Can Tub Enclosures Be Painted? A Guide to Painting Your Tub Enclosures

Tub enclosures are the unsung heroes of any bathroom. They keep the water where it should be and prevent the walls from turning into a soggy mess. Despite their vital function, they are often overlooked when it comes to the overall appearance of the bathroom. Most people don’t realize that tub enclosures can be painted to match the rest of the decor. So, can tub enclosures be painted? The short answer is yes; they can. Not only can it be done, but it’s also a simple and affordable way to breathe new life into an outdated bathroom.

Painting a tub enclosure may sound like a daunting task, but it’s surprisingly easy. All you need is some good quality paint, a few tools, and some patience. A well-done paint job on a tub enclosure can make a small bathroom look significantly larger with the flick of a brush. Whether you choose a bright, bold color or a more subtle shade, painting your tub enclosure is an excellent way to add personality to your bathroom. Plus, it’s a budget-friendly way to update your space without breaking the bank.

The best part of painting a tub enclosure is the freedom it provides. You can choose any color you like, from basic white to vibrant red or even metallic gold. The possibilities are endless, and your creativity is your only limit. Painting a tub enclosure is a quick and easy DIY project that can be completed in an afternoon, making it perfect for busy home owners. In this article, we’ll provide you with some tried and tested tips and tricks for painting your tub enclosure, so you can achieve a beautiful, professional-looking finish.

Types of Tub Enclosures

If you’re in the market for a new tub enclosure, there are several different types to choose from. Enclosures can vary in material, style, and function, so it’s important to consider your options before making a decision.

  • Frameless glass enclosures: These enclosures feature large glass panels without any framing or hardware around the edges. They give the bathroom a sleek, modern look and can be customized to fit any bathroom layout.
  • Semi-frameless glass enclosures: Similar to frameless enclosures, these feature glass panels with minimal framing, usually on the edges only. They offer a compromise between the sleekness of a frameless enclosure and the affordability of a framed one.
  • Framed glass enclosures: These enclosures have metal frames around the glass panels. While they don’t look as modern as frameless or semi-frameless enclosures, they tend to be more affordable and can come in a variety of finishes.
  • Shower curtains: A classic and affordable option, shower curtains can come in countless colors and patterns to match any bathroom aesthetic. They’re easy to change out and clean, making them a practical option for families.
  • Corner enclosures: These enclosures are designed to fit into the corner of a bathroom, maximizing space and providing a streamlined look. They can come in various materials and styles, such as glass or acrylic.

Frameless Glass Enclosures

Frameless glass tub enclosures have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their modern and elegant appearance. Without any framing or hardware around the edges, they create a seamless look that enhances the overall aesthetic of the bathroom. They can be customized to fit any bathroom layout, whether that be a simple square or a more complex shape with multiple angles.

Frameless glass enclosures are typically made of tempered glass that is at least 3/8 inch thick to ensure durability and safety. The glass can be plain or textured to add privacy, and there are different types of hardware available to customize the look, such as brushed nickel or brass.

Pros Cons
Modern and elegant look Expensive
Customizable to fit any layout Requires professional installation
No hardware or framing to clean Requires frequent cleaning to avoid streaks and water spots

Overall, frameless glass enclosures are a great option for those looking for a high-end, modern look in their bathroom. However, they do come with a higher price tag and require professional installation to ensure safety and durability.

Pros and Cons of Painting Tub Enclosures

When it comes to tub enclosures, painting them can be a cost-effective way to update the look of your bathroom without having to replace the tub and shower. However, before jumping into this DIY project, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of painting tub enclosures.

  • Pros:
  • Cost-effective: Painting tub enclosures is a much cheaper solution than replacing them altogether.
  • Customizable: You can choose any color you want to match with your bathroom color scheme.
  • Eco-friendly: By painting the tub enclosure, you are reducing waste and helping the environment.
  • Cons:
  • Durability: The paint on tub enclosures can easily chip or peel over time, which can lead to costly repairs.
  • Slippery surface: Some types of paint can make the tub enclosure surface slippery and dangerous when wet.
  • Maintenance: You will need to regularly maintain and re-paint the tub enclosure to keep it looking fresh and new.

It’s important to note that there are different types of paints specifically designed for tub enclosures that provide increased protection and durability, such as epoxy and enamel paints.

