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How NOT to paint your shower door frame

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

If you're just tuning it - welcome to my bathroom. I am currently trying to update it on a major budget. Eventually we will probably do a full gut and remodel - but this is what we are doing for now. If you want to catch up:

Okay so I have a very basic shower door frame. It's metal. A brushed nickel type finish, but since I'm going to be painting my shower tile - I thought it would be a good idea to paint it black and really modernize it!

The first thing I did was clean the shower door. This took a long time - I really wanted to make sure it was clean so the paint would stick. I don't think paint sticks very well to soap scum. I used vinegar and dish soap and scrubbed it really good. I ended up using some CLR for the really tough soap scum and rust.

Next was taping everything off. This took a long time - but you really want to make sure your glass is taped off well. I used paper bags to cover my glass doors. I removed the handles so I could paint them separately. I used plastic sheeting for the floor and covered the walls with more plastic tarp. I wish I would have used paper on the floor - the plastic got sticky when you're walking on it (even with socks on!) and so it shifted and I was constantly trying to make sure it was still covering the floor.

I basically created a little cave so I wouldn't get spray dust everywhere else in my bathroom. It worked pretty well. I did get some mild overspray on the walls right next to the shower - but I'll just touch that up. There was also some fine dust on all the surfaces in the bathroom that I had to clean - so if you're really worried just cover everything. Even if you cover everything, you'll probably still end up cleaning anyways.

I also covered the inside of the shower walls with tarp!

Okay. So here's where things went wrong. I went in to do my primer coat - and I noticed some areas the primer wasn't sticking very well. I decided to just go ahead and coat it with the black - but the paint was also not sticking to those areas. There were little fish eye dots everywhere!

I didn't get a super great pic of this - but trust me it was bad.

My idea to fix this was to sand down those spots - and then prime and spray paint on them to help blend it all together. I was hoping this would make it so those spots would disappear.

You can see above where I put primer over the spotted areas.

After fixing those spots - it was time to spray black again. So I did that - and then I ran into an even bigger issue.

The paint started to bubble. It was really bad, and it was everywhere I touched up areas. I tried a couple more spots and the same thing happened. I didn't know how to fix it other than sanding it again. So I did, and then I did another test spot and the SAME THING HAPPENED. IT was so frustrating, but I figured out the reason it was happening. I read the back of the spray paint can, and you need to recoat within 1 hour, or wait a full 48 hours. If you don't wait, bubbling on the first layer can happen. Which clearly that's what happened to me.

So to fix this - I could wait 2 days or I could do something else. I decided to do something else. I still had my sister's heat gun from when I did my epoxy counters - and so I used that and scraped all of the paint off of the shower frame. Then I was able to redo it without any bubbling.

This time - I opted for a binding primer as well. To really make sure my paint would stick and I wouldn't end up with any fish eyes.

Finally - a nice even coat of paint on my metal shower door frame!

Here is what they like like after I installed the handles again. They look like brand new doors!! I'm getting excited to paint the shower tile. That's up next. So stay tuned!

Here's what I would do differently next time - and what you should do to avoid my mistakes!

- I would sand the shower doors with a 220 grit sandpaper - to really make sure that everything is off of the door frame and the paint will adhere

- Definitely use a bonding primer - here's the one I used the second time around

- Use a flat black paint made for metal - and read the directions on the back of the can and stick to them


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2 комментария

21 июл. 2023 г.

Have you had issues with it peeling early?

24 янв.
Ответ пользователю

I haven't had any issues with it peeling!

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