Shower Stall Repair and Tub Fixes Made Easy

Shower Stall
Shower stalls can be repaired with special kits that closely match the base surface.

Astronaut Images/Getty Images 

Cracks, holes, chips, and stains in fiberglass or acrylic shower stalls or tubs do not necessarily mean that it is time to replace them. Several categories of shower stall or bathtub surface problems can easily be fixed on a do-it-yourself basis and, in most cases, quite inexpensively. On the market are many do-it-yourself products that help you patch holes, fill cracks, erase rust spots, and cover up blemishes.

These are not the ultimate solution, and in some cases the fix may be functional but visible. But they will save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the short-term, as well as extend the life of your shower or tub until you opt to replace it.

How to Fix a Fiberglass or Acrylic Shower Stall or Tub

Whether it is a bathtub, bathtub/shower surround, or a shower stall, the process is the same for all surfaces. The fix applies to fiberglass and acrylic materials. The rule of thumb is that if the hole is smaller than a half-inch, you should be able to make the repairs yourself. If you are dealing with a larger hole, replacing the surround or unit might be in your future.

Description

Holes and cracks in fiberglass or acrylic tubs go beyond unsightly. When water infiltrates these openings, it can leak behind the unit and create pools of water, soak insulation, weaken studs, and possibly even result in mold.

Fixing the problem area involves applying a compound that hardens to the strength of the surrounding material. Basic colorants help bring the color of the patch closer to the color of the shower or tub, but the color match is rarely perfect.

Tools and Materials

  • Nonabrasive cleaner such as Bon Ami
  • Putty knife if there is no applicator in your kit
  • 600-grit wet-dry sandpaper

How to Do It

  1. Clean the damaged area completely with the nonabrasive powdered cleanser.
  2. Rinse thoroughly, ensuring that no residue from the cleaner remains on the surface. Any residue will compromise your fix, weakening it and shortening its life-span.
  3. If directed so by the kit, apply the reinforcement tape to the crack or small hole.
  4. In a disposable container, combine the resin with the hardener and coloring.
  5. Spread the mixture over the tape or the damaged spot, feathering out the edges, and creating as smooth a surface as you can.
  6. Let the repair dry according to package directions.
  7. Sand wet with the wet-dry sandpaper provided. The paper should be no coarser than 600-grit wet dry sandpaper.

How to Remove Stains From a Shower Stall or Tub

Stains on showers or tubs are annoying. It's time to erase these stains when regular cleaning methods have failed.

Description

The theme behind cleaning stains from shower stalls or bathtubs is to start with simple methods such as lemon and progress to stronger, more caustic methods such as mild acids. In a majority of the cases, the simple, organic, and less hazardous methods will be sufficient to eliminate the stain.

Tools and Materials

  • Lemon, cut into quarters
  • Baking soda
  • Sponge
  • Bleach
  • Rubber gloves
  • Oxalic acid (5 percent solution) or hydrochloric acid (10 percent solution)

How to Do It

  • Cut a lemon in quarters and rub the surface with the fruit. If you only have bottled lemon juice on hand, that will work as well. Next, rinse with water.
  • Scrub the area with baking soda and a sponge, then rinse with water.
  • If you still have a stain, try a solution of one part bleach to one part water, being sure to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands.
  • As a last resort, try a 5 percent solution of oxalic acid or a 10 percent solution of hydrochloric acid. Ask for either one at your hardware store or home center. Dab the solution on with a rag for just a couple of seconds, then rinse thoroughly. Wear rubber gloves, a mask, and safety glasses when working with those solutions.

    How to Repair Your Cast-Iron Bathtub

    Most bathtubs today are made of fiberglass or acrylic. But if you have an older home, your tub may be made of cast iron.

    Description

    When the protective coating on cast-iron bathtubs flakes or chips away, you run the risk of the base material rusting beyond repair. Fixing these areas with porcelain paint nominally improves the look of the tub and prevents further rusting.

    Tools and Materials

    • Lint-free rag
    • Non-abrasive powdered cleanser, like Bon Ami
    • Porcelain paint, suitable for cast iron

    How to Do It

    1. Remove any flaking or damaged paint from the chipped area.
    2. Clean the chipped area with the rag and cleanser, then rinse thoroughly.
    3. Apply a small amount of touch-up paint and allow to dry and cure completely, per the package directions.
    4. If a great deal of paint needs to be removed, use a new straight razor blade with the blade held at nearly flat against the surface. Using at least 600-grit wet-dry sandpaper, wet the sandpaper and gently buff to smooth out any imperfections.