Type of Paint Pros Cons
Epoxy Paint Durable and resistant to chipping and peeling Difficult to apply and requires proper ventilation
Enamel Paint Provides a hard, glossy and durable surface Not very eco-friendly and requires proper ventilation during application

Before starting the project, it’s important to properly prepare the tub enclosure surface by cleaning it thoroughly and allowing it to dry completely. It’s also recommended to use a bonding primer before painting to ensure proper adhesion of the paint to the surface.

Overall, painting tub enclosures can be a great solution for a bathroom renovation, as long as you weigh the pros and cons and choose the right type of paint.

Preparation for Painting Tub Enclosures

Painting tub enclosures is an excellent way to give your bathroom a facelift. However, a successful paint job requires proper preparation to avoid having a messy and uneven coat. Here are some tips to help you prep your tub enclosure for painting.

  • Remove all hardware: Before starting, remove all hardware such as showerheads, faucets, and handles to avoid getting paint on them. You can alternatively wrap them up with plastic bags and tape.
  • Clean the surface: Thoroughly clean the tub enclosure with a non-abrasive cleaner, such as trisodium phosphate (TSP), to remove any dirt, soap scum, grease, or mildew. Rinse the walls thoroughly with clean water and let them dry completely.
  • Sand the surface: Lightly sand the surface with a fine-grit sandpaper to rough up the existing shine of the tub enclosure’s finish, and to help the paint adhere better to the surface. Make sure to clean the surface with a tack cloth to remove any dust from sanding.

After cleaning and sanding, masking tape off any areas, you don’t want to paint. For example, if your tub enclosure has a metal trim or similar piece that you wish to leave as-is, then you need to mask them off. It would be best if you alternated the masking tape with plastic sheets to protect larger sections.

Apart from the areas you do not want to paint, you also have to be careful with the paint application. A poorly painted tub enclosure can easily make the entire paint job look cheap. Here are some general guidelines:

Work with 45-degree angles:

  • When using a paintbrush or roller, try painting your tub enclosure by working with a 45-degree angle relative to the wall or floor. It makes it easier to get an even coat on your entire tub enclosure.
  • Also, maintain consistent pressure on the brush or roller to ensure that you get an event coat that does not show lines.

Here are some of the supplies you need:

Supplies Needed Amount
TSP cleaner 1 tablespoon mixed with a quart of water.
Sanding paper 120-grit sandpaper for fiberglass tub surrounds.
Brushes and rollers Use high-quality nylon brushes and rollers for an even coat.
Painter’s tape and plastic sheets Use painter’s tape to mask off areas and use plastic sheets to protect larger areas you don’t want to paint.

By following these preparation tips, you’ll be ensuring that your painted tub enclosure looks great, lasts long, and is easy to clean.

Best Paints for Tub Enclosures

Painting your tub enclosure is an excellent way to give your bathroom a fresh, new look without having to replace the entire unit. However, not all types of paint can be used to paint tub enclosures. It is essential to select the best type of paint that can withstand exposure to moisture and heat. Here are some of the best paints for tub enclosures:

  • Epoxy Paint: Epoxy paint is a popular choice for painting tub enclosures. It is highly durable and can withstand exposure to moisture, heat, and chemicals. It also dries quickly and provides a glossy finish. You can find epoxy paint in various colors and finishes, making it easy to match your bathroom’s decor.
  • Acrylic Paint: Acrylic paint is a water-based paint that is easy to use and dries quickly. It is affordable and readily available in most stores. However, acrylic paint is not as durable as epoxy paint and may require multiple coats to achieve full coverage.
  • 2-Part Polyurethane: 2-Part Polyurethane is a two-component paint that provides excellent durability and chemical resistance. It is a bit more expensive than other types of paint but is well worth the investment. 2-Part Polyurethane is highly resistant to chipping, peeling, and fading, making it an excellent choice for tub enclosures.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Paint for Tub Enclosures

When choosing the best paint for your tub enclosure, there are several factors to consider:

  • Durability: The paint you choose must be durable enough to withstand exposure to moisture, heat, and chemicals. It should also be resistant to chipping, peeling, and fading.
  • Adhesion: The paint you choose should adhere well to the surface of the tub enclosure to ensure that it does not peel or chip easily.
  • Compatibility: It is essential to ensure that the paint you choose is compatible with the material the tub enclosure is made of. For example, epoxy paint may not adhere well to certain types of plastic.
  • Color and Finish: Choose a color and finish that matches your bathroom’s decor and personal style.

