Last week I dropped a bottle of cologne into my enamel bathtub, creating a 0.009 m diameter chip in the curved region where the tub wall meets the tub floor. After several hours of online research, I decided to try Gel-Coat Products Tub & Shower Repair Kit, stocked at Menards in white* and biscuit colors.
I followed the instructions exactly as shown below:
The kit worked even better than I’d imagined given the enamel repair horror stories I’d read in other online reviews. As with any DIY metal paint damage repair, don’t expect a factory result when you’re done, but you can expect a very presentable finish, as seen below:
Some useful advice:
- WEAR GLOVES as the hardener will burn your skin on contact. I used vinyl medical exam quality ones.
- Ventilate the area you’re working in. Use the extractor fan if you’re in the bathroom. Use a respirator if you can find one.
- Use a nail or other small sharp object to break the hardener tube seal. Be sure to point the tube opening away from you while doing so.
- Use a small plastic spatula instead of the included wooden applicator to apply the mixture of Gel-Paste and hardener.
- Do wait at least 3 hours between Steps 4 and 5.
- Resist the temptation to over-sand in Step 5. Good enough is good enough.
- It may take 2 or more rounds of Steps 1 to 5 – with 3 hour curing periods in between Steps 4 and 5 – to get the desired result. The upshot is this is one of the shorter repair methods out there.
- The included polish is Flitz Metal, Plastic, & Fiberglass Polish – Paste, in case you need extra.
- The polish will give the patch a blueish hue around the edges at first. Don’t worry about that; it’ll return to clear/patch color within an hour after polishing is done.
- If you’re not happy with the color of the finish, consider the completed Gel-Paste patch filler as is and get American Standard Enamel Steel Touch-Up Paint, which as of this writing is available in white, bone, bisque/linen, and white heat. I didn’t have to resort to this, but it seems like the next logical step from the reviews of that product.
All the reviews and advice articles I’d read made me think this repair was going to be a total nightmare. Instead it took about 15 to 20 minutes of actual work, which included hunting for a nail to break the hardener seal. While the kit won’t make it impossible to tell you had an accident, it’ll cover the evidence sufficiently to make you forget it and anyone else who didn’t know about it none the wiser. The results are terrific relative to what I expected. At $16.99 to fix a triple digit item, I highly recommend this repair kit. 8.5/10.
* Thankfully, common bathtub colors are standard.