How to restore the enamel of an old bathtub with your own hands

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Very often, an enamel bathtub loses its appearance during operation. Its restoration is a practical solution to the problem. Consider various ways to restore enamel, get acquainted with the materials for their implementation, step-by-step instructions and the cost of various options.

How to restore the enamel of an old bathtub with your own hands

There comes a time when a bath that delighted its owner with shine and sparkling whiteness, unpleasantly surprises with indelible rust, chips, roughness and an ugly dirty yellow tint. There is no need to blame the hostess for improper care. It’s just that any plumbing has a certain service life and, despite the fact that the bath itself is still quite suitable for use, the enamel covering it has thinned out, and in some places it has completely washed away.

In this case, the easiest way is to install a new bath. However, the amount that will have to be spent on this event is impressive. Let’s try to calculate. The simplest cast-iron bathtub 170 cm long will cost at least 11,500 rubles. Here you need to add delivery – from 500 rubles, lifting to the desired floor – about 200 rubles. per floor. Dismantling the old device and installing a new one – from 2000 rubles. The result is an amount of more than 15,000 rubles. And this is in the event that the installation will not damage the floor and wall decoration. Otherwise, the cost rises significantly.

As a result, for a fairly decent amount we get a bath of not the best quality, which will last about 5 years, a lot of problems and the prospect of replacing it in the next five years. You can, of course, install a better quality bath, but then the costs will be appropriate, which not everyone can afford. That is why the restoration of an old bathtub, which costs the owner much less, is considered by many to be an excellent solution to the problem. The main thing is to choose the right recovery method. There are three possible options in total:

  • applying new enamel to the surface of the device;
  • installation of an acrylic liner;
  • bath acrylic.

How to restore the enamel of an old bathtub

Our site offers to figure out which of these methods is better.

Enameling at home

Enameling refers to the process of applying enamel to the bath surface. It usually takes place in the factory and assumes that the metal on which the protective coating is applied is heated to very high temperatures. You need to understand that it is impossible to reproduce such technology at home, therefore, other methods are used to update the coverage. Accordingly, the enamel, which is applied at low temperatures, will differ in its properties from the original coating. In order not to be disappointed with the result, you should know about its features:

  • The composition has less durability, but it is maintainable and renewable. Some types of enamels only benefit from the application of many layers..
  • The shade of the composition during operation can change, especially under the influence of various kinds of chemicals: dyes, photoreagents and bleaches.
  • Heavy or sharp objects dropped onto the coating even from a low height can damage the enamel.
  • During restoration, it is possible to choose the color of the future bath. There are special tinting pastes that allow you to choose the desired shade. A small nuance: you should pay attention to the thickness of the applied layer. If it is too thin, the initial coating may appear as an unwanted shade..
  • Abrasive products must not be used when cleaning the restored enamel. It can be cleaned only with soap solutions.

It is generally accepted that the main disadvantages of self-enameling are the fragility and fragility of the coating. This is not entirely true. The performance characteristics of the applied enamel directly depend on the quality of the composition, the correctness of the work on its application and the accuracy of following the manufacturer’s instructions. You can find many self-enamelling compounds on the market. In order not to be mistaken when choosing enamel, you should pay attention to:

  1. Application method. The solution can be applied with a roller, brush or spray. The last method can be considered the most inappropriate. It is designed to eliminate defects small in area. For the restoration of large planes, it is of little use: the coating applied in this way is most often obtained inhomogeneous in color. It is best to use a composition that is applied with a brush.
  2. Hardener color. For enameling, two-component, less often three-component compositions are most often used. The hardener should be carefully considered. If it is dark brown, dark yellow or deep red, an unwanted tint may appear on the coating.
  3. Equipment. It is best if the enamel is sold together with suitable bath pre-cleaners. Since the surface must be specially prepared before coating.
  4. Desired shade. Enamel technology involves the choice of the color of the bath. For this, special tinting pastes can be included with the composition. A small nuance: the shade of the enamel visually depends on the illumination of the room, therefore, the desired tone should be selected directly in the room where it is installed.

How to restore the enamel of an old bathtub

You can do the enameling work yourself or invite specialists. In any case, you should start by choosing the composition.

Random House Sets

The Russian manufacturer produces two types of sets for self-restoration: “Svetlana” and “Fantasy”. They differ only in the configuration. Restoration specialists never use them. Both sets include a high-quality two-component enamel, which has a certificate that confirms its compliance with hygiene requirements. The cost of the sets starts from 950 rubles.

“Reflex 50” from Tikkurila

A high quality epoxy two-component enamel designed for painting concrete swimming pools and restoring bath enamel. As with any epoxy-based composition, it acquires a light yellowish tint over time. Most often it is used for professional work, since it has a certain complexity of application. The material is very liquid. For a high-quality coating, a minimum of four coats are required, each of which must dry before further work. In general, enameling takes about seven days. The cost of 1 liter of material starts from 1000 rubles.