How to Paint a Tub Enclosure

Painting a tub enclosure is a straightforward process that requires some preparation and patience. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Clean the tub enclosure thoroughly using a mild detergent and water. Rinse the surface well and let it dry completely.
  2. Sand the surface of the tub enclosure lightly using fine-grit sandpaper. This will help the paint to adhere better to the surface.
  3. Apply a coat of primer to the entire surface of the tub enclosure. This will help the paint to adhere better and provide a smooth, even finish.
  4. Apply the first coat of paint using a roller or brush, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Let the first coat dry completely before applying the second coat.
  5. Apply a second coat of paint and let it dry completely. Depending on the type of paint, you may need to apply additional coats to achieve full coverage.
  6. Once the final coat of paint has dried completely, apply a waterproof sealant to protect the paint from moisture and humidity.
Paint Type Pros Cons
Epoxy Paint Durable, highly resistant to moisture and chemicals, available in various colors and finishes. Expensive, may require multiple coats to achieve full coverage.
Acrylic Paint Easy to use, affordable, readily available in most stores. Less durable than other types of paint, may require multiple coats to achieve full coverage.
2-Part Polyurethane Highly durable, resistant to chipping, peeling, and fading. Expensive, requires special equipment and careful application.

Overall, painting your tub enclosure is an easy and affordable way to transform your bathroom’s look. Just make sure to choose the best type of paint for your needs and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully for the best results.

Steps for Painting Tub Enclosures

Painting tub enclosures can be a great way to spruce up your bathroom without the cost of a full remodel. With the right materials and techniques, this DIY project can be completed in a short amount of time. Here are the five steps for painting tub enclosures:

  • Clean the surface area thoroughly: The first step is to clean the tub enclosure with a mixture of warm water and a mild dish soap. This will remove any grime, grease, or soap residue on the surface. Be sure to rinse the area thoroughly and allow it to dry completely before moving on to the next step.
  • Sand the surface: Use a fine-grit sandpaper to lightly sand the surface of the tub enclosure. This will create a slightly rough texture that will allow the paint to adhere better. Be sure to wipe away any dust or debris after sanding.
  • Apply a primer: Apply a coat of high-quality primer to the sanded surface of the tub enclosure. The primer will provide a smooth base for the paint to adhere to and will also help prevent moisture damage. Allow the primer to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions before moving on to the next step.
  • Paint the tub enclosure: Apply a coat or two of paint to the primed surface of the tub enclosure. Make sure to use a high-quality paint that is specifically formulated for bathrooms and high-moisture areas. Allow the paint to dry completely between coats and before using the tub or shower.
  • Seal the surface: Once the paint has dried completely, apply a coat of sealer to the tub enclosure. This will protect the paint from moisture damage and make it easier to clean in the future.

Tips for Painting Tub Enclosures

Before you begin painting your tub enclosure, here are a few additional tips to keep in mind:

  • Choose the right type of paint: Be sure to choose a paint that is specifically formulated for use in bathrooms and high-moisture areas. These paints are designed to resist mildew and moisture damage.
  • Use high-quality materials: Invest in high-quality paint, primer, and sealer to ensure that your tub enclosure will look great for years to come.
  • Take your time: Don’t rush the process. Allow each layer of paint to dry completely before applying the next coat. This will help ensure that the paint goes on evenly and looks smooth and flawless.


Painting tub enclosures can be a fun and easy way to give your bathroom a fresh new look. By following these steps and tips, you can achieve beautiful, long-lasting results that will transform your space into a relaxing oasis.

Maintaining Painted Tub Enclosures

Painting your tub enclosure is a cost-effective way to freshen up your bathroom without spending too much money on renovation. After painting your tub enclosure, regular maintenance is important to keep it looking good for a long time.

  • Use the right cleaning products. Avoid using abrasive materials or any product that contains bleach or harsh chemicals. These may damage the painted surface and cause discoloration or chipping. You can use a mild dish soap or a cleaner recommended for painted surfaces.
  • Wipe down your tub enclosure after each use. To prevent soap scum and hard water stains from building up, it’s important to wipe down your tub enclosure using a soft cloth or sponge after each use. This will help prevent the buildup of grime and dirt that could eventually damage the painted surface.
  • Regularly inspect and touch up any chips or scratches. Over time, your tub enclosure might incur small chips or scratches that may be caused by regular use. To avoid bigger problems down the line, it’s important to check for these areas and repair them right away. Use the same paint and techniques that you used during the initial painting process to repair any damages.

