Fix a chipped bathtub for $5

Last Updated on November 13, 2020 by Dave Farquhar

For years, I’ve wanted to repair chips in a bathtub. My bathtub. I finally found a way to do it cheaply and effectively. Here’s you can fix a chipped bathtub for $5 like I did.

At the hardware store, I spied Super Glue’s porcelain repair kit for $5. Anything like it I’ve seen was a two-part epoxy, which is tricky. Since this stuff required no mixing, and promised to clean up with nail polish remover, I thought I’d give it a try on my bathtub, which had four chips in it, the largest nearly the size of a dime.

It worked pretty well, after some experimentation.

Mix carefully

The first thing I learned was to shake the tube well before opening. In mine, the glue and the paint had separated, so my first squirt of it was almost all glue and solvent. I cleaned up that mess and shook up the bottle, and got better results after that. Don’t be like me. Shake it up so you can get it right the first time.

Apply the repair to the chipped bathtub

Squirting it out isn’t the best way to apply it. Apply a bit of the filler to a toothpick or something similar and dab it into the chip until you fill it in. I got best results if I applied some with the tip of a toothpick, then rolled it smooth with another round toothpick. It’s rather thick and sets up in a few minutes, so it will do a pretty good job of staying in place and in form. Don’t worry much about imperfections at this point. Let it dry for 10 hours, then look for low spots. If you see low spots, apply a bit more filler and roll it smooth.

I had a problem with the excess collecting on the edges, but that’s easy enough to remedy. Apply a bit of nail polish remover to a cotton swab, then rub it smooth. I also had a problem with rough spots before I started rolling it. The nail polish remover treatment makes quick work of rough spots too. But rolling over the repair with a round toothpick helps you keep the high spots to a minimum.

The results

fix a chipped bathtub
With a strong enough light and the right angle you can see three of the chips I fixed on this tub. Most of the time you never notice. The mismatched sheen looks much better than dark chips do. The repair has held up well over several years, too.

On small chips, the repair can be nearly undetectable. On bigger chips you’re more likely to notice the difference in color and sheen, but if you’re patient, you can get a very smooth and hard to notice repair. My dime-sized chip took four applications over three days. If you catch it at the right angle you can definitely see it, but usually I don’t notice it.

Re-glazing a tub costs about $400, so it was nice to be able to get an acceptable repair for $5. It doesn’t look like a $400 repair, but I think it looks better than five bucks.

It’s heat-resistant enough that you can use it on a kitchen range. It would work to fix scratches and dents on other white appliances as well. You can do more than repair chips in a bathtub with it.

And it’s surprisingly durable. I applied this repair in 2014. Six years later, the repairs look like they did after the product finished curing. For five bucks, I’m not sure I could be happier.

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