Problems With Refinishing a Bathtub


If you've ever considered remodeling your bathroom, you know that the costs of labor and materials can quickly add up to a budget nightmare. Bathtub refinishing or reglazing is touted as a cost-effective alternative to complete replacement of an old or outdated bathtub, but tub refinishing is not without its disadvantages. Before reglazing your tub, consider the potential problems associated with bathtub refinishing.


  • Bathtub refinishing is often touted as simpler than replacement, but the installation process is anything but simple. The most important step in refinishing involves preparing the original bathtub surface with a range of abrasive chemicals that roughen up the surface to allow for a sealed bond. The chemicals are hazardous if inhaled; the room requires good ventilation during the application to prevent illness, and you cannot use the bathroom during the application time, typically about five hours. After the glaze is applied, you cannot use the bathtub for as little as 24 and as many as 72 hours, depending on the specific product.


  • Bathtubs are made from acrylic, fiberglass or porcelain to create a smooth finish. Though most refinishing products attempt to maintain a smooth finish, a refinished bathtub is not as smooth as a standard bathtub. The finished product may feel granular or sand-like, particularly if the surface was contaminated with stray particles during the application process. Significant texture also increases the likelihood of chipping as the paint catches on sponges or towels during cleaning.


  • Refinished bathtubs require special maintenance to clean the surface without compromising the durability of the finished product. Any scrubbing may remove small pieces or promote peeling, so no-scrub or self-scrub cleansers are the only viable cleaning products for refinished bathtubs. Use soft sponges and rags instead of steel wool or stiff-bristled brushes.


  • Though bathtub refinishing is less expensive than complete replacements, the durability of some refinishing products reduces the cost effectiveness of a refinished bathtub. Reglazed bathtubs are prone to peeling, cracking and chipping due to wear over time or improper cleaning practices. If the finish on a bathtub begins to peel, you must resand and retreat the entire area to maintain the integrity of the tub.

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