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The Pitfalls of DIY Bathtub Refinishing: A Cautionary Tale

By George Piccot, Published 09/12/2023

Bathtubs are more than just functional fixtures in our homes; they are havens of relaxation and rejuvenation. Over time, however, they can show signs of wear and tear, prompting homeowners to consider refinishing options. In a candid video by Belinda Carr titled "DO NOT buy Tub & Tile Epoxy Refinishing Kits!", she shares her tumultuous journey with DIY bathtub refinishing and underscores the importance of relying on professionals for such tasks.

Belinda's journey began with two heavy, porcelain-enameled steel bathtubs in her home. While they were structurally sound, their beige color didn't align with her new gray and white bathroom aesthetic. After extensive research, she decided to use the Rust-oleum Tub and Tile refinishing kit, a product that promised excellent adhesion, durability, and color retention. The initial results were impressive, but the overpowering fumes were a significant downside, lingering for days.

However, the real challenge emerged a year later when the refinished bathtub began to yellow and chip. In preparation to sell her house, Belinda purchased another Rustoleum kit to patch the deteriorated areas. To her dismay, the new layer bubbled and peeled off, leading her to the painful decision to strip the entire tub of epoxy and start from scratch. This process was not only time-consuming and physically draining but also mentally taxing.

Determined to rectify the situation, Belinda then opted for the Homax tough as tile spray paint. While this product seemed to adhere better and appeared more durable than the Rustoleum product, it came with its own set of challenges. The fumes were even more potent, and the entire bathroom was covered in a fine white dust post-application.

Watch Belindas experience...

Reflecting on her experience, Belinda highlighted several key takeaways:

  • Performance Over Appearance: The current trend of painting every surface white, driven by platforms like Pinterest and home renovation shows, can be misleading. While aesthetics are essential, the performance and longevity of products should not be compromised.
  • The Hidden Costs of DIY: While DIY kits might seem economical, the potential for errors can lead to additional expenses in terms of time, effort, and money. In Belinda's case, the cost to repaint the tubs twice, coupled with the hours of labor, made it the most expensive option.
  • The Value of Professional Services: Professional refinishing companies use proprietary bonding agents to ensure a solid bond between the old surface and the new finish. Their products are of higher quality than DIY kits, and they often come with guarantees of 10-15 years. The investment in professional services ensures durability, quality, and peace of mind.

While some homeowners might have had positive experiences with DIY refinishing kits, Belinda's story serves as a cautionary tale. It emphasizes the importance of thorough research, understanding the limitations of DIY products, and the undeniable value of professional expertise. For those considering bathtub refinishing, it might be worth remembering the old adage: "You get what you pay for." Opting for professional services might seem pricier initially, but the long-term benefits, both in terms of quality and peace of mind, are invaluable.

For more articles like this visit our Blog. If you are a professional refinisher and want to join other like-minded professional refinishers to discuss process, visit the elite Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/refinishingcontractors.

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TopKote has everything you need for your refinishing project including materials and training. If you are looking for a professional, contact us and we will direct you to a Topkote Pro nearest you.

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