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Bathtub Refinishing Guide

Bathtub Refinishing Consumer Awareness Guide from Surface Renew Little Rock AR

Considering bathtub refinishing vs. replacement vs. DIY tub repair and/or tub painting? This Bathtub Refinishing Consumer Awareness Guide shows what you need to know before deciding. Discover the crucial insights you need before making your decision, along with a breakdown of DIY (di-it-yourself) versus professional options. Dive into our comprehensive guide for savvy bathtub refinishing choices!

Everything you need to know about revitalizing your bathtub without the hassle and expense of replacement. Our guide empowers you to make informed decisions about transforming the look of your bathroom surfaces. Whether you’re tackling stains, chips, or an outdated appearance, this guide equips you with the knowledge to achieve a beautiful, like-new bathtub finish. Dive in and unlock the secrets to a bathroom refresh that’s cost-effective, convenient, and environmentally friendly!

In this handy guide you’ll learn more about the pros and cons associated with refinishing or replacing your bathtub. We’ve also compiled information to help you decide whether to hire a professional or try doing the refinishing job yourself. Although this guide is focusing on bathtubs, most of the information herein also applies to any tile surface such as sinks, countertops and wall tiles.

In This Guide:

  1. Bathtub Refinishing vs. Replacing a Tub
  2. When to Not Refinish
  3. DIY or Hire?
  4. Steps in DIY Refinishing
  5. Common DIY Mistakes
  6. Hiring a Pro
  7. Cost to Refinish a Tub
  8. Getting Best Value

Refinishing before and after photo in Bathtub Refinishing Consumer Awareness Guide


Section 1: Replacing a Bathtub vs. Refinishing

In contrast to replacing your bathtub, refinishing (applying a new top surface coating) is a great option to explore. Refinishing is a process that’s also commonly known as reglazing or resurfacing. The process involves repairing any scratches or dents, removing the old finish and applying a fresh new finish with a glossy top-coat that makes the tub, sink, or tiles look brand new again. By refinishing your old tub instead of replacing it you can enjoy a like-new look for only a fraction of the cost and hassle of a large renovation.

In most cases, replacing a bathtub requires an extensive amount of work and a considerable investment of both time and money. The overall cost of this project and whether or not it makes sense for your situation depends on a variety of factors. There are many reasons for remodeling your bathroom. Whether your current room is out of style or your fixtures are suffering unsightly wear and damage, then you’re ready for change. So rehabbing the tub, for example, can make a significant difference in the look of the entire room. When it comes down to getting the job done, the question remains: should you replace or refinish?

Replacing a Tub

bathtub removal process construction
Sample bathtub removal process

Most basic tubs retail for as little as $300, which may be equal to or even less expensive than refinishing. Before you start shopping, you need to consider the hidden extra costs in replacing a bathtub, which include:

  • Demolition and removal of the old tub typically adds $500-$1,000 to the final price
  • Hiring a plumber to re-attach pipes costs $299 according to the national average
  • Installation of the new tub costs $2,896 according to the national average
  • If you’re thinking of replacing your tub with a shower pan, first consider the effect this could have on the home’s resale appeal. Most prospective buyers shy away from homes without a bathtub, particularly if they have children

Once you add everything up, that $300 tub turns into a project that costs more than $3,000. There’s also always the chance that you’ll encounter structural or plumbing problems along the way, which extends the time and cost of the project.

Bathtub Refinishing

Bathtub Refinishing Little Rock AR

For example, to refinish a tub, most homeowners spend between $400 and $900, with the average cost coming in at around $460. However our prices begin at $395 for most bathtubs. Prices are similar for sink refinishing too.

So if you consider all of the costs associated with replacing then refinishing seems like a real bargain. Additionally, if you have an irreplaceable antique or rare bathtub you likely want to keep it to preserve the charm of your decor or the historical accuracy it provides in an older house.


