When researching bathtub refinishing, you’ll come across terms like re-enameling, reglazing, or resurfacing. They all refer to the same thing, though – giving your tub a new look. In this post, we’ll go over how bathtub refinishing works.

What is Bathtub Refinishing?

Whatever you call it, the results are the same. The process refreshes the surface of the tub and makes it look like new again. There are things you should know before getting your bathtub refinished.

How Does it Work?

Step 1

Where possible, the contractor will remove the drain. This allows for the coating to last longer. In cases where it’s not possible to remove the drain, the contractor will have to work around it.

Step 2

Now it’s time to check for nicks or cracks. The damage must be filled in and smoothed over with polyester putty. Once the putty dries, it’s time to remove the tub’s old coating.

Step 3

Professional contractors will use a combination of acid etching and sanding to remove the coating. Porcelain, fiberglass, and enamel this treatment because they’re non-porous.  Without this step, the new layer won’t be able to adhere to the surface.

Some of the newer processes developed do make it possible to skip the etching. Only deal with a reputable contractor if you want to go this route. If they don’t degrease the surface and prepare it correctly, the new coating will peel off eventually.

Step 4

The next step is to prepare to spray the bath. Before this starts, the contractor will mask off areas where the overspray might reach. From this stage, the process begins to become hazardous. The chemicals being sprayed on are toxic and highly flammable.

The contractor must set up an exhaust system that is strong enough to clear the fumes. The exhaust helps to remove particles from the air, making it easier for the contractor to see what they’re doing. The contractor must also wear gloves and a specialized breathing apparatus.

Step 5

The bathtub refinishing contractor will spray on the primer. It takes some skill to get an even, fine layer. Once that dries, the contractor will usually apply a second layer, and a third if necessary. This extra prep work is worthwhile because it ensures longer-lasting results.

Step 6

The next step is to apply the topcoat. The contractor should use at least two to three layers of the topcoat for optimal results. For the finish to be durable, the new coat should be at least 5 mm thick.

Step 7

Once the topcoat is dry, the contractor replaces the drain and refreshes the caulk line as required.

Can I Do This Myself?

You can find a kit at the hardware store to assist. The downside is that they aren’t as effective at gripping the tub. These coatings will usually deteriorate faster than a professional finish. What’s more, if you don’t have the equipment to spray it on, you might end up with brush marks.

Final Notes

Considering the nature of the work, and the hazardous nature of the materials involved, it’s best to let a bathtub refinishing professional handle this task. Find another DIY project to get stuck into in the meantime.