If you have an older bathtub that’s seen better days or your bathroom just needs some TLC, bathtub refinishing is something to consider.
This method of restoring an aging tub can extend its life and have your bathroom looking new once again.
What Is Bathtub Refinishing?
Bathtub refinishing is also known as reglazing, or resurfacing. Coatings suitable for bathtub reglazing include:
- Hybrid polyester-polyurethane
You can use these materials on several surfaces, including acrylic, ceramic, porcelain, and fiberglass bathtubs. Some refinishing products may last longer than others, as with professional-grade finishers and DIY kits.
A typical package purchased at a hardware store may not last as long as one that comes from a professional contractor. Resurfacing a bathtub can be a DIY job, or you can hire a professional contractor to complete it for you (we suggest the latter).
Any scratches, chips, or imperfections are corrected during this procedure using high-quality materials like putty or Bondo.
Once the reglazing process is complete and dry, caulking will need to be completed around the edges of the bathtub to seal the area and keep your bathroom free from mold and mildew.
Why Choose Bathtub Refinishing?
If you have a cosmetic problem with your tub, there are several ways to remedy this situation. While some homeowners will opt for a complete tub replacement, other methods include a tub liner or bathtub refinishing.
There are several reasons why bathtub refinishing can be the best choice for your home project. Some reasons for a homeowner to choose this method include:
- Overall cost
- Less downtime
- Perfect for DIYers
- Prolongs the life of your bathtub
- Preserve the original style
For homeowners with an older tub or one showing any signs of damage, replacing the entire bathtub can be costly and time-consuming.
Although most bathtubs themselves may not be pricey, if you hire a contractor to come in to remove the old tub, install a replacement, and handle all of the small details of tiling and plumbing, the job costs can be immense.
Professional contractors will typically charge by the hour. The more time they spend in your bathroom with a tub replacement will increase your overall costs.
Depending on the style of your bathroom, you may need tile and grout work after the tub is in or pay to have someone take away and dispose of all of the construction materials.
When comparing this tremendous job to a simple reglazing, the overall costs can be minimal. However, you can expect between $350 to upwards of $600 or more for a bathtub refinishing. This amount makes this method a more economical choice for many homeowners.
Thankfully, bathtub refinishing can provide you the same new look without the hassle of replacing the entire tub. Not only is refinishing less expensive, but it also takes less time and will have you back to enjoying your bathroom sooner than a full renovation.
A complete reglazing can take anywhere from three to four and a half hours to finish the application before letting it dry.
Spending less time refinishing your bathtub means that your bathroom will be out of commission for fewer days than the alternative method of replacing the entire thing. Having the use of your bathtub sooner can be a big positive for renovations, especially if you have a large family.
Keeping discarded items out of the landfill is essential to help minimize our carbon footprint. For example, if you have an old bathtub with damage, you don’t have to remove it and throw it away.
Instead, it’s more eco-friendly to use reglazing methods and keep your bathtub in your home and out of the landfill.
Although some of the materials used for refinishing can emit fumes while drying, there is no harm to you once they are dry and the job is complete. If you want to help reduce the amount of waste you contribute, bathtub refinishing is an ideal alternative to a full replacement.
Perfect For DIYers
While some homeowners will hire professional contractors to complete their bathtub refinishing job, it isn’t your only choice. Many reglazing kits are available for those DIYers who are handy around the home and can tackle this project themselves.
If you have the tools and the motivation, you can successfully refinish your bathtub in your spare time rather than having a professional contractor do the job. Doing so isn’t difficult, and many reglazing kits include everything you need to finish the job.
DIYers can save the money that they would allocate for a professional to do the job. By handing the task yourself, this renovation can be significantly less expensive than the alternative.
Prolongs the Life of Your Bathtub
Bathtub refinishing can help prolong the life of your bathtub. Proper reglazing techniques can last from 10 to 15 years, making them a very cost-effective solution for your bathroom renovation.
Keeping your tub in good working condition will allow you to enjoy a beautiful piece and be comfortable, knowing that you won’t have to worry about maintenance or repairs for many years.
Preserve the Original Style
If you have a clawfoot bathtub with antique faucets or fixtures, you may not want to throw it out because it has scratches and chips. Bathtub refinishing allows you to preserve your home’s original style and charm while making your tub new once again.
This method is one of the more popular choices in older colonial-style homes, where owners want to maintain the decor and charm from days gone by.
Things to Consider
When you explore bathtub refinishing options, there are some considerations before heading to the hardware store or calling the contractor. You should remove all faucets and drains before starting.
This step ensures the materials will adhere properly and the finish will last. Before a contractor comes, or if you are doing the project yourself, the bathtub will need a thorough cleaning.
You can use a bleach and water solution or manufactured cleaners, but remember to rinse well. You or the contractor will need to remove all surrounding caulking before reglazing.
Once the bathtub is dry and ready, the new caulking should be applied and fully dry before using the bathtub once again. The chemicals required for bathtub refinishing can emit fumes that can be harmful without ample ventilation.
It’s critical that during the reglazing process, you have air circulation, which will help the tub dry quicker and keep the air in your home safe. Depending on the project, you may need to leave your home for a day or two while the tub dries and the smell dissipates.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you refinish a bathtub that has been previously done?
Yes, it's possible to have your bathtub reglazed if someone did it previously. However, you must prepare the tub correctly before the next coat to ensure that it sticks appropriately and will help extend the life of your bathtub.
Suppose the bathtub has previous refinishing materials and is no longer effective at maintaining the seal.
In that case, you may have to look at other options, such as a tub liner or a complete replacement. If you are unsure, a professional contractor can help you determine if reglazing your tub would be an effective solution.
Is bathtub refinishing worth it?
Determining if it's worth refinishing your bathtub will depend on several factors. A bathtub with visible damage but can still hold water is a prime candidate for refinishing. You can correct the imperfections quickly and have it looking like new once again for only a few hundred dollars.
If your bathtub has structural damage, leaks, or mold and mildew, refinishing it won't correct these problems, and you will still have issues with your tub. In this case, you will need a complete replacement.
Why is the finish on my bathtub peeling?
If you notice peeling on the surface of your bathtub, the finish is beginning to break down and come apart from the tub structure. This peeling is an indication that someone has resurfaced the bathtub previously.
Peeling could result from the finishing wearing out after 10 or 15 years, or it may not have been correctly applied the first time and is not sticking. Peeling bathtubs can be easily fixed by sanding away the damaged finish and reapplying a bathtub glaze.
Is Bathtub Refinishing Worth the Hassle?
Bathtub refinishing can be a terrific way to bring life back to your bathroom and keep your tub lasting for several more years. Reglazing will easily cover up those scratches, chips or even change the color of your tub.
You can perform this cost-effective renovation yourself or hire a professional contractor for the job.
Either way will be significantly less in cost than having a complete tub replacement and is better for the environment because there is less waste going to the landfill.