DIY: Painting An Old Bathtub & Shower

Published on 1 April 2024 at 15:41

Whenever I recommend or link to products and services on this page, I may receive affiliate commissions on purchases, however, this does not affect your price.  Feel free to contact me using the contact form via the menu, or read my affiliate disclosure statement.

My home, built in 1972, boasts a retro charm with its avocado green tub surround and shower tile, particularly evident in the small bathroom. While I appreciate vintage aesthetics, the overwhelming green hue on the old tub and shower surround begged for an update. With budget constraints ruling out a complete overhaul, I delved into research and discovered a DIY project solution: bathtub refinishing kits. These kits promise a cost-effective solution to bring an old ugly bathtub and shower surround back to life.  In this post I’ve outlined the materials you will need for this DIY project as well as the exact steps I took to complete it.



Although the Rustoleum Tub and Tile Refinisher was a popular choice among online tutorials, concerns about its potent fumes led me to explore alternatives. Ultimately, I opted for the Dwil Tub & Tile Refinishing Kit, primarily for its minimal fumes and its two-part water-based acrylic coating, renowned for adhesion and durability.  Another bonus was the fact that it contains a non-slip ingredient, and it offered 7 different colors to choose from.

Materials Needed:

1. Dwil Tub and Tile Refinisher Kit. One kit can cover 2 layers of 50 sq. ft which is the equivalent of one standard size bathtub and shower. Because my old bathtub and shower surround were dark green, I got two kits, just to be on the safe side. The kit comes with the following items:

  • Paint (Part A) and hardener (Part B)
  • Sandpaper (grit ranging from 220 – 400)
  • Masking tape
  • Plastic sheeting/drop cloth
  • Gloves
  • Small paint brush
  • Small foam roller
  1. Rotary Sander – this is not needed but if you have one it makes things a whole lot easier. Steel Wool can also be used in this step instead of sanding.
  2. Metal Paint Tray
  3. Additional Paint Roller (a little larger than the one that comes with the kit)
  4. Foam Brushes
  5. Lime Away or another type of strong bathroom cleaner
  6. Caulk remover tool
  7. Clean, lint-free cloths
  8. Acetone or mineral spirits for cleanup

Step-By-Step Guide:

  1. Preparation:

Thoroughly clean your old tub and shower surround using a cleaner like Lime Away to get rid of soap scum and grime. My husband suggested utilized the Bissell Steamshot Deluxe to assist in the cleaning process which was a great idea because it has a grout cleaning tool which was extremely helpful. Instead of just using warm water to clean, this uses the power of steam. For more info on the Bissell Steamshot Deluxe, click here.

The caulk removal tool is a great way to remove as much of the old caulk as possible. If you don't have one of these tools, a utility knife will work just as well. Having a vacuum or shop vac on hand is ideal because this process can create a bit of a mess. It’s nice to have the vacuum handy to suck up all of the bits and pieces of removed caulk.

Once the surfaces are completely clean, go over them with steel wool or sandpaper. This is an important step because it sets the stage for optimal refinisher adhesion. I was anticipating that the surface of the tile would be rougher after sanding, but it wasn’t. I quickly realized that the sanding process helps remove any last traces of mineral build up, scales, ect. A super clean surface is imperative for the paint to adhere so be sure to go over the side walls, the edge of the bathtub, the side of your tub, the inside of the tub, the inside edge of the tub. You get the point . . . clean all of the surfaces really well.

Wipe down the sanded surfaces with acetone or mineral spirits, and a tack cloth for a completely clean canvas and smooth surface.

  1. Masking:

Use painter's tape to cover areas you'd rather not refinish, such as faucets, handles, and the edges of tiles. We removed the old tub and shower fixtures because we wanted to paint them separately and I found that doing this saved a lot of time and effort of taping things off.

Since we were doing a full bathroom remodel, we removed the toilet, vanity and even the sheetrock, so no protection was necessary, however, if you’re doing this as a stand-alone project, you’ll definitely want to do this the right way and protect the surrounding areas with plastic sheeting or drop cloths. The little drops of paint tend to fly off the roller onto everything around it. It's a good idea to keep a damp paper towel or wet rags on hand to clean up any stray drops.

  1. Ventilation:

If possible, open a window or use your bathroom exhaust fan to help create some ventilation. The fumes with this product are very minimal, but having a fan or fresh air to help keep the air free of fumes is helpful, especially when you are in a small bathroom for a longer period of time.

The product handbook warns against having a fan blowing directly on the surface during the drying process.

If you are sensitive to chemical smells, you may want to use a respirator mask and rubber gloves.

  1. Application:

Mix the paint (part A) and the hardener (part B) together. The mixed paint must be used within 12 hours after adding the hardener. Please note that the paint without the hardener can be stored for a long time. If you need to apply the paint multiple times, it is recommended to pour out the amount you need each time and add an equal amount of hardener.

Once the paint and hardener are thoroughly mixed, pour into a metal paint tray and assemble the small paint brush and small foam roller from the paint kit as well as the additional paint roller.

I applied the paint to the shower surround first. I knew that I was going to have to walk around in the bathtub to apply a second coat, so I decided to wait and paint the bottom of the tub after the shower surround was completely done. For my project, one kit made 2 full coatings. I ordered two Dwil DIY kits because I wasn't sure what to expect. Glad I did. It took 3 coats to get a smooth finish and cover my avocado green tile and tub. About a week later I applied a 4th and last coat of paint to even everything out and fill in any spots that still had some green showing through. I sanded out a few drip marks before completing the last coat, but for the most part, the new tub had an extremely smooth surface.

  1. Drying Time:

The first coat should dry in approximately 2 hours. You can leave it for a longer period, but give it at least this much drying time between coats.

The paint will cure in 24 hours and it is recommended to leave it for 7 days before using the new bathtub and shower.



I had my reservations about this endeavor, but this bathtub refinishing project actually turned out to be a good time! The Dwil refinishing kit was amazing and the new tub and shower surround look like a brand new installation for less than $200! I would recommend this product to anyone who is looking to save money and have their expectations exceeded!

Add comment


There are no comments yet.