How to Refurbish Cast Iron Bathtub?
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How to Refurbish Cast Iron Bathtub?


Cast iron bathtub allows tub manufacturers to create an unlimited variety of styles and sizes of tubs. It eliminates the need for ceramic tiles on the bathroom walls around the tub or shower. It also makes cleaning and maintenance a breeze compared with more vintage styles of bathtubs. There are a few weak points to acrylic bathtubs, though. Old-time porcelain tubs--clawfoots, built-in soakers and other classic varieties--are actually cast iron tubs with a porcelain coat over them. The porcelain inevitably wears, dulls and discolors over time. It is possible to refurbish old porcelain and make it look like new, with specialized primers and paints, though it requires chemical etching first to help the paint stick. It's usually a job for professionals, but a talented home refinisher can take it on with the right materials and safety equipment.


But most people do not clean their tubs often enough. People often wait until a heavy soap residue or mineral deposit is visible. At this point, cleaning is a real, if not impossible, chore. The best and easiest solution is to clean the cast iron bathtub once a week while you are already in it. It only takes a little dishwashing liquid, a washcloth, three minutes, and very little elbow grease.


Firstly, use plastic tarps and tape to cover up the walls, floors and fixtures on and around the tub. Remove or cover everything in the area that isn't porcelain. Put on your protective gear. With a brush, apply the acid etching paste to the porcelain in a thin, even coat, covering all of it. Let it work for 15 minutes, eating at the surface of the tub and dulling the shine. Rinse thoroughly. Let the surface dry.


Secondly, load your paint gun with porcelain primer. Set the gun to a very fine mist setting. Still wearing your safety gear, coat the entire porcelain part of the tub with primer. Let it dry for 30 minutes, then apply a second coat. Re-load your paint gun with enamel topcoat paint. Spray it on in a very light, even layer, constantly keeping the nozzle moving to avoid any drips or streaks.


In addition, let the first coat dry for one hour, then apply a second coat in the same fashion. Let it dry for an hour. Repeat for four to six coats. Allow the final coat to cure for two days before using the cast iron bathtub.


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