Bathtub Refinishing or Reglazing is not a Do-it-Yourself project; it involves the use of strong, hazardous chemicals and materials that are beyond the skill and ability for most homeowners and untrained users. This information is provided only as a guide, not as an instructional tool to perform a specific job, service, etc.
Bathtub Refinishing Basics for Long Term Results (In Order of Importance)
It is an absolute priority to get that surface clean of all soap by scrubbing with an abrasive cleaner, ex. Ajax, Comet, etc., and a scrubber pad, plus razor blade for those stubborn brown soap deposits. A lot of times just doing this step correctly makes the tub look new again! remove all caulking from tub, specially silicone materials.
Like I said before this process involves using harsh, industrial-use only chemicals, so Safety First.... is extremely important.
3-mil plastic sheathing on bathroom floor, covering two feet of bathtub perimeter, attached with duct tape on edges surrounding tub or fixtures being done. If surface above tub is dark glossy tile or mirror it must be covered with masking paper also.
Room must be vented mechanically by the use of a window fan, if window available or an exhaust blower if no window this is an industry specific tool not available at home centers or general tool supply centers.
Wearing a respirator is a must; a full-face respirator is ideal for this step for its splash protection feature or at least standard respirator and goggles and rubber gloves.
With ventilation system running and cleaning steps completed dry surface with towel.
Apply an etching solution containing Hydrofluoric Acid compounds; with a large natural bristle paintbrush or industrial sponge using extreme caution not to splash or spill any liquid on floor or surrounding areas, it will cause permanent damage to most surfaces. Also, do not allow acid to flow freely down drain. Room will have very strong acid smell but will be removed through vent system. Solution must remain on surface for at least 15 minutes to do its job of etching and preparing surface to accept a new coating, then catalyzed with baking soda powder to protect plumbing system.
Wash and rinse tub with clean, warm water several times you will have to use a scrubbing pad to remove residue and powder build up. Proceed to eliminate all water drips and moisture sources from tub area, cover shower head, tub spout with plastic bags to catch any later drips, if any signs of repairs are needed do these prior to refinish.
MORE SURFACE PREPARATION
Chips and damaged areas should follow the acid etching process, mix and fill a small batch of fiberglass body filler applying with plastic spreader, covering all chips and nicks, * tip: we prefer to find all such areas by inspecting the tub carefully then marking these with a pencil before mixing the filler. Filler dries fast! Cover drain with masking tape and trim around with razor blade. Sand and vacuum tub clean.
MORE ROOM PROTECTION
This material is going to be sprayed on if your going to get a professional job, so you must make sure the surrounding walls, cabinets and fixtures not being done get the protection they need, clear painter's plastic is the best choice, attached with masking tape. * Tip: blue low-tack tape is best for freshly painted walls; hang from the top at the ceiling, to the floor, and secured with tape on top of the floor plastic. Protect area over the tub with masking tape and 18" masking paper as well as plastic from top of wall at ceiling, down to this 18" paper, seal all around with solid strip of tape.
Ready to Refinish
A professional HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) spray system and professional breathing apparatus is a necessity for these coatings, again these are strong odors and fumes that should be handled by trained and skilled painters only.
Solvent wash tub surface, air dry with spray system hose specially the drain area and use a Tack Cloth to finally remove dust.
Mix and spray urethane primer, according to manufacture's recommendations and recommended dry times.
Mix and spray Polyurathane topcoats, again to supplier specs.
These materials should cure and be ready for use anywhere from 24 to 48 hours under normal temperatures and job conditions.
As a final note, I cannot stress enough the discouragement of using do-it yourself materials for the above described process, either consider tub replacement or get a pro.
Hope this information is useful for your particular purpose, feel free to distribute as long as it is used in its entirety and without modification, deletion or editing and please mention its source.