Refinishing bathroom fixtures can completely transform the look of your bathroom. With some simple DIY techniques, you can give your old, worn out fixtures a brand new look for a fraction of the cost of replacing them. Here is a comprehensive guide to the art of refinishing bathroom fixtures.

Supplies Needed for Refinishing Bathroom Fixtures

Before starting any refinishing project, you’ll need to gather the proper supplies. Here are the basic items you’ll need:

  • Paint stripper or solvent: To remove old finish or paint from fixtures
  • Sandpaper: Coarse grit to strip finish and fine grit to smooth and prep surface
  • Cleaning supplies: Soap, sponge, toothbrush to clean fixtures
  • Primer: Specially formulated for metal and porcelain
  • Paint: formulated for metal, porcelain, acrylic or fiberglass
  • Brushes/rollers: For applying primer and paint
  • Rags, tape, and drop cloths: For masking and protecting surfaces

Make sure to use paint and primer specifically designed for bathroom fixtures. The formulation is more durable and made to resist moisture.

How to Refinish a Porcelain Sink

Porcelain sinks are very common in bathrooms. Overtime, the glazing can wear down, causing stains, chips and discoloration. Refinishing a porcelain sink restores the smooth glazed surface.


  • Porcelain paint kit
  • 220 grit sandpaper
  • Clean rags
  • Painter’s tape
  • Drop cloth


  1. Thoroughly clean and dry sink. Remove drain stopper.
  2. Use 220 grit sandpaper to scuff surface, removing any glossy areas.
  3. Wipe away all sanding dust with a clean rag.
  4. Apply painter’s tape around rim of sink to protect. Lay drop cloth.
  5. Apply 2-3 thin, even coats of porcelain paint using sweeping motions according to manufacturer directions. Let dry completely between coats.
  6. Allow paint to cure fully, around 5-7 days before use.
  7. Remove painter’s tape.
  8. Re-install drain stopper.

Refinishing a Fiberglass Tub or Shower

Refinishing fiberglass tubs and showers restores their glossy finish. The process is very similar to refinishing porcelain.


  • Fiberglass refinishing kit
  • 220 grit sandpaper
  • Clean rags
  • Painter’s tape
  • Plastic sheeting


  1. Clean tub thoroughly with soap and water. Rinse well. Remove drain cover.
  2. Lightly scuff entire surface with 220 grit sandpaper. This helps the coating adhere.
  3. Wipe away all sanding residue with a clean rag.
  4. Cover nearby surfaces with plastic sheeting or painter’s tape to protect.
  5. Apply 2-3 thin, even coats of fiberglass coating, following kit directions. Allow to dry fully between coats.
  6. Let cure 5-7 days before use.
  7. Re-install drain cover.

The tub or shower can be used lightly after 24 hours but allow several days for full strength.

How to Refinish Metal Fixtures

Metal bathroom fixtures like faucets, drains, and towel bars often show age through scratches, tarnish, and mineral deposits. Refinishing them makes them look polished and new.


  • Paint stripper or acetone
  • Metal primer
  • Metal paint
  • Various grits sandpaper
  • Rags and scrub brush


  1. Remove fixture if possible. If not, thoroughly protect nearby surfaces.
  2. Apply paint stripper and let sit 15-20 minutes. Scrub with brush to remove existing finish.
  3. Scuff entire surface with 220 grit sandpaper to rough up. Wipe clean.
  4. Apply 2 coats of metal primer, drying in between. Lightly sand between coats.
  5. Apply 2-3 thin, even coats of metal paint in satin, semi-gloss or gloss sheen. Allow to dry fully.
  6. Re-install metal fixtures. Wait several days before use for full cure.

Tips for a Professional Refinished Look

Follow these tips for a smooth, durable finish:

  • Thoroughly clean and dry surfaces before painting
  • Lightly sand glossy areas for better adhesion
  • Apply thin, even coats of paint or coating
  • Allow proper dry and cure times between steps
  • Use high quality primer and paint
  • Work in a dust-free area
  • Mask nearby surfaces for a crisp paint line

With some simple supplies, time and care, you can give your bathroom fixtures a brand new, factory-fresh look! The art of refinishing bathroom fixtures lets you update your space on a budget.

Frequently Asked Questions About Refinishing Bathroom Fixtures

Can I refinish my old cast iron tub?

Yes, cast iron tubs can be refinished using a specialty epoxy coating made for bathtubs. The process involves stripping, sanding, cleaning, and applying new coating. Hire a professional for best results.

How long does a refinished sink or tub last?

With proper prep and application, a refinished surface can last 3-5 years or longer. Using high quality supplies helps maximize durability. Proper cleaning is also important.

What kind of paint should be used?

Always use paint specifically formulated for the bathroom fixture material. Porcelain, fiberglass, acrylic, and metal paints are available. The store can provide recommendations.

Can I refinish fixtures without sanding?

Light sanding creates a key for the new paint. Without sanding, the paint may not adhere well and could chip or peel quickly.

Is the process difficult for a beginner DIYer?

The basics can be handled by a beginner with some attention to detail. Hiring a pro for the first time can be helpful to learn techniques.

How soon can I use the bathroom after refinishing?

Cure times vary but around 24 hours for light use is typical. Wait 5-7 days for full cure before heavy use. Check manufacturer directions.


Refinishing bathroom fixtures is an affordable way to give your bathroom a makeover. With some basic DIY skills and quality supplies, you can learn the art of refinishing sinks, tubs, showers, and other fixtures. Pay attention to proper prep, application and cure times for long-lasting results. Take your time and refinish your fixtures properly so you can enjoy your fresh new bathroom.