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Porcelain and fiberglass surfaces in your bathroom can dull, discolor, or get damaged from daily use. Gaps can appear where the tub joins the wall. Before you replace a damaged fixture, consider giving it a face-lift with some bleach, touch up paint, glue, or caulk.
Most bathroom fixtures can be professionally refinished. These repairs can extend the life of an aging fixture, postponing an expensive replacement. An effective treatment for discolorations and rust stains is a liquid chlorine bleach solution. Commercial products are available to remove mineral deposits. Polish with a mixture of cream of tartar and peroxide to improve the appearance of an enameled fixture in your bathroom.
To remove rust stains from porcelain or fiberglass fixtures in your bathroom, try rubbing the stain with a cut lemon, or try applying lemon juice. If the fixture is badly stained, use a 5 percent solution of oxalic acid or a 10 percent solution of hydrochloric acid. Apply the acid solution with a cloth and leave it on only a second or two; then rinse it off thoroughly. Be sure to protect your skin and eyes by wearing rubber or plastic gloves and protective goggles.
You can cover a small scratched or chipped area of porcelain or fiberglass by building up thin coats of enamel paint or epoxy paint, available in touch-up kits in many colors to match the color of your fixture. Before applying the paint, clean the surface of the damaged area with alcohol. Check that the area is clean, dry, and dust free. Using a small brush, apply several coats of touch-up paint, blending it toward the edges of the scratch or chip. Allow the paint to dry for an hour between coats. Keep the touched-up area dry for 24 hours. Don't expect perfection. You may be able to see where the touch-up was done once the paint dries.If the corner or edge of a porcelain or fiberglass bathroom fixture has broken off and you have the chip, you can glue it back in place with epoxy resin. Again, be sure the surfaces are entirely clean and dry. Follow the directions on the label and coat both surfaces with adhesive and press the pieces together firmly. Then, use masking tape to secure the repair for at least an hour. Keep the area dry overnight.
A common bathroom repair is sealing cracks where the bathtub and the wall meet around the top lip. It's a chore you'll have to repeat every year or so because the weight of the tub changes as it's filled and emptied again and again. The simplest way to seal the troublesome joint is with flexible waterproof caulking compound, sometimes called plastic tub and tile sealer. The sealer comes in a tube. Before applying the sealer, scrape away the old caulking. Clean and dry the area thoroughly to ensure a good seal. Start by taping off the wall and the tub surface leaving a 3/8 inch space between the two tape edges all the way around the tub where it meets the wall. Holding the tube at a 45 degree angle, slowly squeeze the sealer into the joint, using a steady, continuous motion. If you can do each side of the tub without stopping, the line of caulking will be smoother and neater. Then use your finger by wetting it and then smooth the sealer and remove the excess as needed. Once its smooth and even with the tape edges, remove all the tape and let dry. Wait at least 24 hours before using the bathtub.
If you find that caulking won't last in the bathtub wall joint, you can apply quarter round ceramic edging tiles. Available in kits, the tiles are installed around the rim of the tub, using the caulking compound just described as an adhesive. Be sure to scrape away old caulking and clean and dry the area before you begin. Also check to see if the flooring under the tub is solid and not starting to rot out. If so you will need to repair as needed or consult a professional. If it is bad enough you will have to remove the tub and replace the flooring and or floor joist as needed. Then the tub is reinstalled.
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