If you have an old iron bathtub in your home, you may be considering removing the tub and replacing it with a new fiberglass one. However, iron tubs are very heavy, and for this reason, they can be really tough to remove. A good alternative to consider is refinishing the tub. Iron tubs last virtually forever, and a bathtub refinishing job will make the tub look as good as new. Here are the steps to follow if you want to refinish the tub yourself.

1. Scrape and Clean the Tub

Start by removing all caulk. Any lingering caulk will stop the finish from sticking to the tub in that area, resulting in "blank" spots. You can use a razor blade or scraper to remove any stuck-on caulk. Then, pour some heavy-duty scouring scrub into the tub, and use a pad of steel wool to scrub the tub with this cleaner. Do not worry if you take off some of the finish in doing so—you'll be painting right over it. Your goal here is to roughen up the surface so that the new finish sticks well. When you're done, wipe the entire tub down with a damp cloth to remove the cleaner.

2. Let it Dry

This step is pretty hands-off! Let the tub sit for a day to ensure it is completely dry. If you see any lingering cleaner, wipe it up.

3. Apply the New Paint

Visit your local hardware store and look for an oil-based enamel paint designed for use on iron. You will want some shade of white or cream depending on the decor in your bathroom. 

Tape off the area around the tub so you don't accidentally get paint on the walls or floor. Make sure the exhaust fan is on to get rid of fumes from the enamel paint. Then, dip a sponge brush in the paint and start applying a thin layer of paint to the tub. Start along the vertical edges, being careful not to let the paint drip. Work your way down to the bottom of the tub.

This first layer of paint may not be completely opaque. That's okay. Let it dry for a day, and then apply a second layer in the same manner. This final layer should look completely solid.

That's all there is to it! Let the second layer dry, peel off the tape, and enjoy your newly finished iron tub.