A dingy and damaged bathtub is unattractive. However, the problems are usually only surface deep, so you can give the tub a facelift without having to replace it completely. Read on to learn more.
Most common bathtub damages can be repaired with refinishing. Fiberglass tubs can be refinished if they are dingy or have minor cracking, although large cracks or flaking can't be repaired. For the more severe damage, a replacement is necessary. Cast iron and porcelain-coated steel are even easier to fix. Rusty areas, scratches, stains, and chips are all easily repairable as long as there are no leaks in the tub.
You can also have a bathtub refinished in order to change its color, regardless of the material. This allows you to quickly and inexpensively update the bathroom without doing a major tear-out and bathtub replacement.
The process is relatively simple. The entire tub is stripped and sanded down so that any rough areas are smoothed out. This also creates a slightly abraded surface to which the new finish will better adhere. Then, any damages are repaired — rust is sanded away, small cracks are patched, and chips are filled to create an even surface.
The final step is the coating, which is formulated to the tub material. For example, a porcelain coating may be used on metal tubs, while a fiberglass or epoxy coating is used on fiberglass tubs. The coating is applied evenly and then the bathtub must cure and dry for several days before it will be ready for use. The entire process takes less than a week from start to curing.
Care and Maintenance
After refinishing, you will want to make sure new damages don't occur. The best way to do this is to avoid any harsh abrasives when cleaning the tub. Use soft scrubbing sponges and non-abrasive tile and bath cleaners. It's also a good idea to avoid acidic cleaners, including those that contain vinegar or lemon juice, as the acids can etch the tub's new finish.
To avoid chips, particularly on porcelain-coated tubs, use a shower mat. This provides a cushion in the event anything is dropped in the tub. The mat also doubles as a safety device, since the bottom of a recently refinished bathtub can be quite slippery. Remove the mat after use and rinse out the tub so everything stays clean.
Contact a bathtub refinishing contractor to learn more about breathing new life into your old tub.