Bath Repairs & Maintenance
If your old bath is looking a bit worn out, there are various tricks you can use to give it a makeover, without having to go to the expense of having to replace it. For instance, it’s possible to improve the appearance of slight scratches or chips be dabbing a tiny bit of oil-based eggshell paint onto the marks. Tidy up the excess with a cloth and leave it to dry properly before you next use the bath.
Re-enameling A Bath
An enamel bath tub should last many years, as enamel is very durable. However, over the years the surface can be come worn and stained. Fortunately, do-it-yourself re-enameling kits are available, which are easy to use and can give good results. Some of them can also be used on ceramic, iron and plastic baths. However, they aren’t suitable for acrylic baths. When using one of these kits, make sure there is adequate ventilation in your bathroom as they involve strong fumes.
The first step is to carefully give your tub a good clean, and leave it to dry. Remove any sealant round the bath edges. Make sure you either remove your waste outlet and faucets, or cover them in masking tape, to protect them. Then clean the bath again, using the cleaner and sponge included in your kit. Rinse off and allow your bath to dry.
Then you need to use fine-grade sandpaper to sand the surface of the bath. Once you’ve finished sanding, rinse the bath and leave it to dry. Follow the instructions for your particular kit, but usually you’ll need to mix a hardener with the coating before you apply it. Carefully use a small paintbrush to paint all those fiddly bits, such as around the faucets and outlet, coating the surface as evenly as you can.
Then, use a roller to evenly coat the rest of your bath, trying to cover any noticeable brush strokes. You’ll need to give it adequate time to dry before applying a second coat, aiming for an even finish. Use a new roller for this, as it’s not possible to clean the roller properly and if you reuse the first one you’re likely to end up with a rough finish. Once this coat has dried, you can remove the masking tape from around your faucets and waste. Refer to the manufacturer instructions to find out how long you have to leave it to dry before you can use the bath – this may be 48 hours.
Once you’ve re-enameled your bath, take care whenever you clean it and avoid abrasive cleaning products that could damage the finish. A handy tip is to give it an extra polish every now and then with car wax, to keep it looking shiny and new.
If the sealant around the edge of your bath is beginning to look grubby or cracked, removing it and applying new sealant is a relatively easy job. Use a specialist sealant-removal solution to loosen the old sealant. Apply it with a paintbrush and follow the instructions on the tin. Once it’s ready, very careful use a window scraper to scrape the sealant out and clean away any remaining bits of sealant with a cloth dampened with methylated spirits.
Before applying fresh silicone sealant, carefully stick masking tape along each side of the joint, to protect your tiles and the edge of your bath. Use a sealant gun to expel a small amount of sealant into the joints and smooth it with a wet finger. Before it’s allowed to dry, remove the masking tape. Allow the sealant to dry fully before using the bath. A good trick here is to leave your bath full of water whilst it’s drying, to create a better seal.