How to refinish a clawfoot bathtub

If you are the owner of a classic clawfoot bathtub, instead of getting rid of it, you should take the time and refinish it. Refinishing a clawfoot bathtub surprisingly does not take a long amount of time, and it can actually be a lot of fun. Below we have listed a guide on how to do it on a budget.

How to Refinish a Clawfoot Tub – What you will need

In order to do this refinishing project for your clawfoot bathtub, you are going to need the following tools:

  • Crescent wrench
  • Sandpaper
  • Palm sander
  • Screwdriver
  • Pressure sprayer
  • Chemical resistant gloves
  • Bags
  • Mask
  • Plastic bags

You are also going to need the following materials that will help you refinish your clawfoot tub:

  • Putty made for plumbers
  • Pliers that have a channel lock
  • A bonding agent
  • Hoses
  • Tape
  • Degreaser
  • A paint stripper
  • Primer

Steps to refinishing a clawfoot bathtub

1.  The first thing you are going to have to do is remove the old tub. This is going to take the most amount of physical effort, and we suggest having someone to help you do it. Clawfoot bathtubs are known to be extraordinarily heavy, sometimes up to 400 pounds, so you are definitely going to need help to do this safely. The first thing you want to do is shut off both the hot and cold water, just to ensure that you do not create a massive flood. After that is done, you can disconnect any of the water lines that were feeding the tub. As well, get rid of the drain lines.

Once the tub is off, you should put it in a well vented area, because you are going to be working with chemicals in the refinishing project, and you want to ensure you aren’t breathing any harmful fumes.

2.  Next, you are going to prepare the tub for the refinishing process. We recommend covering your entire work area with drop cloths to protect the area from any chemicals you will be using.

Remove the valves, and the drain/overflow on the tub. Check if the tub has been painted with any latex, or any other material, and use a paint stripper to get it all off. Depending on the type of paint on it, you are may want to apply even more of the stripping agent.

3.  Next it is time to do a thorough clean of the tub. You should be using a strong cleaner such as methylene chloride or lacquer thinner to remove all remnants of the paint. You should wear a mask during this process as the fumes are not the greatest for your health and safety.

Once scrubbed with one of these cleaners, rinse the tub with water. The water being runoff will be filled with harmful chemicals so we recommend getting rid of them in asafe way.

4.  Now it is time to degrease the entire tub. You will want to add some water to the surface of the tub and pour in some degreaser. This will help clean in a copper drain, and get rid of all dirt built up over the years.

5.  Next you can spray the adheser on the tub, to cover any area that you will not be repainting during the refinishing process.

6.  Now it is time to apply the primer to the tub. This is going to go a lot faster if you purchase a paint spray gun, which is something that we highly recommend. You can use it to prime the tub both on the inside and the outside. We recommend doing three coats worth.

7.  Now it is time to finish the bathtub, and add a finishing coat of paint. Use the sprayer again, and apply three to four light coats of the final paint that you want. In between each coat, wait 15 minutes.

Once all the refinishing is done, you can move the tub back into the bathroom and hook it up to the water lines.

8.  Get the drain pipe in and the water line and you should be good to go!

Now you know how to fully refinish a clawfoot bathtub; it may seem like a lot of work, but with some help you will get it done in no time!