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Question DetailsAsked on 8/10/2017

My husband painted our bathtub with non-waterproof paint. How do I remove it without removing the paint underneath?

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1 Answer


Assuming you mean a porcelain over cast iron or steel. If acrylic or fiberglass I would say if the scraping option does not do it you are probably out of luck and either need to replace the tub or get a bathtub refinishing contractor in. Some acrylic and fiberglass tubs will tolerate citrus based strippers, alcohol, and paint thinner - but no promises as even if it does not dissolve them it may dull the finish.

(Bathtub Refinishing is the search the List category to find refinishing vendors).

Depends on the type of paint of course - and read the instructions carefully and don't let sit for extended periods of time - work a relatively small area then rinse that off so it is not soaking into the porcelain finish. And of course try an obscure spot first to see if it damages the porcelain finish - like remove the cover around drain handle and try it on exposed material under there.

And when using chemicals, of course ventilate the area VERY WELL (especially with flammable solvents), and block the drain well to prevent it getting into the drain piping, especially with plastic piping which may dissolve.

1) For latex or new oil paint which has not entirely cured, a plastic scraper may peel much or most of it off, finishing up with chemicals per below. Keep wetted with Simple Green or similar cleaner for easier peeling.

2) for latex - denatured alcohol (careful about safety instructions - can damage skin and VERY damaging if splashed in eyes or inhaled in quantity, or paint thinner

3) for oil paint - paint thinner, or if fully cured laquer thinner

For any of above - but read instructions and test well, because some people report good results, some stripping down to bare metal - Goof Off and Peel Away 7 paint strippers.

With any stripping chemical, do not try to dissolve the paint off - use the stripping chemical to wet it and seep in at the exposed edge, but use plastic scraper to peel the bulk of the paint off - then final chemical washing to remove the last residue.

Of course, if the tub was in bad shape originally (significant exposed metal or rust) then a tub replacement (pricey) or if you are not too picky and don't mind the motel look, a bathtub refinishing job or liner is a much cheaper option (though the refinish jobs commonly lat only maybe 5 years or so, and many many liners have problems with cracking or water getting in under it and going anaerobic and stinking like a swamp. Not an option I recommend for a permanent fix.

Good Luck

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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