Acrylic has quickly become the go-to material for bathtub installation in homes with both a modern or a rustic design décor. The lightweight acrylic makes installation (especially upstairs) more manageable than the old favorite cast iron bathtubs. Acrylic is very soft so it can be manufactured into a wide variety of unique shapes. That softness often leads to the question of ‘how to remove micro scratches from my acrylic tub.’
Easily the biggest downside of an acrylic tub is the fact that it does have a tendency to pick up some imperfections. Contractors can damage the surface with one of their tools during installation or homeowners can cause a scratch just by scraping their jewelry in an irregular way. Even cleaning the tub with a harsh scouring pad can cause micro scratches – acrylic can be that sensitive.
The good news about scratches on an acrylic tub is that they won’t cause leaks and they won’t require time consuming uninstalling or hefty repairs. In fact, fixing the blemish is an easy DIY task that will get you back in the tub in no time.
About Acrylic Tubs
In order to understand why or how your tub has gotten scratched, it’s important to know a bit more about this bathroom staple. First off, acrylic tubs are made from vacuum-formed sheets of acrylic. The material provides a solid surface and the color of the sheet is the color of the tub.
Acrylic tubs are reinforced with fiberglass to give them durability. Fiberglass is brittle and porous when used on the tub surface, but is the perfect lightweight material to add stiffness behind an acrylic barrier.
Acrylic has become a very popular bathtub manufacturing material for a number of reasons. First off the smooth, continuous surface looks modern, but is also non-porous which means it retains heat and doesn’t absorb water.
Acrylic tubs are also maintenance-free and easy to install (lightweight). Ceramic tubs for example will need grout repair, cast iron bathtubs are going to be extremely heavy, stone is expensive, marble is heavy and expensive, porcelain chips and is slippery. Homeowners like how acrylic sits right in the middle of all these categories.
How to Remove Scratches From Acrylic Tubs
Something that should be noted is that most scratches can be removed from acrylic tubs. If an installer was cutting out ceramic tile and gouged the tub with his or her grinder then there may be some issues.
There are a couple products that are needed to try and fix a scratch in an acrylic tub – acrylic polish, and sandpaper. These are the tools of the trade regardless if the imperfection is deep or on the surface. Technically a sponge and warm water are also needed to clean the surface prior to, and after, sanding but those are readily available in most homes.
- If you just want to touch up your tub from the everyday scratches from rings, scouring pads, or pet paws, fine grit sandpaper is used.
- First clean the scratched area with warm water and dishwashing liquid making sure to avoid abrasive chemicals and cleaning pads.
- Dampen 800 grit sandpaper and lightly rub it in a circular pattern. Follow that up with dry 800 grit sandpaper applied in the same manner and alternate between wet and dry for 2-3 minutes.
- After three minutes, complete this task again but with 1200 grit sandpaper. Alternate between wet and dry sandpaper every 20-30 seconds for three minutes.
- Dry the sanded area with a clean cotton cloth and apply the acrylic polish.
- Acrylic polish is installed by pouring a tablespoon of the compound on a clean cloth. The polish is applied in a circular manner and repeated if necessary.
Recommended acrylic polish & cleaner: Rolite Acrylic Cleaner for Hot Tubs
Recommended grit paper: LANHU Abrasive Paper for Home (Assorted 600, 800, 1200)
- The process for removing deeper scratches from acrylic is the same, except that the sandpaper used is 600 grit and 800 grit.
- 1200 grit sandpaper is still used to create a smooth surface prior to applying the polish.
Removing Scratches From Acrylic Bathtub Summary
The positive thing about scratches on an acrylic bathtub is that they are mostly just cosmetic damage. Ordinary scratches will not cause water to come spilling out on to the bathroom floor and they won’t add to any significant heat loss.
You don’t want to let scratches go unattended too long however. Minor scratches will get worse if they are continually dinged up over time and likewise if you are preparing to sell a home, it’s best to have as many cosmetic repairs done as possible to every area of your property for maximum market value.
Acrylic tub repairs are inexpensive, not horribly time consuming, and don’t require an intense home improvement knowledge.