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By George Piccot, Published 01/10/2017

Cold weather presents its share of challenges for the professional bathtub and tile refinisher. Is reglazing a tub a good idea once the temperatures drop? According to most refinishers, the answer is no, but few understand why that is. In reality, if you have the right understanding of the challenges of tub and tile refinishing in cold weather, there is no reason you can’t successfully refinish your bathtub despite the low temperatures!

Below are a few of the most important challenges to expect when reglazing and refinishing your bathtub in cold temperatures and solutions to those challenges.

Challenges of Refinishing Your Bathtub in Winter

  • The cold makes the paint thicker and harder to work with. This can affect how your material flows and therefore affect how your finish looks.
  • When surface temps are below a certain point (Dew Point), no coating should be applied. The surface temp should be above 62° and should remain at that level during the curing process. When the temps are below this point (Dew Point), moisture can form on the surface which can cause premature coating failure, dulling of the finish and other serious problems.
  • When the surface is too cold, the coating may not properly cure and stay soft for a prolonged period of time.

Solutions for Tub and Tile Refinishing in the Cold

  • Before arrival to the job, be sure someone turns on the heat to warm the place up. If there is no heat, consider a space heater.
    • Be very careful when using a space heater and pay attention to the surface temp and not the air temp.
    • If there is no heat, try heating up your paint by putting the container in a bucket of hot water (kind of like warming a baby’s bottle).
  • Also, you may want to increase the speed of your reducer by adding a little acetone to compensate for the colder temps.
    • Rule of thumb: the colder temps, means the reducer needs to go faster... the hotter the temps, the slower the reducer.
    • Before you apply any coatings, you may want to go over the surface with a heat gun to bring up the surface temp and be sure to bring it up above 62°. Doing this will bring the surface temp up and flash off any microscopic moisture on the surface. You can check the surface temp by using an Infrared Laser Thermometer (available at Harbor Freight)

Conclusion

Tub and tile refinishing in cold weather can be done; it just requires a little more understanding and effort. For more information about surface preparation and coating failures (and how to avoid them), read the article Surface Preparation: Bathtub and Tile Refinishing Coating Failures.

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