Common Issues with Refinished Bathtubs and How to Fix Them

Common Issues with Refinished Bathtubs and How to Fix Them


Refinishing a bathtub can be a cost-effective and efficient way to breathe new life into an old or worn-out fixture. However, like any home improvement project, refinishing doesn’t come without its challenges. Over time, refinished bathtubs can develop various issues that may require attention. In this article, we will explore some common problems associated with refinished bathtubs and provide practical solutions for fixing them.

1. Peeling and Flaking

Peeling and flaking are perhaps the most common issues with refinished bathtubs. This problem occurs when the adhesion between the old surface and the new finish fails. Several factors, such as improper surface preparation or low-quality refinishing materials, can contribute to peeling and flaking.

Solution: To fix peeling and flaking, you need to remove the loose finish using a gentle abrasive cleaner. Once the surface is smooth, reapply a high-quality bathtub refinishing kit, ensuring proper surface preparation, including cleaning, sanding, and priming. Proper ventilation and curing time are also crucial to prevent future problems.

2. Discoloration

Over time, refinished bathtubs can develop discoloration, often caused by exposure to harsh cleaning chemicals, UV rays, or simply wear and tear. Discoloration can make your bathtub look old and unappealing.

Solution: To address discoloration, start by cleaning the bathtub with mild, non-abrasive cleaners to remove any surface stains. If the discoloration persists, consider applying a clear, UV-resistant topcoat to protect the finish from further damage. Regular maintenance with gentle cleaners can also prevent future discoloration.

3. Scratches and Chips

Scratches and chips can occur due to abrasive cleaning tools, dropped objects, or heavy impacts. These imperfections not only affect the bathtub’s appearance but can also lead to water leakage and further damage if left unattended.

Solution: Small scratches and chips can be repaired using bathtub repair kits available in most home improvement stores. These kits typically contain filler compounds that can be used to fill the damaged area. For larger or deep chips, it’s advisable to consult a professional refinishing service for a more comprehensive repair.

4. Dull Finish

Over time, the glossy finish of a refinished bathtub can become dull and lackluster. This can be caused by abrasive cleaning, exposure to harsh chemicals, or simply wear from regular use.

Solution: Restoring the shine of a dull finish can be achieved by polishing the surface with a fine abrasive cleaner or a specialized bathtub polishing compound. After polishing, apply a high-quality bathtub wax or sealant to protect the finish and maintain its luster. Regular waxing can extend the life of the refinished surface.

5. Uneven Texture

An uneven texture in a refinished bathtub can be caused by improper application of the refinishing materials, dust particles settling on the wet surface, or issues with the spraying equipment. Uneven texture not only affects the bathtub’s appearance but also makes cleaning more challenging.

Solution: Sanding the uneven surface with fine-grit sandpaper can help smooth out the texture. After sanding, apply a new layer of refinishing material, making sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application techniques. It’s essential to work in a dust-free environment to prevent particles from settling on the wet surface.

6. Bubbling

Bubbling in a refinished bathtub can occur if air or moisture becomes trapped between the old surface and the new finish during the refinishing process. Bubbles can weaken the adhesion and lead to peeling if not addressed promptly.

Solution: To fix bubbling, you’ll need to remove the affected area using a scraper or sandpaper, down to the original surface. Afterward, clean the area thoroughly, ensuring it is completely dry. Apply a new layer of refinishing material, taking care to remove any air pockets and ensuring a smooth application. Proper ventilation and allowing sufficient curing time are crucial to prevent future bubbling.


Refinishing a bathtub can significantly enhance the appearance of your bathroom, but it requires proper techniques and maintenance to ensure long-lasting results. By addressing common issues like peeling, discoloration, scratches, dull finish, uneven texture, and bubbling, you can preserve the beauty and functionality of your refinished bathtub. Regular cleaning, gentle maintenance, and timely repairs are key to enjoying a beautiful and durable refinished bathtub for years to come.