Our guest bathroom was one that got pushed to the back burner because we never really used it. Until one day Justin and my schedule overlapped and I had no choice but to use this bathroom to get ready. I had a serious moment of “OMG our guests must think we’re disgusting!” I took on this project that same weekend.
Ok so our bathroom wasn’t soo terrible, it was just old, outdated and of course, beige. To understand the transformation, take a good look at the space (below) before we even moved in. Don’t even get me started on the floors. I’ve changed those twice already… (this is a no judgement zone people)! I’m sure you’ll see those posts soon too. Anywho, one project at a time. This one tackles the sink countertop and brings a refreshed look to the shower, all on a tight budget!
Cleaners: Bleach (if needed to remove mildew), Abrasive Cleanser like Comet and Lime-A-Way
Foam paint roller
And possibly a vinyl adhesive tub mat
The sink was a weird tone of beige with marble-like veining. The faucet was half broken, rusty and definitely original to the house that screamed 90s. The shower had some old decals on the tiles that must to go, along with some chips and a stained tub bottom that wouldn’t come out no matter how much bleach and elbow grease I put into it. Take a scroll down memory lane with these before photos…
Let’s take a look at the key to this whole project. Rust-oleum Tub & Tile Refinishing Kit. I researched many refinishing options before starting this project and decided I wanted to give Rust-oleum a shot because I’ve used their regular painting products before and always had a great result. Like I mentioned, I started this project just a day or two after I had the great idea to do it so finding a store with this in stock the same day was a bit of a challenge. The product states that one box covers two coats on a 70 – 110 square foot area. Depending on how big of a space you have and how much coverage is needed, you may want to grab more than one. I snagged a box at a small hardware store for around $30. If you’re looking to do this project, I would suggest ordering on Amazon. They even have a 2-pack option that ends up being a little cheaper too!
Be sure to follow the exact directions on whatever kit you purchase for the best results. For mine, I started by giving everything a really good cleaning. I removed any grime with bleach, then scrubbed it down with Comet. Then, I removed all the old caulking where the tile meets the tub. Note – this was gross. Use gloves. You’re welcome.
Then, use a product like Lime-A-Way with an abrasive pad to clean the surfaces again. If you have any chips, scratches or uneven areas, the next step is really important. Take some 400 grit wet sandpaper (different than regular sandpaper because it works the same even if emerged in water) and go over everything multiple times. This will remove imperfections and rough up the surface so the product has something to adhere to. It was also really useful in getting rid of those fish decals. 🙂
Let the surface dry completely before you move on to the refinishing stage.
I removed the tub drain and learned
what the heck a how to use a drain wrench. Not gonna lie, I was a little intimidated on this part but after a few YouTube videos, I was basically a pro. The drain came out in no time! I also taped off areas where the faucets met the surface, similar to how you would tape off a baseboard when you’re painting a room. Painters tape worked just fine.
This product comes in two cans that you need to mix together to activate so be prepared to use the full kit once you start. I’ll warn you now, this stuff is stinkyyyy. I’m talking fumes strong enough for you to question if it’s legal. My eyes began to water at some point in this process. So if you have pets or kids (or a husband who gets bored easily) I would recommend doing this when everyone is out of the house and you can keep windows open and fans on. I ended up using a respirator mask because the fumes were that overwhelming.
And now, glamour shots:
I took a 4 inch foam paint roller and began on the sink countertop. I carried this up the backsplash and used a small brush to get into the corners and curves of the sink.
This will make you realize how off-white and dingy everything really is! I used the same 4 inch roller for most of the shower, with a short paintbrush for the edges and curves. I painted over the soap dish and towel holder just as I did the rest of the tile.
You’ll notice I didn’t remove the sink faucet or drain before painting. I knew we would be replacing the faucet so thought it wouldn’t matter if paint got on these. But, I didn’t account for the new faucet not having the same shape as the old one. Once it was replaced, some of the old beige became visible where the old and new faucet bases didn’t overlap (below). I was able to find a small package of Rust-Oleum Touch-Up kit to paint around the gaps but if you can remove or plan to replace the faucet and drain prior to painting, do it. The two-part product must be used in-full once activated. To get the most bang for your buck it just makes sense to go all or nothing here.
