Butt Prints in my Tub

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I have been thinking of writing a series on my blog for a while now titled “Stupid Things I Thought I Could Do.” After refinishing my bathtub I couldn’t resist.

For some reason, Google searches and YouTube “easy” how-to videos have led me to a false belief that I can do or make anything. I have tried a series of Internet-inspired projects this year. Some turned out — like refinishing the back of my ripped love seat — others didn’t — like making corn-starched-based sidewalk chalk paint.

Earlier this year my bathroom was driving me nuts. The paint was peeling off the walls. The baseboards were splintering. The toilet seat was rusting. The sink was nasty.  I hated to go in there.

So I decided I would enlist the help of my husband, my girlfriend and my grandma.

It started out really nice. In October I peeled the wallpaper off, removed the patches of chipping paint, ripped off the baseboards with a crowbar, took out the old-school medicine cabinet and unhinged several cabinet doors. Next, my friend Heidi and I primed every inch of the place.

A few days later she came over again and we slapped some joint compound on the walls and textured the entire room. My grandma came down next and helped me paint the walls a bluish-grey color. Then I painted the cabinet doors and ceiling white. Things were looking so good!

We had a little trouble getting the plumbing to fit right with the new sink, but nothing would prepare me for what would happen next.

It had been about one month since I started the remodel. I thought that was pretty good for only being able to work on the room sporadically.

The second week in November my husband was going out of town for work and would be gone all week. That’s when I chose to refinish the tub. That’s when everything went wrong.

I bought a cheap epoxy-paint tub refinishing kit from the hardware store. I read the instructions that came with the kit several times. I had to scrub the tub with a major cleaner, rub it down with steel wool and rinse it all out three separate times before beginning to pain the stuff on.

I decided to start on a Monday night at about 8 p.m. Nearly 5 hours later I was done.

It was literally the hardest thing I have ever painted in my life. The gooey paint went on thick and unevenly. I had to massage the brush over the surface again and again in order to get it to smooth out. After one coat the tub looked terrible. I could still see the old white peering through the uneven brush strokes. The manual said that I needed to put in on very thin and it would take at least two coats.

The second coat was a lot harder to paint because I couldn’t lean on the tub anywhere. I had to arch upside down and sideways to get every inch covered.

I never was able to get the edges of the thing to coat. We had recently caulked the sides of the tub and apparently the epoxy-paint didn’t want to adhere to the silicone. By 1 a.m. I wanted to scream. I was tired and stressed. I went to bed hoping to get some sleep.

Luckily things looked better in the morning. There were a few brush strokes on the side of the tub that I couldn’t get smooth, but other than that, it was a major transformation.

My tub before was old. It had scratches and water stains streaking its sides. This new creamy white looked good in comparison.

One of the instructions in the kit stated that you had to keep the room temperature above 72 degrees for three days in order for the paint to cure — that was the one instruction I couldn’t control.

Unfortunately my furnace died the night I decided to paint.

I thought that maybe the tub would still work. It still looked good. I waited the next three days like the instructions stated before using it. Meanwhile my boys and I bathed at my mom’s house and I had a new furnace installed.

But the new heater was too little too late. I sat in the tub after the third day of drying only to find that the tub’s paint hadn’t settled and I was leaving butt prints behind on the bottom.

Talk about discouraging. I did all of that work in vain, and I had my butt prints in the tub to prove it. I tried desperately to smooth them out of the bottom and then waited three more days for the tub to cure.

Still more butt prints.

I called the number on the kit’s package and the customer-service agent told me that temperature was critical in curing the new paint. She suggested I put a space heater in the room for 24 hours and then test the tub.

It didn’t work.

I called again and a different customer service agent told me that if it hadn’t cured in 6 days, it wasn’t going to work. He told me I could remove the new paint by stripping it.

Wow. I was mad. I had done all that I could to follow the instructions on the kit and worked so hard to make my tub sparkling white to no avail.

Luckily my husband is always there to clean up my messes when one of my do-it-yourself projects goes awry. He stripped and I peeled the non-cured paint from every inch of the tub. I have sanded the tub’s edges until my fingers were raw.

We finally finished it all on Monday. The tub doesn’t look perfect — obviously there was a reason I wanted to refinish it in the first place. But it looks amazingly better than the shoddy paint job I pulled over it. And at least now when I bath I no longer leave butt prints behind.

Who knows what I’ll think I can do next.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carol Greenland
    Dec 29, 2011 @ 09:19:30

    Nat it looks great. You should be proud. I think I will have you come and do mine.


  2. Kaye
    Dec 30, 2011 @ 00:33:21

    It looks great! That is a lot of frustration – a big project to take on, but I know the feeling of not being able to look at a bathroom that is in bad condition. So your boys are okay without the “Red Sox” border and baseballs?


    • Natalie
      Dec 30, 2011 @ 06:59:56

      Thanks Kaye! I am glad it’s all done. Yeah, my boys were OK with me taking down the Sox stuff. They have enough sports decor in their bedroom to make up for it. 🙂


  3. Jolene
    Dec 30, 2011 @ 18:02:00

    I thinik it looks great. I’ll keep you in mind if I want to do my again. No likely it took Ralph 6 months just to decided to start on it and another 3 months to the finish. I know I could have done it faster but he said he’d have it done in a flash. YA


    • Natalie
      Dec 30, 2011 @ 20:48:10

      Thanks Jolene! It took us 2 months and I thought that felt like forever. I think it would have been a lot faster if we didn’t have the tub fiasco. I think things always take longer than people anticipate 🙂


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