me. I think it would have been smoother had I not tried to used a roller at first; pieces of the roller stuck to the paint and I couldn’t get it out. If I had to do it over again I would have just used the good quality paint brush the whole time.


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This entry was posted on January 5, 2015 by in DIY and tagged , , , , , , .
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