I have a bathroom sink in my old house that looks authentic for the time period, but is very old and chipped.

I thought this might be a good way to give it a new lease on life: Patch up the chips with Automotive filler (aka bondo or bog) and then spray the whole thing over with spray on enamel.

I just wanted to ask peoples advice here: is this a feasible idea? Or not a good thing to do?

  • Enamel paint is not durable enough to be considered a proper repair. However, this is probably the least abused plumbing fixture, the repair could last for some time and reapplying paint as needed is relatively easy. As long as this is your own sink and you're not selling it off to someone as properly refurbished I say go ahead and try it. – bcworkz Nov 29 '13 at 21:07
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    There are sink/tub resurfacing products (usually epoxies) that are designed for this and will probably perform significantly better than enamel. – Shimon Rura Nov 30 '13 at 16:20
  • NO NO NO. You can't match the color, you can't hide the seam, and the paint will not adhere well enough. Buy a new sink. – getterdun Dec 1 '13 at 11:24

Porcelain enamel (true enamel is glass bonded to metal in a kiln) sinks have an iron core.

If it's chipped to the dark glass, there are epoxy patch kits that can be color matched by mixing the supplied pigment or that have pre-mixed pigment in the epoxy. Apply after thoroughly cleaning the damaged area with alcohol to remove any oils.

Don't expect it to be visually perfect.

If it's chipped to the iron and you have rust, forget it as a DIY and send it out to a porcelain enamel restoration expert.

Body filler is porous to water, etc. Automotive enamel is a crosslinked polymer that doesn't have the hardness necessary to withstand the abuse unless it's properly baked.

Also, there are newer tub repair services out there that work on porcelain enameled thin sheet metal tubs and showers. They use an acid etch to roughen the enamel surface and an epoxy based paint to apply a new surface to the tub. You might see if a dealership for this is operational in your town.


If the "time period" aspect is important enough, there are places where you can send your sink for a proper repair/refinish (if it's possible - hard to say for certain without knowing more about it) - they will advertise more (if at all) for the cast-iron tub trade. It will cost more than a new sink, most of the time.

A DIY filler/paint job has odds of performing over the long term so close to zero that I'm willing to say "it won't work" and be done with it.

You can probably find a new "reproduction" sink that will also look right for the time period, if you shop around enough. You may also be able to find an old one in good shape through an architectural salvage firm.

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