Anyone who has been interested in the potential of liquid acrylic for bathtub reglazing knows that this material is quite easy to use and is suitable for both professional use and do-it-yourself tub refinishing.
Not everyone who tries to do this reglazing process by themselves manages to achieve an aesthetic result and a high-quality, durable coating. The reason for this is simple: as in any other field of work, it is the little things that matter, the understanding of which comes either with experience or from the help of a professional.
In this article, we have covered all the nuances that are important for creating the perfect coating and we hope this will help anyone who decides to try carrying out this refinishing process by themselves avoid mistakes.
Reglazing a bathtub with your own hands will save you $150-200 that would have been paid to the repairperson, but for many people saving this sum of money is not paramount. Some people simply do not deal with other people, and some people has manual skills and consider it unacceptable to pay even a small amount of money for something that you can do themselves.
In order to ensure that working with acrylic does not cause any difficulties, the acrylic must be at room temperature. Bring the container with the material into the apartment and leave it overnight. Examine the bathroom in terms of access to the bath and amount of space available. Remove as much objects and furniture as possible from the bathroom. If there is a screen under the tub that can be removed, this must be done so as not to ruin it by acrylic flowing from the sides of the bathtub.
Examine the ceiling and walls. They should not have dust, cobwebs or peeling fragments of paint, lime or plaster. If any of this gets on the uncured acrylic, the coating will be ruined.
The corner from the sides of the bathtub will need to be removed and it is best to replace them with a new one after the work is completed and the surface dries.
Do not neglect your own protection. Although acrylic is safe for human health, it should not be allowed to get on exposed skin. Wear closed, comfortable clothing that you will not regret throwing away later.
When working with liquid acrylic for the first time, you will inevitably get dirty, and it is impossible to wash it off. Do not forget your shoes as well, as drops from the sides will also get on your feet.
The head must be covered so that hair does not fall from it onto the coating. During the stripping of old enamel, it is necessary to protect the respiratory tract with a respirator.
In addition to the acrylic itself, you will need a degreaser, clean lint-free rags, a spatula, masking and regular tape, a knife, a hair dryer, as well as tools for cleaning the surface, depending on whether it will be done manually or using electrical appliances.
These and other tools, for conveniency, should be made ready at the entrance to the bathroom, so that they are within easy reach and at the same time do not interfere with the work.
The abrasive (sandpaper) for cleaning the surface is selected depending on the material on which work will be done.
The toughest abrasive, 40 grit, is suitable for steel bathtubs that have not been previously reglazed, as well as before re-reglazing of steel and cast iron one 40 grit.
60 grit is a good choice for the initial reglazing of a cast iron tubs.
Sanding an acrylic bath is best done by hand using 80-100 grit sandpaper.
For steel and cast iron bathtubs, you can take a grinder or a drill with an abrasive wheel - they will significantly speed up the process.
Without exaggeration, this stage is the most important and both the aesthetics of the coating and its durability depend on it.
If the tub has already been reglazed before, the top layer must be removed completely in order to avoid the falling of the coating and swelling in the future.
In any case, at the cleaning stage, it is necessary to achieve a smooth, matte, uniform surface without sharp fragments and chips.
The most attention should be paid to the most inaccessible places - the transition of the bottom into the walls and rounded corners.
The coating is cleaned by alternating vertical and horizontal movements with an abrasive, and the relief is smoothed by circular ones. If you the work was done with an electric tool, finish the sides by hand.
We recommend that you carefully remove dust from all surfaces in the bathroom and shake it off your clothes. So they will not fall on the fresh coating and will not spread around the apartment. Use a vacuum cleaner where possible, and where not, wash it clean.
If there is fog in the air from fine dust, turn water on to its hottest level for a while and close the door - the resulting steam will quickly remove the dust.
The final stage of cleaning is a thorough washing of the bathtub. If you use detergents, they should be rinsed off well and make sure it does not leave a film the surface.
After steaming and washing the bathroom, it is necessary to ventilate and wipe dry all surfaces adjacent to the tub. It is better to use lint-free rags, but you can also resort to using a hair dryer. Pay special attention to the corners adjacent to the sides of the bathtub - water often accumulates there, which then drains onto the finished coating and ruins it.
To prevent drops of water from leaking out of the mixer at the most untimely moment, close it with plastic bags and seal it with duct or insulating tape.
Apply strips of masking tape at places on the walls where they meet the sides of the bathtub. If there is a screen left below that cannot be dismantled, cover it with newspapers held firm by duct-tape. Lay overlapping newspapers around the tub to protect the floor from acrylic dripping from the sides.
The last step before starting the coating is degreasing the surface. To do this, pour plenty of Isopropyl Alcohol 91% on a lint-free rag and wipe the entire bath. After that, with a dry and clean palm without gloves again go over the surface and collect the last small particles of debris and lint so that they do not damage the adhesion of the new coating and its smoothness.
If you did not forget to bring a container of material into the apartment the night before, then you can start preparing the mixture right away. To do this, pour all the hardener from the kit into a bucket of acrylic and start mixing. It is better to do this with something like a flat spatula 2 inches wide.
You need to move in a circle, as if scraping material from the walls and bottom of the container. You do not need to make very vigorous movements or try to shake the mixture, all the more so do not use a mixer or drill - a lot of air bubbles will appear in the material from them.
You need to mix for a certain amount of time, which is reflected in the manufacturer's instructions. You should not measure time "by eye" - it's better to set a timer.
Then you need to leave the acrylic to sit for 5-10 minutes, and in the meantime prepare a small plastic container for work.
Place a bucket of acrylic on the bottom of the bathtub, fill a small container and start pouring it on the sides of the tub in an even stream, from left to right, moving along the perimeter.
The next stage is the filling of the walls, which takes place in 2 rounds. In the same way, from left to right, from the transition point of the side to the walls, pour the acrylic. During this round, the sidewalls will be covered by about half.
To cover them completely, do exactly the same a second time. Watch out for the streams that flow into the drain hole and disperse them with a spatula along the bottom.
The last step is to pour the remaining acrylic directly from the bucket to the bottom of the bathtub and level it, drawing a lattice with a spatula. Excess material will drain into the hole, and the surface will self level out after 10-15 minutes.
Drops of acrylic must be removed from the outer sides before it is stiffens. For this, a rag or spatula is suitable. The action must be repeated twice with an interval of 10-15 minutes, because the material may drain out again.
Acrylic coating is finished! It remains only to wait until the surface is completely dry. After that, reinstall the siphon, glue the corners and enjoy the new tub cover. Well, if after our article you doubt your abilities, call «New York Tubs» and our technicians will complete all the described work in a matter of hours.