Saturday, November 14, 2015

Rub a dub dub, I painted my pink tub!

After more than a decade with my pink bathtub and sink, I finally took the plunge and refinished it. I thought about it for a long time, worried about how the off-white tiles would look against a bright white tub and what to do with the pink accent tiles - but in the end, I decided anything would look better than a pink tub and sink. (I replaced the pink toilet back in 2004 when I bought the house!)

I went to Home Depot for the Rustoleum brand tub and tile kit that I had seen all over Pinterest, but they didn't stock that one (and neither does Lowes). Instead, I got the Homax "Tough as Tile" Tub & Sink Refinishing kit. It was about $40 and I ended up buying two since I was covering pink and was afraid I might need more coverage. I later found out that the online reviews are HORRIBLE for this product, but a lot of it seems to be user error. I guess I'll find out!! The kit comes with a cleanser, steel wool, and gloves - so that cut my shopping list down significantly. I also bought some Lime-Away and some Comet cleaners, since that was what the Rustoleum website recommended and I figured "too clean" wasn't possible in this case. This bathroom is from 1964 so it had many many years of build up on it! 

If you don't have a respirator mask, buy one! Thankfully, we already had a super nice one (my husband does all kinds of projects). I had that thing on when I opened the can so I had no idea how bad it smelled until I took the mask off after I finished the first coat. WHOAH! That would have made me dizzy for sure had I not had the mask. The little doctor looking masks WILL NOT WORK! You MUST have a respirator with some filters.  (Any brand is fine. They start around $25 to $30 at Home Depot.)

I spent about 3 hours cleaning and scrubbing. At one point, about 10 years ago, my Mom and I tried to shine the ugly finish on the bathtub and although I cannot remember what we used, I think it must have been some kind of a wax. It was worn off on the bottom of the tub, but not on the sides. I'm still not sure I got ALL of it off, but I put as much elbow grease into it as I had in me. I used the Lime-Away first, then did many rounds of scrubbing with the Comet and the Steel Wool, and then I followed the directions on the Homax box three times, as instructed. I stuck a fan in the room and went to bed - to make sure everything was nice and dry by morning. 

In the morning I taped it all off. (I ran out of the blue and switched to a different roll which was yellow, but it was all painters tape.)  I wanted to remove the sink faucet, but much to my chagrin I realized there are not shut off valves for that sink. I would have to shut off the water to the entire house - for a few days. Nope. Not going to do it. So I carefully taped it off. Then I put a plastic bag over the faucet and taped it on - just in case I accidently hit the faucet or it dripped. I did the same to the tub faucet, as well. 

For the drains, I carefully measured them and used my Silhouette die cutting machine to cut some vinyl circles to cover them. I know I should have removed them, too, but nope. Not gonna do it.  If you don't have a fancy cutting machine I would combine a bunch of tape on wax paper and then carefully cut it in a circle to stick on the drain. Or, remove them like I should have. ;) 

Once they were taped, it was time to go! The Homax says not to use foam brushes or rollers. Thankfully, I had bought smooth non-foam mini-rollers already, so I got those ready and a small brush and put on my mask. 

It only took about 20 minutes to coat both the sink the tub. I worked quickly, since this stuff gets sticky fast.  I started in the back corner with the brush and edged a little bit, then rolled. Then edged, then rolled. After the first coat, here is what I had!

The Homax box said it should take at least 2 coats, maybe 3 for covering a dark color - so I wasn't worried that it was splotchy after coat 1. Then I had to wait THREE HOURS before I could do the next coat. I am NOT good at waiting. Thankfully, I had some work to do so that took up the time pretty easily. 

The second coat went on just like the first. I started in the back corners with the brush, and then rolled whatever I could. It went on fast and smooth and looked a lot better after coat #2! 

I had the fan on in the bathroom, the window open, and the attic fan on in the hallway ALL DAY while this was all taking place. Otherwise I think the dogs, cat, and I may have passed out! You need GOOD ventilation for this stuff! 

Here is where we were after coat #2. Unfortunately, it's still going to need a third coat. You can't tell in the photo but there are some darker spots where the pink is trying to peek through. But I still have about 1/3 of a can left, so I think I can do it without needing the other kit I bought.


Nov. 6, 2015: 

It is now the next morning and I have inspected my handywork. Definitely needs the third coat to cover all of the pink, but overall looks very good. The tub is still a little tacky to the touch but almost dry. The sink will still pick up your fingerprints if you touch it, so not as dry. I had to use the brush mostly for the sink, meaning a heavier coat of paint vs the roller on the tub which made it nice and thin.  No bubbles or cracks have formed like some of the (horrible) online reviews have stated and the part of the tub I was most worried about (a section where something seemed to be on the surface that I could not scrub off) looks great so far. The box said that I had to wait 72 hours after the second coat before I could do the third. Impatient me wondered if that was really true and I went to google last night to find out. I ended up asking on Amazon and the manufacturer responded, saying that yes, I had to wait for the first two coats to fully cure (not just dry, CURE!) before I could do the third (which would take AT LEAST three days). If they were not cured, the third coat would trap vapors in between coats and would cause bubbling, cracking, or ripples. Yikes! Thankfully, I was about to go out of town for a few days, so that made the waiting much easier.

Nov. 9, 2015:

We got back today and everything is dry and looks fantastic! I was able to put the third and final coat on tonight. After coat #3, here we are:

I know you can't see the difference between coats 2 and 3 in the photos, but trust me - they are significant. Coat #3 got rid of all of the dark spots and brush marks and made it look finished.

And while we're talking about coats - the manufacturer says the coats should be light. One can will supposedly do two coats on a bathtub. I was able to get three coats on a tub AND a sink from one can - so I think that proves I accomplished the "light coats" rule. (I hope that will be key to my success!)

And now I wait three more days. Ug. I hate waiting!

Nov. 14, 2015:

It's done, and it's so amazing! I actually ended up waiting over 4 days before I took off the tape and then caulked it. I wanted to be extra sure it was safe. I still won't be using the shower for at least a week, though, just in case. (We have other bathroom so thankfully it's no big deal that this one is still out of commission.) Before I peeled the tape I took an Exacto Knife and scored around all of the seams - just in case the tape removal process might chip the paint. It seems hard as a rock so I doubt it would, but better safe than sorry.

The final product is fantastic. It's smooth, glossy, and bright white. I cannot even begin to tell you how much better this room looks now!

Here are the final photos:

And so you don't have to scroll up to compare:

I don't even hate the starburst accent tile all that much anymore. Now it's a small reminder of the 1960's retro style rather than a punch-you-in-the-face with 1960's that it used to be.

We don't use this bathroom much, so I know this finish will last until long after we sell this house in the Spring. Should I have any troubles with it I will definitely update here, but I doubt it considering how rarely we use this room.

Overall I am VERY happy with the Homax product and process. I know it has terrible reviews online, but I honestly do think that is mostly user error. Be extra diligent, clean clean and clean again, and use multiple light coats following the directions closely and you should be successful, too!