How To Patch a Bathtub
Bathtubs can be made from several different materials. Many tubs are ceramic or metal, but there may also be fiberglass or even plastic tubs that need to be patched. The first step in knowing how to patch a bathtub must be to identify the materials used to create it. If there are cracks that look dark and deep, then this generally means a plastic tub. Cracks in ceramic may also look dark, but also appear to be on the surface only. Once you've identified the material, you're ready to begin the repair process. You'll want to make sure that you have fine-grain sandpaper, a paintbrush, a putty knife, a utility knife, and sponges or clean lint-free towels on hand in addition to the repair materials needed to complete the job.
1. Clean Your Bathtub.
Make sure that your tub is clean. It's fine to use your standard household cleaning chemicals for this process. Just make sure that you pay extra attention to the repair site so there isn't anything that could affect the integrity of the repair you're about to make. After completely cleaning your tub, allow it to dry for 24 hours.
2. Prepare Any Large Cracks Or Holes.
Anything that is more than 0.25 inches wide will need to have mesh or cloth placed on it for a solid repair. What you'll use is based on the base material of your tub. Make sure you give yourself an extra 0.5 inches on all sides of the repair area with your mesh or cloth for a tight seal over the crack or hole being patched.
3. Prepare Your Filler.
Depending on what you need to use to seal the area, you may need to mix your filler so that it is ready to set. If you're using a caulking-style tube filler, then you'll want to make sure you have the repair site taped off with painter's tape to avoid placing the filler in a location that doesn't need a repair.
4. Apply The Filler.
Place your repair filler on top of the repair site. This includes repairs that required a mesh or cloth. If you needed to tape your cloth or mesh in place, now is the time to remove it so it doesn't become part of the permanent repair. Place another layer of mesh or cloth on top of the filler and then add another layer of filler. If just the crack needs to be filled, then make sure the filler is oozing out of the crack before stopping the application process and then scrape the extra filler away for a flush surface.
5. Allow The Filler To Dry.
It may take 6-24 hours for the filler to properly dry. Some epoxy fillers may begin setting within minutes, however, so make sure you proceed in a timely fashion based on the materials that are being used. Your filler must be completely dry before moving to the next step of the patching process. If you have missed any areas of the cracks or holes that need to be patched, now is the time to repeat Step #4 before proceeding with the repair.
6. Sand Down Any Extra Filler.
Don't use a rough grade sandpaper for this job because it will damage the surrounding surface of the tub. You want to create a completely flush surface at this point. You will create dust, so use a damp sponge or lint-free towel to remove any debris that comes from your sanding efforts. Allow the repair site to dry. Please note: It is advisable to have some sort of breathing protection in place during this step. The fine dust particles that are created by the sanding process may be harmful to your air passageways.
7. Paint The Tub To Match.
You may need to paint your bathtub to complete your repair. You may also have a sealant or other coating surface that must be applied depending on the materials used to create your tub. You'll want to brush whatever coating you're using in a consistent one-way stroke to achieve the best results. Allow the first coat to dry naturally, which may take up to 24 hours depending on your product, and then add a second coat to the first coat in the same fashion. It can take some time to complete this repair, but knowing how to patch a bathtub can potentially save you over $1,000 when compared to a complete tub replacement. Follow these steps and you'll be able to experience success.
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