“Bathtubs and showers needing attention often put homeowners at a crossroads” says Scott Sievert, of Miracle Method, a refinishing company. “Traditionally when tubs were ugly, worn or damaged with chips and scratches, replacement was the first and probably the best option if someone wanted to refresh the look of their bathroom,” Sievert continues, “The tear out of the old tub, new installation, and rebuilding what was harmed in the demolition process was an expensive and very inconvenient option. Usually taking seven to ten days and costing over $2,000.”
In recent years, however, technology has delivered options that homeowners in the past did not have available to them. Designed to provide a new look and feel to existing tubs and fixtures, these options can save a great deal of money and look like new under the right circumstances.
Consider the following:
- Refinishing with mechanical bonding— Using the existing tub surface as the base for a new coating. The existing surface is roughed up by sanding or the use of a toxic acid to etch the surface to accept the new coating. These finishes tend to be less durable and susceptible to water damage and peeling. But, given the right conditions this method can provide a presentable looking finish for a limited time.
- Refinishing with a chemically fused surface— This option creates an impregnable coating, updates colors and refreshes the look while keeping the original feel of the fixture. This can be used on top of any non-porous surface including bathtubs, tile, fiberglass and countertops. The process involves cleaning the original fixture, then applying a chemical bonding agent that grabs tightly to the original surface. Several coats of a urethane coating are then applied over the bonding agent. The materials fuse to the contours of the original surface, thus delivering the new look and smooth, clean “feel” of the original. Since it is molecularly bonded, it won’t peel off. This process is much more durable, typically lasting 15+ years.
- Installing a liner—This process creates a replica of your tub using a pre-manufactured plastic “skin.” Liners also avoid demolition and deliver a finished look. The process does involve a measuring step and waiting for the liner to be manufactured. The install usually will take one day, but the whole process is longer.
“We chose to provide the second option listed,” says Sievert. “We feel that chemically bonding a coating provided the best combination of durability and safety, a shorter overall process and the best value for our customers. Little things, such as updating colors so your old fixture doesn’t look outdated (or like an add-on), mean so much when all is completed.”
This specific process costs about one-fourth of the cost of replacing bathroom elements and about fifty percent of the cost of a plastic liner.
New home improvement projects are always being created. It takes some time to investigate what options are available that will best meet your specific needs. Remember that you may need more than one solution if you have bathrooms that have been made with different types of materials.