When your bathtub has seen better days, your first thought may be to replace it but after seeing the costs involved, you may want a less expensive option. Whether you’re short on time or funds, refinishing your old bathtub is a great alternative option to a full replacement. Learn more about the process of refinishing a tub and why it’s a good idea to hire a pro for this particular project.
Why Do Bathtubs Crack?
With age and various factors, your bathtub will naturally develop cracks over time. For example, repeatedly dropping heavy items like big shampoo bottles or kids smashing bath toys on the surface of the tub can lead to stress and hairline cracks. While you can try to avoid damaging your tub, eventually it may form a crack.
What to Do About Bathtub Cracks?
Bathtub cracks are not only unattractive to look at but they can actually weaken the structure of your tub. If numerous cracks are left for long enough, they can weaken your tub so much that it may crack in half! Before it gets to this point, you have a few options. First of all, you can try to keep on top of the cracks and fix them as you notice them. For this project, you can hire a handyman for each crack, but the costs may add up over time to the point where you could afford a more permanent solution. This is where services like bathtub recoating, bathtub relining or refinishing can make a real difference.
What is Bathtub Refinishing?
Bathtub refinishing, which can also be known as resurfacing or reglazing, takes your scratched tub and restores its condition. Think of refinishing as similar to repainting a bathtub, only instead of using paint, a hard epoxy coating is used. The process to refinish an old bathtub is time-consuming and tedious, which is why most homeowners opt to hire a professional.
Steps to Refinish a Bathtub
To perfectly refinish your old tub, you should invest in hiring a professional. While some websites will try to talk you through a DIY process, at the end of the day it’s always easier to hire a professional. While going through the hiring process, it’s always beneficial to be able to understand the project about to take place. Here are the high-level steps involved in refinishing a bathtub.
1. Bathtub Hardware is Removed
The pro will remove any hardware to begin your shower tub refinishing project. This includes things like cover plates, escutcheons and plumbing fixtures. The exposed openings will be cleaned of any dirt or residue.
2. Cleaning Begins
Next, the pro will thoroughly clean the tub to remove any caulking or residue from the surface. They may use an abrasive cleaner to help with mildew removal if necessary.
3. Cover the Workspace
The epoxy coating used to refinish your tub is difficult to remove from other surfaces. Therefore you want to ensure that your pro takes the time to properly cover the surrounding walls and floor. Drop cloths and painter’s tape should be used to aid in the protection of your other surfaces.
4. Fresh Air and Fans Needed
Refinishing a bathtub is a messy process that will release dust and fumes into the air that shouldn’t be inhaled. To ensure everyone’s safety, make sure you open some windows and turn on an exhaust fan if possible to help the workers breathe easily while they work.
5. Etching, Sanding and Coating
Once the space has been prepared, the real work begins. At this stage, your pro will closely look at each crack and begin working on it. This can include etching, essentially filling in the cracks, sanding the surface to make the etching powder smooth, and finally applying the bathtub coating repair material. This is a long and tedious process to ensure it is done right.
6. Let it Dry
It is very important to let the tub dry and cure once the work is done. Once fully dry, the next phase of the project can begin.
7. Time to Refinish
Once dry, the final topcoat of epoxy resin will be applied to the tub. This is where your tub will finally start looking new as the hard coating covers all the old cracks and chips. As the epoxy dries, you may need to wait anywhere from a few hours to a few days for the curing to complete.
8. Reinstall Hardware
After sealing the tub’s joints with new caulk and letting it sit overnight, your new tub just needs its old hardware back. Your pro will put the hardware back where it belongs. You can now use your beautifully refinished tub!
While refinishing your tub is the most cost-effective way to get a like-new look, there are some other projects you can take on to help refresh your bathroom. Consider adding a fresh coat of paint or new tiles. HomeStars has thousands of bathroom professionals that can help with your project. For example, if you’re looking for high-rated tiling experts, you can connect with pros like 5 Star Tiling Ltd who are both HomeStars Verified and recent winners of the Best of HomeStars Awards 2022! Whether you need just your tub updated, tiles and paint as well, or the whole bathroom is done, you can find a pro on HomeStars to make your bathroom look like-new again.