After years of use steel and cast iron tubs and sinks may begin to discolor or rust but this doesn’t mean that they need to be totally replaced.
Often stains that come metals in our water can be cleaned and prevented. And sometimes those rust stains may come from a faucet that is beginning to rust. By adding a whole house filter you can reduce stains from magnesium and iron while also improving the quality of the water you drink. Once stains appear you can use bleach and household cleaners to remove some of the stains but you may need a special rust remover cleaner to attack the iron in the porcelain or enamel finishes.
If the fixture is actually rusting don’t worry repairing your fixtures is often easier then you think and in just one weekend you can restore your bathroom to looking new. Now you have to remember that any paint or product that you apply won’t be a ceramic baked on finish but Epoxy and Urethane paints with hardeners can produce a finish that will last for years.
When you are considering repainting a cast iron tub only do so if it is structuraly sound. If it has cracks, holes or if the mounting points for faucets or drains have coroded so they are not strong anymore then it is time to send the tub to the recycler. Used tubs can be picked up at your local home salvage yard for a fraction of their cost new or you can opt for a new tub with an old look that may have added features like whirlpool jets.
When repairing a small chip you can use a detail brush but for refinishing a whole fixture you will need to use a spray gun with a compressor. You can rent a gun and compressor or you may need to purchase the spraygun if your local rent a tool place doesn’t stock them.
The paint you use should be an epoxy with activator. This paint will harden in your mixing cup and tools after about an hour so you will need to be relatively quick and clean up immediately after you are done.
Prepair the surfaces by removing all the rust and treating it with a rust converter solution to stop any more rust from happening. Sand the rest of the surface with a 220 or 320 grit sand paper as directed. Apply primer over the bare metal. This should take you about an hour or two but if the rust converter is wet you may need to let it dry over night. Cast iron is pouris and the converter will stay in the metal so use a heat gun or hair dryer.
Once the surface is prep’d and clean mask off the walls and floor using plastic tarp, news paper and masking tape.
Paint the fixture with a few light coats don’t try to cover the whole area on your first pass. Once it is dry to touch (test on masking tape area not the fixture) remove the tape and let the fixture sit for at least 2 days before putting it into service. Remember to use a paint grade resperator and vent the room with a fan in a window if you can. It is probably not a good idea to use the bathroom fan while painting but turn it on for a few hours after to reduce the fumes in the house.
Saving old fixtures may just mean a good cleaning or repainting but often you will save money and have a finished item that you can be proud of.
The YouRepair store has a full line of products for your restoration needs from paint guns and compressors to paints and respirators.