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Dos and Don’ts for Painting Your Bathtub

paint bathtub

Bathtubs and shower areas are supposed to be places where you get squeaky clean. When they’re streaked with water stains, corrosion, and weird brown filth that only seem to get darker the more you scrub, it’s high time to do something about it.

Unless you have the cash to pay for a new whirlpool tub its hefty installation, that something involves painting the bathtub and shower area. I did it myself with pretty amazing results, so I’m sharing some dandy dos and don’ts.

Don’t pick the same bland color (aka white). Repainting your bathtub and shower area gives you a chance to pick a groovy color that makes your tub a showpiece. I went with battleship grey and black.

Do get the right kind of coating. Crayola markers won’t cut it. The same holds true for indoor spray paint, outdoor spray paint or basically anything not specifically designed for a constant flow of water, shampoo, soap scum and dirty feet.

Research led me to KlassKote, which is some incredibly heavy duty stuff. It’s a waterproof epoxy paint that can stick to basically any surface as long as you prepare the surface properly.

Don’t skimp on properly preparing the surface. If the stuff doesn’t stick, you’ll just have to do it over. Nobody wants that. Proper preparation involves filling in missing or rotting caulk, scrub-a-dubbing off existing soap scum, sanding all surfaces, wiping off the sanding dust, and applying a coat of epoxy thinner that smells like the bowels of hell.

Do wear a chemical mask. I skipped this step, a very big error. My fault, not the company’s, as it does have a clear warning (I read after I nearly passed out twice from the fumes and bowels-of-hell smell from both the thinner and the epoxy paint).

Don’t expect a good shower, or any shower, for at least four days. It takes the stuff at least four days to fully cure in temperatures between 75 and 80 degrees. If your house is cooler, expect to wait at least a week.

Do make good friends with the YMCA front desk people down the street in the hopes they’ll let you take a free shower.

Don’t arrive at the YMCA without the $10 for the daily guest pass they’ll make you buy to take a shower.

Do replace the hardware. No use in perking up your bathtub and shower with new paint if you’re just going to put the same old corroded faucet, handle and shower head.

Don’t expect all faucet systems to be created equal. Unless you purchase the same brand as your existing hardware, it’s likely the installation will require ripping open part of the wall to install new valves and pipe fittings.

Do keep your receipts. That way you can return the new brand when it doesn’t fit and use the money to buy the same brand as your existing hardware.

Don’t try to put on the new faucet when you’re tired, cranky and fed up with life. It will result in a tantrum when the faucet shoots off and creates a fat ding in your brand-new, epoxied tub.

Do keep extra epoxy so you can fix up dings when needed. Store it in a temperature-controlled environment, like the hall closet instead of the garage or outdoor shed. Otherwise it may blow up and create bowels-of-hell stench and fumes throughout the entire neighborhood. (I DID heed the warning on that one.)

bathtub before painting
Bathtub before painting. Yuck.
bathtub after painting
Bathtub after painting. Yum.
bathtub before painting
Bathtub before painting, putrid bottom and drain.
bathtub after painting
Bathtub after painting, sensational bottom and drain (especially when I put the drain cover on after the photo).

You can complete the whole project in a few hours if you’re properly prepared. If you give it a whirl, let me know how it goes!

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Beware of Crappy Carpet: The Great Home Improvement Project

rynski tucson living room

It all started with the carpet. After living with the exact same home décor for the past seven years, I suddenly realized the living room carpet sucked. I had been in denial for the longest time about my area rug choice, which was a combination of two vintage orange shags and one black and white zebra stripe.

The orange shag was authentically from the 1970s, or perhaps even the 60s, given to me back in Tucumcari, New Mexico, from the people at the radio station. I had paid a visit to interview one of them for the newspaper where I worked.

“Love! the carpet,” I had exclaimed.

Station folks explained it was only temporary. It had come from someone’s basement after they had to pull up their existing carpet due to a flood. Once they get the new carpet, would I like the orange shag?

“Would I ever!”

The orange shag then followed me around from New Mexico to Northern California, Southern Oregon to Tucson, Arizona. The nostalgia and color that matches absolutely nothing blinded me to the sorry shape the rugs were actually in. Continue reading Beware of Crappy Carpet: The Great Home Improvement Project

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