Bathtub cracks are fairly common, and the fix is cut and dry -- no tub replacement required!
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You come home from work ready for a relaxing bubble bath, pull back the shower curtain, and there it is: a hairline crack in your bathtub. Immediately you worry that you'll have to replace your entire tub
. Well, you don't. You can repair that crack like it never happened. Keep in mind that the results won't be perfect, but you'll be saving hundreds of dollars
by not hiring a professional or buying a new tub.
First find out what your tub is made of. If a magnet sticks to it, it is probably metal, but you won't likely have cracks in a metal tub. Here, we'll talk about how to repair a crack in three popular non-metal tub surfaces: fiberglass and acrylic, and porcelain. If you knock on your tub and it sounds hollow, chances are it is fiberglass or acrylic. If you gently strike it and if it has a slight ringing sound, like clanging dishes, then it is likely porcelain.
FIX CRACKS IN FIBERGLASS OR ACRYLIC TUBS
1. Determine whether the crack is large enough to require a fiberglass mesh insert.
Cracks greater than a quarter inch wide will normally require a patch of some sort.
2. Purchase a fiberglass tub repair kit
from your local home improvement store. It should contain all of the other supplies you need, including putty sticks, an applicator, and sandpaper.
2. Before doing anything else, clean and dry the bathtub
well. Make sure to use gentle, non-abrasive cleansers to avoid surface scratches.
3. Lightly sand the surface
with sandpaper, often included in the repair kit.
4. Some kits come with a colorant that you can mix with the filler, and others will come with paint that is applied after the filler has dried. If your kit requires, mix the filler ad the color well before applying. Fill the crack using the kit filler
and following the kit's directions, making sure to get the filler into the crack as much as possible, using the applicator or your finger (be sure to wear protective gloves!) to ensure that the adhesive is well distributed inside the crack and to wipe away some of the surface filler. Allow the filler to dry according to the directions. If you are using a fiberglass patch or mesh for a large crack, coat it thoroughly.
5. Once the filler has dried (usually overnight), use the included sandpaper to sand down the surface
until it is smooth and flush with the tub.
6. If your kit came with paint, apply the paint
at this stage. If the paint was included mixed with the filler, you can turn your attention to buffing and polishing the surface
. Some kits will come with a buffing or finishing rag or cloth. If it did not, you can use very fine grit sandpaper
FIX CRACKS IN PORCELAIN TUBS
1. Cracks in porcelain tubs are slightly trickier
than acrylic and fiberglass tubs because there aren't really any ready-made repair kits. Therefore, you'll need to be slightly more inventive for this DIY. There are surface chip and blemish kits
, but those typically don't include fillers and are not for larger crevice repair. You can find porcelain enamel paints
for surface blemishes at many art supply stores. Depending on the size of the crack, you might not need a filler -- if it is a very very small hairline crevice, just apply some of the porcelain paint to fill it in. If not, proceed to step 2.
2. At your local home improvement store, purchase some caulk
and porcelain enamel paint
to match your tub. If you cannot find the paint, try an art supply store.
3. Clean and dry the tub
before applying any product.
4. If the crack is big enough to require filler, apply the caulk
using the instructions provided on the package. Wipe off the excess with a wet paper towel so that the surface is smooth. Try not to wipe off too much over the crack itself. Allow the filler to dry as instructed by the directions.
5. Once the caulk is dry, you can remove any additional excess caulk
with a razor blade or other sharp object. Be careful not to remove any from the crack itself.
6. Paint the area
with the matching porcelain enamel paint and let it dry.