How can I repair or restore an old bath?

We had an email from Richard the other day:

I have recently designed and restored a cast iron roll top bath. I’ve taken an antique original bath and I have recently designed and restored a cast iron roll top bath. I’ve taken an antique original bath and have given it a bespoke twist using ceramic handmade mosaics as decoration. With the iron legs chromed too I feel it would stand out in any bathroom.

Replica cast iron baths take large amounts of energy to produce and thus leave a large carbon foot print. This is my greener alternative!

This is a great idea – there are so many old baths dumped because they’re no longer pretty but this now is pretty flash.

Our bath in our last house was very old – the original one when bathrooms were installed in the houses in the 1960s (when the council decided that the 60 year old houses weren’t actually “temporary housing” as planned) – and as a result, the enamel was damaged & stained by water deposits. It was always our plan to explore re-enamelling it but as with many things in our lives, we never got around to it. Has anyone else had any experience re-surfacing a bath? Did you do it yourself or is it a job for a professional?

A lot of baths nowadays seem to be made from plastic or fibreglass – not quite so cold but more prone to cracking that a solid hunk of metal. Has anyone fixed a damaged plastic/fibreglass bath?

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3 Responses to “How can I repair or restore an old bath?”

  1. Alice says:

    I’ve got two huge chunks taken out of the enamel on my bath, plus lots of scratches. Metal bath, white enamel, looks awful.

    Tried to repair one of the huge dents by spray painting with enamel intended for painting radiators, but did such a bad job of spraying that it still looks really messy.

    The paint has stayed on for several years though, but it’s well above the water line so can’t testify that this would work on a bit that’s regularly submerged in hot water.

    Second dent is below water line so will try repairing that and report back. My fear is that it’s probably ok for bathing but may discolour in all the sterilising fluid, clothes dye, home-brew wine, laundry liquid etc that gets used for various projects in my bath…

    Anyone have any links to instructions for spray painting better? I guess I should have sanded the dent first to make the surface smoother, and shouldn’t have masked off the surrounding area with tape because it needs to blend in with the existing finish…?

  2. Hi and thanks to louisa for posting my bath.

    in reply to alice, i agree old scratched baths can look horrid thats why ive chosen to re enamel the bath using special sprays from the states they are supposed to be non yellowing over time and best on the market ive been told.

    yes metal baths are cold but if you heat the water up a few degrees hotter than you normally would and leave a min or two then you will find that cast iron baths keep the heat in the bath longer than plastic ones.


  3. Uluska says:

    Be careful which chemicals to use to remove old enamel, because some of them can easily turn deadly.

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