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A DIY Guide to Spray Painting Bathroom Fixtures

Spray painting bathroom fixtures can be an easy and quick way to spruce them up and give the room a new look. If done correctly, the paint job can last years and look like a factory finish. The key is to do the proper preparation work and ensure that you use paint that is right for your material.

We are going to break down the tools, preparation, and steps to spray paint your bathroom fixtures. This project shouldn’t take more than a day if you are doing multiple coats of paint, and you can do multiple fixtures at once in phases so that you are always working and not waiting for the paint to dry.

Bathroom sink with bronze faucet and black metal legs.  Spray painting bathroom fixtures

Preparing Your Fixtures and Collecting Your Tools

Determine the Material

Your first step in spray painting bathroom fixtures is to figure out what the fixtures are actually made of. Most of the time, they are metal, but there are also ones that are a combination of metal and plastic and fully plastic.

The reason for identifying the material is to know what kind of paint to get. There is spray paint formulated specifically for metal and paint for plastic. If your fixtures are a combination of both, your best bet is to use metal spray paint.

Tools and Supplies

You will need very few tools and supplies to spray paint your bathroom fixtures. The below list is everything you will need to take the project from start to finish, other than some household tools for removing the fixtures. The exact type of tool will depend on your fixture so make sure to check how it is attached. Also, make sure you buy a spray paint that works for your material, as noted above.

Remove and Tape the Fixtures

The first step in spray painting bathroom fixtures is to remove them. This should be done after turning the water supply off.

Once you have the water shut off to the fixture, use a screwdriver or Allen key to remove them from their mounting plate or inline pipe.

Be careful when removing the existing fixtures, as they can scratch easily if you slip with your tool. These scratches can show through in a new paint job if they are deep enough.

Also, make sure to note the way it was attached and the direction it was oriented. You will have to do this process in reverse to reattach them when you’re done painting.

Once removed, take out any removable plastic washers or set nuts that could get in the way of your painting – you don’t want to get paint on these parts as they won’t seal if you do. With those items removed, you are ready to start taping.

You will want to take your painter’s tape and tape over any openings (such as the bottom of a water control or the spout of a faucet).

Black bathroom faucet

This is key, as getting paint into these areas can negatively impact the functionality of the fixture. Take your time when taping; it is a key prep item for spray painting bathroom fixtures.

A good way to get a nearly perfect tape edge is to apply your painter’s tape and then cut it with a razor blade right against the fixture’s base.

This allows you to get a very close cut that will help prevent the tape from getting in the way of where you want to paint. When you do this, be careful not to gouge the fixture with the razor blade or cut your hand.

Sand the Fixtures

Now that the taping is done, you are ready to move on to sanding. This is a key step in spray painting your bathroom fixtures and should be done carefully.

Using light pressure, take 180 grit sandpaper and rub the fixture down to remove the base of the current finish. If you find that it is coming off extremely easily, you may want to use a less abrasive sandpaper such as 240.

The idea of sanding is to remove the old material and create small scratches that help the paint adhere better. Once you have removed the old material (if it is removable, some metal fixtures are plated), use the 320-grit sandpaper to ensure everything is even.

The 320-grit paper will give it a smoother feel and help remove any remaining material. After you’re satisfied with the sanding, thoroughly clean the fixture off using water or a non-abrasive cleaner.

This is very important as you do not want any dust from sanding or other foreign objects on the fixture before painting. If you use a cleaner, make sure to rinse it afterward.

Hang Your Fixtures to Paint

Now that your fixtures are sanded down, you have one more step in preparing to spray paint your bathroom fixtures.

Using your bungee cords or string you want to hang your fixtures so you have 360-degree access when painting. Bungee cords work especially well because they have hooks on the end, meaning you don’t have to tie string around them.

If you have to poke a hole in your tape and put the hook through that, it should be fine as long as you make a small hole.

Make sure you hang the fixtures in a well-ventilated area that is free of debris, dust, wind, etc. You don’t want something landing on your newly spray-painted bathroom fixture and ruining the paint job.

The area should also be within the correct operating temperature that is listed on the spray paint and not too humid.

Spray Paint the Fixture

When spray painting bathroom fixtures, the good news is that you likely won’t need a primer if you have done the correct prep work and bought paint specifically for your material.

Once your fixtures are hanging, put on a respirator to protect your lungs and get ready to actually paint. Shake the spray paint to mix it, generally for one minute, and spray in short, even passes.

Don’t hold down the sprayer and glob on the paint – it will get drips and look poor. Even if your first coat doesn’t cover fully, the project will turn out fine – you will be doing three coats.

Bathroom sink with white faucet and soap dispenser

When spray painting bathroom fixtures, you want to ensure you get the full fixture on each coat, so walk around it as you paint. Short, even bursts and reshaking the can every few minutes is the best way to ensure the paint goes on evenly.

Once you have finished the first coat of spray paint on your bathroom fixtures, you will want to wait for it to dry to the touch before applying more paint. This usually takes 10 minutes. If you’re doing multiple fixtures, this is a good time to do prep work on your others.

You can start your second coat when the paint is dry to the touch. Again, nice even passes and shaking the can every few minutes will ensure a good coat.

After the second coat is dry to the touch, you can lightly rub it with steel wool to create minor abrasions for your last coat to stick to.

After you finish your last coat, let it dry for a few hours. After a few hours, remove the tape and ensure you haven’t missed any spots. If all looks good, you’re done spray painting your fixtures and ready to install.

Now, you’re onto the last step, reinstalling the fixtures. Remember to put any rubber washers back into the fixtures and carefully reinstall them. Congratulations, you have finished spray painting your bathroom fixtures!

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if there are rust spots on my fixtures

Use a wire brush to remove the surface rust if it cannot be sanded off, any deeper rust should be repaired. If you have rust, use a primer before painting to help prevent the spread.

What should I do if my paint dries with drips or debris?

You can spot sand with 320-grit sandpaper to remove the drip or debris, and do another coat across the entire fixture so that it is even.

Bronze bathtub fixtures

Spray Painting your Bathroom Fixtures

Spray painting your bathroom fixtures is a great way to breathe new life into them without shelling out for an all-new bathroom set. The key to a successful project is to ensure you do the prep work correctly and take your time, as this will yield the best result.

The painting is the step in the process that will take the least amount of time, so dedicate your time to the actual preparation work. If you follow these steps, you will love the outcome!

For more great painting ideas, check out DIY Painting Tips!