“Epoxin 51” and “Epoxin 51C”

Extra thick two-component formulations for brush application. Features of the consistency of the enamel make it possible to obtain a smooth coating without drips. The solution fills very well all kinds of surface defects, such as chips and scratches. It takes no more than two days to completely dry the enamel. Proper application gives a guarantee of at least nine years of operation of the coating. Material cost starts from 850 rubles.

Self-enameling is carried out in several stages.

Surface preparation

It consists in the maximum possible cleaning of the bath from the old enamel. For these purposes, you can use a grinding wheel or electric drill. A grinder with a nozzle for surface grinding is also used. However, in this case, a very large amount of dust is generated. If there are no special tools, you can clean the surface with an abrasive stone or moisture-resistant sandpaper until scratches appear. All chips are leveled and cleaned so that a metallic sheen appears.

How to restore the enamel of an old bathtub

Degreasing the bath

It is carried out with a solvent, it is possible to use baking soda. Experts recommend to carry out the procedure before stripping to prevent the tool from slipping on the grease film. After degreasing, the product is washed off with hot water, the bath is dried well. Especially carefully dry the area near the drain hole. The result of the preparatory work should be a bath with a degreased rough surface, which will ensure maximum adhesion of the applied enamel with the primary coating.

Preparation of the composition

The ratio of the enamel components is indicated on the packaging, they cannot be changed arbitrarily. You can start mixing only after the surface of the bath is prepared for processing. This is due to the fact that the diluted composition must be applied to the surface no later than 50 minutes after mixing. Even if the package says that this period is more than 1 hour, after 45-50 minutes. the composition thickens and does not fit well. A suitable solvent can be added to the solution to improve the pliability of the enamel. However, it must be remembered that the volume of the solvent should not exceed 10%..

Bath painting

To prevent the ingress of water on the applied enamel, close the taps with plastic bags, remove the shower head. To protect the bathroom floor, we put old newspapers or polyethylene on it, glue all surfaces adjacent to the bath with construction tape. Apply the prepared composition with a wide brush to the surface. At the same time, we try to alternate horizontal strokes with vertical ones, this way the likelihood of dripping is reduced. If they do appear, pull them out with a thin brush from bottom to top. For painting we use a natural bristle brush. A small nuance: it is possible that the tool will leave behind fluff on the surface of the bath. We immediately remove them with a sewing needle. The second layer is applied immediately after the first, without preliminary drying.

How to restore the enamel of an old bathtub

At the end of the work, the enamel dries. The time required for this process is indicated by the manufacturer on the packaging of the composition..

The services of professionals for enameling the bath consist in preliminary surface preparation: cleaning and degreasing, as well as the correct application of the enamel coating. When inviting specialists, you should definitely clarify what formulations they work with, and give preference to those companies that use only high-quality enamels..

Bathtub covering with acrylic

Another way to restore the bath, which involves the application of liquid acrylic by pouring. The material has high fluidity, viscosity and the ability to slowly harden. That is why it is evenly and evenly distributed over the surface, forming a durable smooth coating. It is able to withstand quite serious loads and lasts about 8-15 years. Of course, subject to proper application.

High abrasion resistance can be added to the advantages of liquid acrylic. In addition, the composition is practically odorless, which is very important when working in homes where there are children, allergy sufferers or the elderly. The disadvantages include the need for thorough preparation of the substrate and the presence of certain skills in coating. The cost, for example, of a set of “Stakrila” for a bath 170 cm long starts from 1500 rubles.

How to restore the enamel of an old bathtub

“Stacril” and similar compositions are two-component. Before using them, it is necessary to mix the solution. Before the procedure, the components should be at room temperature for some time. A hardener is poured into the semi-finished acrylic product strictly in the proportions specified by the manufacturer, in small portions with constant stirring. Most often the ratio of hardener to acrylic is 9.5: 100. After mixing, the composition is left for 10-20 minutes, after which it is ready for use..

The restoration work begins with a thorough surface preparation. The old coating is removed first. For this, it is well polished. You can use sandpaper with an abrasive cleaning powder in the container. If there is serious damage, such as deep scratches, ingrained rust, etc., then a grinder with an abrasive wheel is used. If the second method is chosen, you must wear a respirator to protect yourself from dust, which is formed in large quantities in the room..

How to restore the enamel of an old bathtub

If you cannot remove the enamel in the corners, you can use acid. The cleaned bath is washed, washing away all the dirt that appeared during the cleaning. Next, you need to degrease the surface. For these purposes, special solvents are used. Alternatively, you can use regular baking soda diluted to a gruel. After processing, the bath is well rinsed with water. Cracks and chips are treated with quick-drying auto-putty.

Acrylic spreads most evenly only over a warm surface, therefore it is recommended to heat the bath by filling it with hot water. After 10-15 minutes. the liquid is drained and the surface is quickly dried with a cloth, making sure that no lint remains on the rough surface. Then dismantle the overflow and drain, place the container under the drain hole. Remnants of acrylic will drain into it. This completes the preparatory work.

