Repair the sink and bathtub yourself. How it works

Plumbing Tips
Anna Urban

With this simple methods you can eliminate quirks in tubs and washbasins.

Scratches and quirks in the bathtub and washbasin happened quickly. The defective areas are not only an optical problem. If small holes are not repaired immediately, they become more and more damaged over time. Do-it-yourselfers can also easily carry out simpler repairs themselves.

“One may not ignore such damage , says Jens Wischmann, managing director of the combination German sanitary industry. “Because even the smallest places can become fast larger and eat themselves deeply into the material. Then a repair may become impossible, and the tub must be replaced.

Differentiating between different materials

So if the perfume bottle or the bottle with the aftershave has fallen off and small parts of the coating has chipped off, don’t hesitate to reach for the repair kit. “However, you have to know what kind of sanitary ceramics you want to treat,” explains Wischmann. Ceramics, enamel and acrylic are usually used in the sanitary sector.

Bathtubs and shower trays are usually made of steel enamel or acrylic. Washbasins, sinks and toilet bowls are usually made of ceramic. These materials have different sensitivities and have to be treated differently. What they all have in common, however, is that sharp and corrosive cleaning agents must be avoided as much as possible. “They really sand the surface,” explains Wischmann. “This is difficult or impossible to repair.”

With enamel, a touch-up pencil is often sufficient

Enamel bathtubs have a layer of blue ceramic under the white top layer. If only the top layer has been damaged, a touch-up pen may be sufficient to repair the area. “If the underlying layer is also damaged, the hole must be closed particularly quickly,” explains Michael Pommer, trainer at the DIY Academy. “Because underneath the blue ceramic there is steel-containing material that rust quickly, which increases the volume of the damaged area.

Repair kits work well

In the DIY store there are repair sets with sandpaper, a putty and special varnish for the surface treatment of ceramics, enamel and acrylic. “They work well,” explains Pommer. “Two to four millimeter deep holes and scratches can be repaired with it. Laymen should not try their hand at larger and deeper damages. “Anyway, you have to remember that the tub doesn’t look like new after the treatment.”

For repairs, the area must be clean, dry and free of grease. Rust must be removed carefully and completely. The hole or scratch should be cleaned. Whether the area to be treated has to be sanded beforehand varies with the products on offer.

The putty is spread well on the damaged area. No air bubbles must form. After about half an hour the putty slowly hardens. Until then you should be finished with the work. Finally, seal the surface with the special lacquer. It takes a few days until everything is completely cured and you can use the tub or sink again.

Pay attention to special varnishes when repairing

If you don’t want to use a repair set, but rather assemble the individual components yourself, you should pay particular attention to the right paint. “The surfaces of wash basins, bathtubs and toilet bowls in particular are subjected to heavy loads from water and chemicals,” says Michael Bross, Managing Director of the German Paint Institute. If an unsuitable paint is used there to repair minor damage, it won’t last long.

“Customers should use only high-quality special products and make sure when buying that the paints are specially designated for the repair of bathtubs, toilets and washbasins,” advises Bross. “This must be specially marked on the packaging.” Tiles can also be painted over with products specially cut for them. If you work carefully, it looks good and lasts a long time.

Repairing acrylic damage with erasers

Sanitary facilities made of acrylic are usually cheaper than those made of ceramic or enamel and are not so susceptible. But of course they are also damaged if the mechanical effect is too great. “Here the repair of small damages is easier than with enamel,” says Michael Pommer. The do-it-yourselfer grinds off the one to three millimeter thick acrylic layer and rebuilds the surface with a gel. He then polishes it smooth. “For small superficial scratches, you can also work with a special eraser,” explains Pommer. The frictional heat generated during erasing melts the plastic on the surface. This allows small recesses to be polished out.

Wax repairs splinters in tiles

On heavily used tiles on walls and floors, the glaze splinters again and again, the material cracks or scratches form. This can be overcome with wax. With the help of fusible pens, it can be heated so that it fits well into the cracks and holes. However, this procedure must always be repeated.

Silicone joints can also be easily renewed by the patient.

“It is very important to regularly inspect the silicone joints in the bathroom and kitchen,” emphasises Michael Pommer. They connect the sanitary furniture to the wall or floor in a watertight manner. If small cracks form there, the do-it-yourselfer must cut out and replace immediately the piece concerned. “Otherwise humidity can accumulate behind tub and basin, which leads to larger damage , says the do-it-yourself expert. “At the latest every five years all silicone joints must be exchanged.

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