Section 2: When Not to Refinish

It’s important to note that to refinish a bathtub isn’t always the best idea. Here are 3 primary reasons for not refinishing.

a) Damaged Beyond Repair

If the tub is damaged beyond repair then replacement is the best option. However we rarely encounter a tub that is “beyond repair”. Over the last 15+ years in business we’ve seen and repaired just about everything you can imagine.

Here’s an example of a fiberglass tub repair we can do that others would think replacement is the only option:

Fiberglass Tub Repair and Tile Chip Repairs Little Rock AR. Bathtub Refinishing Consumer Awareness Guide
Fiberglass tub repair by Surface Renew

Examples of a tub “beyond repair” are destroyed by fire or cut into piece with a saw. Other than those extreme cases, we can repair just about any damage back to like new condition.

b) Timeliness to Use

If you’re having a party or company is coming to stay within the next day or two, and they will need to use the fixtures, then it’s best to put off refinishing until after the event.

Refinishing takes about a day to cure. So that means the fixtures being resurfaced aren’t usable for about 24 hours. Wait until a time when it’s okay for the bathroom to not be in use for a few days. Then go ahead and refinish.

c) You Want a Different Style

Standard bathtub and clawfoot tub examples
Standard tub and clawfoot examples

If, for example, you have a standard built-in bathtub but really want a free standing ornate clawfoot tub then no amount of refinishing will make your regular style tub look like a clawfoot tub.

Or, for another example, you might have a regular tub but really want a Jacuzzi/spa tub with water jets. Again, refinishing your old standard tub won’t turn it into a Jacuzzi tub. In these cases you’ll have to make the decision to refurbish your old tub or replace it with a more desirable style.

d) Bonus Reason

Vintage antique bathtub drawing example
Vintage antique bathtub drawing example

This one is so rare we didn’t make it a Top 3 but it does bear mentioning. Think Antique Road Show; old, vintage, unique, or antique, with historical or personal family history value.

If, for example, you have a tub from the 1700’s once owned by Thomas Jefferson then please do not refurbish it! Because the natural patina is part of its historic value and appeal. But seriously, how often does this come up? A tub like this should be in a museum anyway; or perhaps sealed in a historian’s private collection.


Section 3: DIY or Hire a Pro?

When considering whether to tackle bathtub refinishing yourself or enlist the expertise of a professional, thorough preparation is key. Start by researching the materials needed for the job and understanding the process involved in refinishing a bathtub. Take into account the longevity of over-the-counter DIY chemicals to ensure a lasting finish. Additionally, address any underlying plumbing issues before commencing the project.

Delving into the decision between DIY and hiring a professional, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons of each option. While opting for a DIY approach can save money, it requires an investment of time and effort. Consider the following factors:

  1. Mastery of the refinishing process: Assess the learning curve involved and your ability to acquire the necessary skills.
  2. Acquisition of tools and chemicals: Determine the cost and availability of the required equipment and materials.
  3. Time commitment: Estimate the duration of the project and evaluate if your schedule allows for dedicated time to complete the refinishing process.

By carefully considering these aspects, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your budget, timeline, and skill level.


Section 4: Steps to DIY Bathtub Refinishing

Here are the DIY steps to follow for refinishing a bathtub by yourself:

  1. Learn How. Research the internet for DIY self help on bathtub painting. Watch a lot of videos. Then practice on an old fixture or some scrap tiles to hone your skills before having a go at the main item.
  2. Buy the Tools and Materials. Research the best tools and material you’ll need for the project. Spend time shopping online or go to a big box home store. Look for a complete kit that includes everything you need for the project, including cleaner, sandpaper, primer, refinishing paint, a roller, a brush and a tray, all for $60 to $100. The best kits use a durable resin coating instead of epoxy, which is quick to discolor and chip. Most of the cheaper kits only come with the epoxy coating, which means you still need to buy all the extras and you might end up wanting to refinish the tub again in a year or two.
  3. Take Safety Precautions. Most professionals wear coveralls and HEPA air filters to protect themselves from the fumes and from coming into contact with the refinishing paint. At the very least, you should wear a mask, goggles and gloves because the refinishing chemicals when in liquid or vapor form are harsh on the skin and toxic if inhaled. They are however safe when fully dry and cured.
  4. Do the work. Start by protecting the areas you aren’t refinishing with a tarp or plastic sheeting. Prepare the tub surface by sanding it down and repairing cracks before applying the primer, refinishing paint and topcoat. Clean up the mess afterward.
  5. Precaution. DIY bathtub refinishing kits are available at big box stores, but consider the physical demands and chemical fumes involved. Extended periods of bending and kneeling can strain your back, while strong fumes near the work surface may be intolerable, especially for those sensitive to odors. Refinishing tubs and tiles yourself might not be suitable if you’re sensitive to such conditions.

