Pros and Cons of Bathtub Refinishing

Pink tub depicting bathtub refinishing

Many homeowners have faced it: a great house at the right price, but the bathroom is straight from the 1970s.

Why did people choose harvest gold, forest green, or  pink tubs and toilets back then? Maybe it was hip and exotic at the time, however, you probably wish they had opted for classic white.

If you are not in the market for a whole new bathroom, but you want to get rid of those ugly, dated colors, what do you do about the tub?

Toilets are relatively inexpensive and easy to replace. However, bathtubs or tub and shower surrounds are another problem.

You could replace it with a cheap fiberglass shower – maybe you’ve been eyeing a $300 model at Menard’s – but how do you get the old one out?

You would have to demolish the tile, remove trim, and find a way to fit the old beast through the door. In case you are wondering, this can get very expensive. That’s if you don’t have to replace or change the plumbing!

Bathtub Refinishing Benefits

There is a fast, easy, and inexpensive solution: bathtub refinishing or reglazing.

Most companies that specialize in this service can also refinish sinks and tiles. If you’re looking for a clean, new look for a dated bathroom, under $1,000, this could be your ticket.

For a standard porcelain or fiberglass tub, reglazing starts around $300. For a tub and shower surround, it might bump up to $450. However, you should call several companies to get a quote.

Not only can these companies reglaze a tub, sink or tile, but they can also completely change your backsplash, and countertops – even if they are Formica.

It takes less than a day’s preparation to tape off and seal the area, sanding, repairing imperfections, priming and applying the oil-based coating.

Drying and setting time lasts about 48 hours from the time they are finished painting.

Best of all, the new layer can last up to 15 years before needing to be replaced, if treated correctly.

Reglazing Drawbacks

Most of the time, when you hire a professional reglazing company, your surface will look completely new and be softer and smoother than before.

Sometimes, if it’s applied incorrectly, the new coating can have one of several problems:

  • Bubbles
  • Rough texture
  • Fading
  • Sticky feeling

If your tub has a sticky feeling after the required drying time has passed, don’t use it and call the company back right away. It means the chemicals have not set correctly and may need to be refinished.

The other problems can occur when misapplied and can be fixed by starting the process over again.

It goes without saying that you should:

  • Ask about warranties or guarantees they offer.
  • Find out how experienced they are, and whether they have references.
  • Get a written estimate to make sure there aren’t surprise fees at the end of the job.

Another drawback is that the refinishing product smells very strong and can linger for a bit. Most professional companies will bring a ventilation system to help dissipate the smell more quickly, and you can keep the door shut and the window open while the finish is drying.

One other drawback is that you must use a non-abrasive cleaner on the finish or risk scratching and slowly ruining it. One scratch can eventually degrade the entire finish.

DIY Bathtub Refinishing?

There is nothing worse than beginning a remodeling project and messing it up so badly that your space was worse than before you started.

Now, you have your own mistakes to stare at every day instead of just an ugly color. Most home improvement stores sell bathtub and tile refinishing paint in an inexpensive kit that you can use yourself. This project is not for the faint of heart or the inexperienced.

  • The paint is difficult to use correctly.
  • It’s almost impossible to fix a mistake, and very easy to make mistakes without a lot of practice.
  • You have to apply an entire coat and recoat in the same space of time until the tub is covered – no waiting until next weekend to apply a second coat!
  • The DIY kits are made with water-soluble material rather than oil-based, so the finish won’t last as long.

Bringing it Home

Many homeowners aren’t familiar with the possibility of tub reglazing. It’s an inexpensive and quick way to transform your bathroom or kitchen.

If you hire a professional, reputable company, you can get the job done in two days.

What do you think? Are you dreaming of getting that new bathroom you’ve been wanting?

If you live in Southeast Michigan and have questions about bathroom remodeling, please give us a call. We’re here whenever you need us!

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