The first coat (and fumes) will make you question all of your decisions. It looks uneven, doesn’t really cover the imperfections and is just messy. You must wait at least 3 hours before your second coat can be applied so go grab lunch, because you’ll want to get out of the smell for a bit. When you come to your senses and get the second coat on, you will start to see the vision come to life! I did have a bit of texture to the surface of this (you can see in the close up below). I’m not sure if that was how the surface was before, or if this kit added that texture or if it came from the roller I used. It doesn’t bother me, but something to consider if you are expecting a glossy surface like granite or marble. This isn’t it. But it’s $30 and granite..is not. So.
I swapped out the sink faucet for a brushed nickel Jacuzzi Lyndsay faucet (model 0749745). Here is a similar model. I also updated the shower trim to a brushed nickel kit by Moen.Be sure you caulk around all the updated hardware and where the tub and tile meet to prevent any leaks.
I carried the paint over the tub across the front as well and replaced the trim around the bottom of the tub during this process using Liquid Nails (don’t nail trim into your tub!)
Pro Tip: If you want to replace tub/shower trim, be sure to get one from the same manufacturer or one that says it matches the plumbing dimensions of your current manufacturer. In most cases, trying to replace a Moen tub spout with a Delta one will not work without some plumbing adjustments. If you’re trying to keep this DIY-friendly, stick with the original brand. If you’ve just gotta have a certain style that is from another brand, call a plumber! (This doesn’t matter so much for sinks because those have pretty standard sizes.) I learned this the hard way. And yes, Lowe’s employees know me by name.
The surfaces need to cure for at least 3 days before you can use them again. In all, a great improvement to the sink and shower for just a day or so of work! (plus drying time). This bathroom is slowly making its way out of the beige universe and onto something much, much better!
Update: after about a year, I have some more thoughts on this product. In the shower, we used a standard tub mat (the one with suction cups) and when cleaning one day, I removed the mat and the suction cups started chipping up ALOT of the resurfacer. In a state of panic, I ripped the mat up like bandaid and assessed the damage. It wasn’t good. The stains from the 90s started emerging back under my newly finished tub. I took some of the wet sandpaper in hopes of smoothing it out and just refinishing it again. But realized the chipping had a ripple effect with no end. I starting having visions of myself scraping up all this paint from the whole tub less than a year after updating it. Naturally, I shut the door and pretended it didn’t happen. For like 3 more weeks.
After I had some time to take it all in, I was forced to do something about it because we had company coming. And this was not a good look. Remember when I mentioned the Rust-Oleum kit was tough to find in the store? Well I stumbled upon this Tough as Tile Resurfacing ONE PART Kit and picked it up hoping it would be a saving grace. It wasn’t. The thickness didn’t match the coverage from the previous layers. It’s hard to explain and I didn’t take any photos of this part but let’s just say things got worse before they got better. I tell you all this because in the midst of “WTF mode” I realized actually liked the Tough as Tile kit a little better than Rust-Oleum. It comes on one can (no need to mix two parts) so you can seal and re-use it later if you need to. There is a two part option so be sure you get the right one. It doesn’t smell NEARLY as bad. In fact, I can’t remember if this had a smell at all. And it’s easy to find at the store! While I can’t speak to how it holds up in the shower, it may be worth the shot if you’re looking to do this project and want to tackle it a little bit at a time without the concern of fumes.
I did some research online and found a lot of similar reviews when it came to mats with suction cups. Here’s some other experiences that were very similar to mine. But mine was much, much worse.
In the end, I found a vinyl adhesive tub mat that covered up my mistakes quite nicely. It has a sticky backing, so it stays in place and isn’t coming up until someone else decides to update this baby again. Takeaways here are 1. don’t use a mat with suction cups if you DIY refinish a tub and 2. if you mess something up, it’s ok! Just
cover it up keep going and find a creative way to solve the problem! That’s what DIY is all about. Amirite?
Sneak peek at the current bathroom!! Gahhhh. SO much has happened here. I actually enjoy using this space now! What project do you want to see next? DIY shelves, an easy vanity update, flooring, how to replace a toilet (that’s always fun), updating a builder-grade mirror or light fixture, how to actually change a faucet…? So many things. Leave me your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading!
UPDATE: We were in this house about 8 months before moving and everything held up just a perfect as the day I finished. But, be sure to read all the instructions for the brand you choose. For best results, properly prepare surface following the series of steps on packaging, only use on approved surfaces (ex: tile and porcelain) and only clean with approved products – typically harsh chemicals and bleach will damage this resurfacer.