An old tub can make a bathroom look lackluster, especially if it has chips, cracks or other minor damage. Replacing an old bathtub with a new one is certainly an option, but reglazing a tub can bring an entire bathroom back to life. Here, we’ll explore reglazing a bathtub and the pros and cons. By following a few guidelines, you can avoid common DIY tub resurfacing failures and give your clients a beautifully restored space for years to come.
How to Glaze a Bathtub
Also referred to as refinishing, reglazing or recoating, tub resurfacing refers to the bathtub renovation process. It can be broken down into five main steps:
- The surface of the tub is sanded down.
- Cracks and other worn areas are filled in
- Several coats of primer are applied.
- Layers of paint are added.
- The tub is buffed to a high shine.
Step #1: Prepare Your Workspace
Before beginning your bathtub refinishing project, you'll need to properly prepare your workspace. In addition to covering all of the surrounding surfaces, you'll also need to take all of the necessary safety precautions. To keep the room well-ventilated, turn on the bathroom fan, open a window and use an industrial fan to redirect the room air outside.
DIY vs Professional Glazing
Tub resurfacing is an excellent option for bathtubs that have scratches, stains or other minor imperfections. Restoring is also the way to go for homeowners with older, antique models. Acrylic bathtubs can be reglazed too, as long as the damage is minimal. In these cases, you'll notice a dramatic difference before and after your project.
There will undoubtedly be homeowners who'll try and tackle tub resurfacing themselves. It can be done, but a professional touch can truly elevate a bathroom space. With Topkote's Bathtub, Tile and Countertop Refinishing Training Program, you can bring your skills to the next level.
There are instances in which tub resurfacing is not recommended. If a bathtub is in poor condition – or if your client wants to add modern features, such as jets – it’s best to replace it altogether.
Reglazing a Bathtub: Pros and Cons
There are several factors to consider when refinishing a tub:
- How much time will it take?
- How much will it cost?
- Do you want to maintain the character of the tub?
In the sections below, we’ll answer these questions by discussing the pros and cons of reglazing a bathtub.
Pros of Professional Tub Resurfacing
There are plenty of reasons to restore an existing bathtub. Refinishing a tub:
- Is more affordable: Compared to purchasing a new bathtub, restoration is much more cost-effective. Even if a client buys a new tub for cheap, it may need to be cut apart just to fit through the door. Throw in professional labor, and the cost rises even higher. Tub resurfacing is much more affordable overall.
- Takes less time: Replacing a bathtub can take a significant amount of time. Reglazing can often be completed in just a day or two.
- Can change the color of a tub: Pink, blue or avocado tubs were commonplace a few decades ago. If a client is looking to modernize their bathroom, tub reglazing is an excellent option.
- Can keep the character of a tub: Older tubs are typically well-crafted. If you're working on an antique model, the homeowners will likely want to maintain the tub's original style. Tub resurfacing allows you to repair damage while keeping the existing aesthetic of the bathroom.
Cons of Refinishing a Tub
When it comes to tub resurfacing, there are also a few drawbacks. For example, a refinished bathtub:
- Can become worn over time: A reglazed tub will start to show wear eventually, usually after 10 to 15 years.
- Won’t last as long as a new tub: Though 10 to 15 years is impressive, a refinished tub won’t hold up as long as a brand new one.
- Involves the use of harsh chemicals: Reglazing a bathtub can expose you and others to harmful fumes. Be sure to wear a mask at all times and ventilate the room while you’re working. Learn more about reducing glazing fumes here.