Your Results May Vary

If you opt for a DIY approach, be aware of limited color options and potential quality issues. DIY chemicals are not professional-grade and are applied with a roller or brush, resulting in a less durable finish. Professionals use spray guns for superior application, akin to spraying paint on a car for a smoother, longer-lasting finish.

Tub Refinishing Tips

If you opt to go at it alone, here are a few tips to get you started.

Prepare the Area

Pros will protect the rest of your bathroom and home by covering the floor and other fixtures with heavy-duty plastic to prevent over-spray and dust from carrying over to areas that aren’t being refinished. Using an exhaust fan to ventilate the bathroom for several days helps vent the odor of the refinishing products while they are curing.

Remove the Old Finish

Before you can add a new finish to your bathtub, you need to strip the old one off by sanding the surface thoroughly. The new finish adheres best to a perfectly smooth surface.

Repair Imperfections

Once you have the old finish sanded off, evaluate the surface of the tub. Any areas with rust, cracks or chips must be repaired with a waterproof crack-repair product or something similar.

Apply the New Finish

The exact instructions may vary from product to product, but most tub-refinishing products include a primer that’s applied to the prepared surface. Allow the primer to dry before applying several coats of the refinishing material. Let the material dry between each layer and before applying a sealing coat. Once the top coat goes on, the tub’s new finish typically needs to set for 24 hours before you can run water over it.


Section 5: Common DIY Mistakes

Tub finish bubbling and peeling
Tub finish bubbling and peeling

While DIY bathtub refinishing can offer cost savings, it’s essential to navigate potential pitfalls to achieve a successful outcome.

  1. Inadequate Surface Preparation: Skipping thorough surface preparation can result in a rough-textured finish. Ensure complete removal of the old finish and allow each layer to dry fully before proceeding.
  2. Improper Application Techniques: Painting instead of spraying the new surface or using incorrect application methods can lead to a disastrous outcome. Watch out for bubbles forming in epoxy layers or brush/roll marks in the finish.
  3. Insufficient Drying Time: Rushing between coats without allowing proper drying time can result in a marred final coat and a smudged finish. Patience is key to achieving a smooth and durable surface.
  4. Uncured Coating: If the tub feels tacky even after the specified curing time, it’s a sign that the coating hasn’t set correctly. In such cases, stripping off the coating and starting over may be necessary to achieve the desired results.

By avoiding these common mistakes and ensuring careful attention to detail throughout the refinishing process, you can enhance the longevity and appearance of your newly refinished bathtub.


Section 6: Hiring a Pro

About Bob Kennedy, Owner of Surface Renew Little Rock Arkansas
Bob Kennedy, owner Surface Renew

Hiring a professional to refinish your tub is relatively inexpensive when you factor in all the time and potential pitfalls involved it a DIY project. In return for paying to have someone do the work, you save time, eliminate the worry of making mistakes and receive numerous benefits, such as:

  • Avoiding the mess of the refinishing product
  • Distance from health hazards of exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Having superior surface preparation
  • Enjoying high-quality refinishing that makes the tub look like new
  • Getting an increased number of color choices. We can match your existing color or create custom shades
  • Obtaining a finish that can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years compared to the 2-year longevity of DIY products

If you rely on a refinishing company to do the work for you, the only thing you need to worry about is making sure the plumbing fixtures are in good shape. For example, if you want to replace the faucet or if you have a leak, that should be done before the refinisher arrives.

