The bathtub refinishing process: what you can expect

bathtub refinishing process

Your old house came with an old bathtub and it served you well for many years but now the tub is looking its age. You’d still like to have the option of extra space for sudsing up your dirty kids or relaxing after a long day at the office. But with all of its cracks and stains and watermarks, your tub is the one that needs a good cleaning. In fact, you might think it will be easier just to replace the whole thing.

But wait, there’s another option that doesn’t involve messy destruction, removal of debris, and big job installing a new one. Flooring concerns and sealing everything up watertight is tedious and complex and it’s easy to make mistakes. There’s also the issue of ensuring the plumbing is done right, and that’s another lesson in frustration.

If you’re looking to update an old tub and boost the entire bathroom’s look, consider bathtub refinishing. You’ll have a shiny new place to get clean without the enormous mess of dismantling and removing what’s already there, and at far less cost.

Bathtub refinishing process defined

The process of bathtub refinishing requires hazardous chemicals, a respirator, and the know-how to do the job right. A dingy or stained tub, however, can return to its former glory with a whole new outfit. Cast-iron, fiberglass, and steel tubs and shower stalls are all viable candidates for refinishing and can be matched to the original finish or given an entirely new color and texture.

How does it work?

The first step is masking all surfaces surrounding the tub and ensuring the bathroom is extremely well ventilated. If a window is present, open it wide and it also helps to incorporate a fan to help remove noxious fumes.

A technician will strip the old finish and thoroughly sand the tub to a smooth, uniform surface. Any holes, chips, or cracks are repaired with special epoxy and rust stains removed. When that is complete, the tub is sprayed with hydrofluoric acid, a powerful chemical that dissolves anything in its path and etches the tub’s surface to ready it for the final step.

A primer is applied, followed my multiple layers of coating, and at least four applications of a finishing coat and a grand finale polish. The tub is usually ready for use in one to three days and its new finish should easily last 10-15 years.

DIY options

The ultimate decision is of course up to your end goal—What look do you want? How much room do you have? What is your budget? DIY-savvy homeowners might consider reglazing kits from their local home improvement store but those products don’t include the same important technology as the pros and the results are far less desirable. In fact, some “over the counter” refinishing products look painted on and blotchy. Prepare to spend $200-500 for professional tub refinishing. (Colors other than white generally command higher prices.)

For more information on bathtub maintenance, contact Maryland Tub & Tile at (877) 717-TUBS (8827) or marylandtubntile.com.

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