Design & Video: How to re-enamel a cast iron bath

One of the projects I’ve been working on just recently is a large semi in West Didsbury built in 1946 where the builders and owner required some design advice for the kitchen and bathroom. The owner is lucky enough to still have the original cast iron bath in situ in the bathroom, although it was in a very sorry state and in desperate need of some TLA – tender loving acid!

Cast iron bath with original bottle taps

You can see the staining above which can naturally accumulate over the years, the damage to the area around the plug area and also the original ‘bottle’ taps which were dripping and damaged. The budget did not stretch to restoring the original taps so I sourced some more of the same style as new taps do not fit to the walls of modern baths in the way above. The problem with that was that the new bottle taps would not then match the somewhat more contemporary basin and taps specified by the client, so I had the old taps removed and asked the enameller to fill in the holes remaining so we could instead fit a wall mounted mixer tap, see below.

Taps and all metal work removed

For re-enamelling to take place, the bath must be in place, with tiling etc done as below. We had a bit of a mishap on Day 1 as the Dave the enameller was poorly, then Day 2 as there wasn’t enough enamel, but Day 3 got underway with a bit of sanding:

The old stains are sanded away

A bit of a chat with Dave i.e. priming him for his debut as he primed the bath :-)…..

Video, what video?! said Dave apprehensively

I am REALLY sorry for my poor interviewing technique in this little video but I was in a real rush and we only had one shot at it!! We had a giggle and I learnt things I didn’t know about the process, plus Dave was a knowledgeable person to talk to – if anyone knows whether Tom Cruise needs a bath enamelling, let us know 😉

I then buggared off to Ikea with the client to buy the kitchen and Dave got on with masking up the bathroom and the re-enamelling. I was a bit gutted that the Ikea marathon session lasted 6 hours and I missed seeing any of the spraying, but WOW it looked like a different bath by the time we got back at 8pm. It took Dave around 3hrs to prep and spray and it MUST be left for 48hrs to cure and dry before it’s used. Another important tip he gave was not to use a plastic bath mat or shower curtain as the wet plastic can cause a weird (my word not his!) chemical reaction with the bath and spoil the surface.

Some afters for you:

Re-enamelled bath still masked up
All it needs now is a shower curtain - NOT plastic!

5 thoughts on “Design & Video: How to re-enamel a cast iron bath

Add yours

  1. Hi Sian,

    Love this bath! If you are decorating a big house from this pre-war period, I have just been given a book called ‘American Modern’ by Thomas O’Brien which is BRILLIANT for design ideas. Very opulent and elegant interiors so no good for small spaces, but I never see pre-war 20th century property in design books so might be a real find for you.

    Loved my ma’s manky lights upcycled in Rose Cottage too

    1. I’ll check it out, sounds a lovely find.
      Upcycled, I love it! They look so good painted black in the new setting and Hannah adores them. So chuffed to be able to give them a new home 🙂

  2. Hi there I am looking to re enamel my bath as its is feeling very rough and chalky and the texture isn’t good anymore. Is there any way you could put me in touch with the man who did this bath? As could really do with someone doing it for me! Thanks so much – Emma

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