When you hire a professional, you can allow the pro to guide your choices in the color and finish of the reglazing tub product. Many pros can create custom colors to match what you already have or provide a completely different, fresher look. For example, here’s a bathroom makeover review from a client about how she feels her tub and bathroom sink vanity refinishing went.

Ask potential contractors:

  • Their background: How long have you been refinishing bathtubs? How many similar projects do you typically complete every month?
  • About the products: What kind of refinishing bathtub paint do you use? What are your color choices? Are there any warranties?
  • What to expect: How many workers will be present during the job, and how long will it take? If you use subcontractors, do you perform background checks?

Additionally, verify that the contractor is licensed and insured. Ask for pictures of the contractor’s previous work, and check the professional’s references to gauge other customers’ level of satisfaction.

Surface Renew’s Background:

Surface Renew Van with Bob and Ryan in Arkansas

Since you are already considering Surface Renew for your tub and tile refinishing, here’s our answers to the questions above.

We began serving Arkansas in April, 2004. We have multiple vans in the field 22 or more days per month. Each van crew does 1-2 jobs a day. You can view lots of before/after photos of our work in our gallery.

About the Products:

Simply put, we use only the best because we are building a business based on excellence. We want happy customers who use our service again and refer us to their friends and family. All our tools are top quality too.

What to Expect:

  • We send 1 or 2 workers depending on the size of the job.
  • All our workers are employees driving company vans and using company equipment.
  • No subcontractors, only our employees.
  • We perform background checks on all new hires.
  • And include rigorous training with ongoing training and support.

The time to complete a job depends on the scope of work. For example you can expect our workers to complete a regular tub refinishing project in about 3-4 hours. If we are refinishing all the surfaces in your entire bathroom (such as sinks, wall tile, tub, etc.) then we might be there all day.


Section 7: Cost to Refinish a Bathtub

Typical Average Price Range for Refinishers: $329 – $595

Arkansas Average: $490

National Average: $460

Typical Range: $329 – $595

Low End – High End: $200 – $900

* Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 5,362 HomeAdvisor.com members.

Surface Renew Average: $395

Do you want an accurate quote for your specific project? Contact us!


Section 8: Getting Best Value

Best Value Bathtub Refinishing Surface Renew Little Rock AR

We hope you’ve found this Bathtub Refinishing Guide to be a valuable resource in your journey towards revitalizing your tub. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to reach out – we’re here to help.

Choosing professional refinishing for your old tub can yield a higher quality finish compared to DIY methods. Additionally, the end result may surpass the appearance of a newly purchased replacement. Invest in professional refinishing for a stunning transformation that enhances the beauty and functionality of your bathroom.

Our techs can change the color of your tile, tubs, sinks, and countertops to any color you want within the color spectrum. Also we can also change the texture to a variety of faux stone finishes. And that’s something you probably won’t be able to yourself.

  • Refinishing is far more affordable than installing a new tub.
  • Be sure to weigh all the costs before deciding to do it yourself vs. hiring a professional.
  • You might surprise yourself when you discover that hiring a pro is actually the better value!

We’re dedicated to restoring your worn-out tub to its former glory – or give it whole new look! Whether it’s fiberglass, acrylic, porcelain, or cast iron, we refinish them all.

Our streamlined process is quick and hassle-free, typically completed in just 2 to 5 hours. Plus, you’ll be delighted to know that your bathtub will be ready for use the very next day. Now, isn’t that convenience at its finest? Say goodbye to waiting around for days – with our service, you can enjoy your rejuvenated tub sooner than you think!

Contact Us

Bathtub Refinishing Consumer Awareness Guide service you can trust.

Contact Surface Renew today to set time for an onsite price quote. Or ask us a question. And then we’ll reply ASAP with your answer and/or your custom price quote. We’re all about great customer service!

Company: Surface Renew, Inc.
Arkansas Little Rock Central Office: 501-920-9326
Arkansas Fayetteville Northwest Office: 479-226-0703
Email: info@surface-renew.com

See our photo gallery for examples of our work. You can expect the same high quality results for your project!

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