A chipped or cracked fiberglass or porcelain bathtub is an eyesore as well as a potential hazard. A leaking bathtub can cause structural damage to underlying floors and walls. Prevent damage to floors and walls by repairing a chipped or cracked fiberglass or porcelain bathtub as soon as the problem is discovered. Repairing the damaged tub in a timely manner will not only prevent structural damage, but it will also stop the crack from spreading and becoming a much larger problem.
You can either hire a professional to repair a damaged bathtub, or you can easily fix it yourself using a kit. A do-it-yourself kit costs a fraction of what a professional would charge, and they are readily available at most home improvement stores. The kits usually contain epoxy resin, wet/dry sandpaper, fine-grit sandpaper, gel coat enamel, and an applicator. To complete the repair you will also need a hairdryer, rags, a paintbrush, and a tungsten carbide cutter appropriately sized for the repair at hand.
Begin repairing your fiberglass bathtub by making sure the damaged area is clean and dry. Using a hairdryer over the area will ensure that it’s completely dry and ready to be repaired. This is a crucial step in the repair of your bathtub since epoxy will not stick to a wet surface.
The surface of the damaged area must also be smooth and clean. Widen the crack and remove any rough spots using a tungsten carbide cutter. Hold the tool at the appropriate angle to create a v-shaped channel. Do this down the entire length of the crack. If you are repairing a chip, grind off the edges to make them smooth. Sand off any remaining rough edges using fine-grit sandpaper. Smoothness is the key to attaining an invisible repair.
The next step is to apply the epoxy filler. Follow the label directions on the product, and use the included applicator to fill in the groove. Fill it in completely, and remove any extra epoxy using the applicator tool. Allow the area to dry for approximately 12 hours. Doing so will ensure that the epoxy has had adequate time to cure. After the epoxy has cured, sand it with the wet/dry sandpaper that came with the kit. Complete this step by wetting the fine-grit sandpaper and sanding the repair to a smooth finish.
Now the repair is ready for an application of gel coat enamel. Follow the instructions included with the kit, and apply a smooth layer of enamel. Some kits come with various colors that can be mixed to match your bathtub. If the enamel matches the color of your bathtub, the repair should be virtually unnoticeable.
Epoxy resin is strong, and the repair should last as long as the bathtub. Make sure your bathtub has proper support underneath to prevent future cracks from forming. Avoid placing heavy objects near your bathtub; the dropping of heavy objects is often how bathtubs become chipped. Heavy bottles or other objects fall into the tub causing unsightly and often serious damage.
Porcelain bathtub repair kits are very similar to fiberglass repair kits, and they are used much in the same manner. Enamel paint is used to cover the repair, and it becomes invisible.
If you can’t match the color of the repair to the color of the bathtub, you might want to consider repainting it. Enamel bathtub paint is strong and long-lasting. Your newly repaired bathtub will look like it did when it was brand new.