To keep your painted tub enclosure looking good as new, it is essential to maintain it regularly. Here are additional tips for keeping your tub enclosure in good shape:

  • Use a silicone caulk around the edges to prevent moisture from creeping under the paint and causing it to peel.
  • Avoid using bath mats with suction cups as they can damage the finish. Use a mat with a fabric bottom instead.
  • If you have a showerhead that sprays out a strong stream of water, aim it away from the enclosure to prevent hard water stains from developing on the surface over time.

Follow these simple tips to maintain the painted surface of your tub enclosure and keep it looking as good as new.

Use a soft cloth or sponge for cleaning Use abrasive materials or harsh chemicals
Repair any chips or scratches immediately Let damages go unfixed for a long time
Use a silicone caulk to prevent moisture from damaging the paint Use a bathmat with suction cups

Remember that maintaining your painted tub enclosure is simple and can save you a great deal of money in the long run. With proper care, your tub enclosure can look brand new for years to come.

Tub Enclosure Alternatives to Painting

Painting your tub enclosure can be a great way to give it a new look, but it isn’t always the best option. Here are some possible alternatives to painting:

  • Refinishing: Refinishing your tub and tiles can make them look brand new. This process involves stripping away the old finish and resurfacing the tub with a new finish that can be customized to your needs. Refinishing can be done in a variety of colors and textures, making it a great alternative to painting. Plus, it’s a more permanent solution than painting, as the new finish should last for years to come.
  • Replacement: If your tub enclosure is outdated or damaged beyond repair, replacement may be the best option. A new tub and surround can update the look of your bathroom and increase its value. Plus, you can choose from a wide range of materials, colors, and shapes to customize your new tub enclosure to your liking.
  • Covering: If your tub enclosure is still in good condition but just needs an updated look, covering it may be a good alternative to painting. You can find tub liners or surrounds that fit directly over your existing tub and walls. These can be made from a variety of materials, such as acrylic or fiberglass, and come in a range of colors and finishes. Covering is typically more affordable than refinishing or replacing and can be an easy DIY project.

If you’re considering any of these alternatives to painting your tub enclosure, be sure to research your options thoroughly. Each method has its own pros and cons, so it’s important to weigh them carefully before making a decision.


While painting your tub enclosure may seem like an easy and affordable way to update your bathroom, it’s not always the best option. Refinishing, replacement, and covering are just a few alternatives to consider. By taking the time to research your options, you can make an informed decision that will give you the look you want while fitting within your budget and needs.

Can Tub Enclosures be Painted: FAQs

1. Can I paint a fiberglass tub enclosure?

Yes, you can. But you need to use a paint that is specially formulated for fiberglass materials to ensure good bonding and long-lasting finish.

2. Can I paint over a textured tub enclosure?

Yes, you can. But you need to be more careful with painting textured surfaces. You need to use a brush or roller that can reach into the grooves and bumps to ensure complete coverage.

3. Do I need to prime the tub enclosure before painting?

Yes, you do. Priming helps the paint adhere better to the surface and improves its durability. Choose a primer that is compatible with both the tub enclosure material and the paint you’re using.

4. Can I use regular household paint for a tub enclosure?

No, you shouldn’t. Regular paint is not suitable for high-moisture areas like bathrooms. It can peel, fade, or crack easily. Use a paint that is specifically formulated for tub and tile surfaces.

5. What preparation do I need to do before painting a tub enclosure?

You need to clean the surface thoroughly and remove any flaking or chipping paint. Sand the surface lightly to create a good bonding surface and wipe it clean with a damp cloth. Apply a primer and let it dry before applying the paint.

6. How long will the paint last on a tub enclosure?

It depends on the quality of the paint, the surface preparation, and the wear and tear it receives. Generally, a well-applied paint can last for several years with proper care. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scrubbing tools that can damage the paint.

7. Can I change the color of a tub enclosure without painting it?

Yes, you can. Some tub enclosure materials, such as acrylic, can be refinished using a color coating system. This involves applying a durable coating over the existing surface to change its color.

Closing Thoughts

We hope these FAQs have answered your questions about painting tub enclosures. Remember, it’s important to choose the right paint and materials, prepare the surface properly, and be patient with the process. With a little effort, you can give your bathroom a fresh new look and enjoy your tub enclosure for years to come. Thanks for reading, and visit us again for more home improvement tips!