Part of the premixed mixture is poured into a container such that it is convenient to pour the solution onto the bath. First, the composition is poured onto the side with a layer of 4–6 mm. Using a spatula, the acrylic is pushed to the edge of the tiles. Do not pour out the mixture with a strong stream. It is very neatly applied to the edges of the side. With the correct filling, the material flows down to about the middle of the bath. Carefully move the stream along the entire perimeter until a circle of applied acrylic is closed.

How to restore the enamel of an old bathtub

Then immediately start applying the mixture from the middle of the bath. Moving in a circle, they gradually capture the entire surface to be treated. Excess solution will drain into a container placed under the drain. If there are drips and sags, you should not try to remove it, this will only aggravate the problem. They should disappear when dry. After finishing pouring, wait until the coating is completely cured. Depending on the solution used, this can take from 6 to 24 hours. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. After complete drying, the drain fittings are connected.

All these works can be done independently, but their result, especially if an inexperienced master takes up the job, is unpredictable. The process of pouring acrylic can be considered especially difficult. Therefore, many invite specialists. Usually the master carries out all the preparatory work, dismantles the drain and applies the coating. After drying, installs drain fittings.

Acrylic bath liner

The technology of sanitary ware restoration using a special insert is very popular. It is installed in the old tub and fixed in it with glue. As a result, the owner receives an acrylic bathtub, placed like a frame in a sturdy cast-iron structure. A two-layer polymer is used for the manufacture of the liner. For the bottom, elastic plastic was chosen that can withstand severe bending loads. Upper – acrylic, with all its inherent performance characteristics.

How to restore the enamel of an old bathtub

The inserts are produced in thickness of 4–6 mm and can be made in almost any color. They are practical and require little maintenance. They are washed with ordinary soapy water, they resist rust and dirt. If scratches appear on the surface of such a coating, they can be easily removed with the help of special polishes. Harsh chemicals and abrasives have a negative effect on acrylic. The advantages of this technology include:

  1. Installation speed. The installation takes about two hours. You can use the device the next day.
  2. Strength. The bath has all the advantages of acrylic: antibacterial effect, heat resistance, retains heat well, etc. At the same time it is as strong as cast iron, since the old structure is preserved as a frame.
  3. Durability. The service life is about 20 years.

The quality of the bathtub restoration is largely dependent on the correct choice of the liner. To eliminate an error, you need to make measurements with extreme precision. The length and width are measured first. Measurements are taken on the inside of the top of the bath. Measurements should not be taken at the bottom, as the configuration of the baths can vary, which will seriously affect the measurement accuracy. The depth is determined in the area of ​​the drain hole. These values ​​will be decisive when choosing an acrylic liner..

How to restore the enamel of an old bathtub

When buying an insert, you should take care of a special adhesive. This is a special two-component foam, most often you can buy it together with an acrylic structure. The installation process begins with preparatory work. The edges of the bath must be completely free. If the cladding or any other decor is covering them, it is necessary to partially dismantle the covering. Then the old enamel is smoothed out with coarse sandpaper until a rough surface is obtained. It will allow you to fix the liner as firmly as possible, since the adhesion of the smoothed surface is much higher than the smooth one. After cleaning, the dirt is washed off and the siphon and overflow are dismantled.

Fit the insert with particular care. Begin the procedure from the edges. The insert is installed in the bath, after which it is outlined with a pencil around the perimeter of the structure. The excess is cut off with a jigsaw. The drain and overflow holes should also be marked. To do this, the recesses in the old bathtub are rubbed with a pencil lead, and the insert installed for fitting is pressed against this place with effort. The resulting impression makes it possible to determine the location of the drain, on which holes of the required diameter are drilled using a crown.

The insert is ready for installation. To prevent moisture from entering the space between the bathtub and the insert, a sealant is applied around the drain holes and around the structure. The rest of the surface is completely filled with foam. The composition must be applied with a continuous coating, otherwise acrylic will begin to sag in the missing places and crack. The insert is installed in the bath and is pressed against its walls with force. Immediately after that, a siphon with a drain is mounted, which will additionally press the structure.

How to restore the enamel of an old bathtub

At the last stage of the installation, water is collected in the bath. The level should be about two fingers below the overflow hole. The operation is necessary for high-quality gluing of the insert: under the influence of water as a load, the foam will not be able to lift the acrylic insert. In this state, the bathtub should stand for a day, after which it is ready for use. The plastic insert can be installed independently, but those who have no experience of such work should invite specialists. They will help you choose the correct insert size, carry out all the preparatory and installation work. Usually companies work with their own liners, so their cost is included in the prices. Under such conditions, the restoration of a bathtub 1.5 m long will cost at least 4100 rubles..

It is difficult to answer unequivocally which method of restoration is better. This is decided for each specific situation. Enameling is the most accessible method for independent execution, however, the pouring method, and even more so the acrylic insert, according to the reviews of those who used these technologies, are more durable in operation. In addition, you need to understand that the quality of the coating directly depends on the brand of material and proper installation. Therefore, in the absence of experience in carrying out such work, it is best to trust the professionals.

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