My Bathroom Makeover [Part 3]: Epoxy Enamel Shower Surround

Welcome to part 3 of my exciting bathroom update! Read part 1 here and part 2 here if you haven’t already.

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll earn a small commission from every sale made through my Amazon links. It costs nothing extra for you!*

So… here’s what we started with:


And here’s where we left off at the end of part 2:

Now, let’s get on with the next step.

First, I put some Delicate Surface Frog Tape around the ceiling and down the walls around where I wanted the epoxy to go. (I also discovered my bathroom fan is a light fixture shortly before I took this picture!) The Delicate Surface tape is awesome for recently painted surfaces! I was a little worried some of my black ceiling paint would flake off when I removed it but it was still flawless. It’s excellent. Seriously, you need some of this stuff if you plan to do any sort of painting in your house.

I used Klenk’s Epoxy Enamel from Home Hardware for this part of my project. It isn’t on Amazon, so I can’t share a direct link to buy it, but this is the link to the information page at SwingPaints.com! I also bought the Tub and Tile Prep Kit and Epoxy Thinner. I have also heard very good things about Rust-Oleum’s Tub and Tile Refinishing Kit, if you want to check that out. That was what I had originally planned on using, but I couldn’t find it in my small town (and somehow didn’t even think to check on Amazon!). I eventually found it at Canadian Tire where I live, but I’d already gotten the Klenk’s kit so I stuck with it.

The prep kit had 3 steps:

  1. Degloss
  2. Clean with TSP
  3. Clean with epoxy paint thinner

Each step took way longer than I wanted it to, but I didn’t want to skip anything and risk ruining the finish. I also knew there would be a strong chemical smell, so I set up a fan in the doorway and got a respirator mask (link shared later in this post). The materials for deglossing and TSP were included in the prep kit. The epoxy paint thinner was sold separately.

Essentially, the deglossing step was a gritty mud that I rubbed on the walls with an abrasive sponge. Next, I dissolved TSP powder in water and scrubbed the walls with it. Then came the epoxy paint thinner. I was glad I had a mask to help breathe because that stuff was strong. Between each step, I wiped the walls down as well as I could with clean water. I wiped it down three times between each step to make sure I got as much residue off as possible. After the last step, I left the epoxy paint thinner to dry overnight.

Then came the fun part – painting! I use the term “fun” loosely here – actually painting with the epoxy was a pain, but covering that green tile was a dream come true!

Goodbye green….

First, I had to mix both parts of the epoxy enamel together and let it sit for one hour. Then I poured a little bit into a paint tray and got to work. I used a high density foam roller to apply the enamel to the walls. Epoxy is pretty hard on painting tools and I wanted a smooth finish, so a regular paint roller wasn’t really an option.

I also removed the tape while the epoxy was still wet, so I would have nice, crisp lines. I’m fairly certain it would be basically permanently bonded to the wall if I had let it dry.

Pro tip: do not use cheap, sponge rollers!!!! I used them for my first coat and ended up having to pick tiny bits of lint out of the epoxy with tweezers. Spend the extra few dollars to get a multi-pack of high density foam roller covers. You will need more than one, because they will get ruined and they will start shedding little pieces after a bit of painting. I used 3 roller covers per coat.

Another pro tip: wear a respirator!! This stuff smells awful. You’ll also need to get some filters.

Here’s how it looked after the first coat:

Looks much cleaner, doesn’t it?

Epoxy enamel is very thin – it’s basically like painting with water. Because it’s so watery, it’s a bit of a challenge to avoid drips. The streaks are pretty much unavoidable too, at least for the first coat. After that, it starts to even out quite a bit.

I left it to dry for a few hours with the bathroom ceiling fan and an extra fan in the doorway running to help the air circulate better. The whole house smelled like a chemical reaction.

Then I put new tape up along the edges (this time I used thick Frog Tape, because I found it was too hard to avoid getting epoxy on the other side, where I didn’t want it. Epoxy enamel is drippy, so you have to work fast!) and around the ceiling again. I used two strips on each wall and one around the ceiling. I also completely covered the faucet and knobs with tape, just to be safe.

I sanded lightly with an extra fine sanding sponge to make sure the surface was smooth. Then I wiped it off with a dry cloth and painted on another coat.

Two coats took one full epoxy enamel kit. I was expecting to need more than one, so I wasn’t too surprised. It was still a little streaky after two coats, but definitely better than after the first!

I pulled the tape off while it was wet again, and loved how sharp the line was between the two paint sheens. The line around the ceiling wasn’t as sharp, which was a little disappointing, but I can easily paint over it when I finish the big important things.

Check out this sharp line:

It looks so much brighter and cleaner in here!!!! I can’t wait to get another coat on there. I’m absolutely in love with the contrast between the black ceiling and the white walls.

Everything is finally coming together and I can’t wait to see the finished product.

Progress of the right-hand corner so far!:

Products mentioned in this post – these are affiliate links:

Have you ever used an epoxy enamel kit? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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