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- 1 Repair for Peeling Finish on a Bathtub
- 2 Paint Fiberglass Bathtubs
- 3 Instructions on Refinish a Bathtub
- 4 Re-glaze Acrylic Tubs
Instead of shelling out your hard-earned cash for a new tub -- especially an old cast-iron claw-foot bathtub or an enamel-over-steel tub -- you can fix it yourself with a little work. If you know how to paint walls or furniture to make them look good, you should be able to refinish your tub to give it a professional look once you repair the rusted hole. If you're unsure about tackling such a project, hire a professional tub refinisher -- or buy a new tub and use the old one as yard or garden art after filling it with dirt and flowers or herbs.
Prepare the Work Area
Remove all the hardware from the tub you plan to refinish. Detach the tub spout, hot and cold faucet handles, the drain and grill, overflow and escutcheon plates. Cover the floor around the tub with dropcloths. A utility knife can help you slice through old tub caulking. Use a one-sided utility razor blade or putty knife to lever beneath nonslip strips fastened to the tub floor, and remove all nonslip or decorative strips from the tub.
Tub and Safety Preparation
Thoroughly clean the tub with an abrasive scrubber and appropriate product to remove bath oils, soap residue, hard water deposits and rust debris from all areas of the tub inside and out. Keep a putty knife handy to remove old paint or rust debris. Take precautions against inhaling lead dust before you begin cleaning and sanding, because some old tubs may contain lead. Wear a National Institute for Safety and Health approved face mask to filter out potentially harmful particles and toxins. Clean the area around the tub with a vacuum that contains a high-efficiency particulate air filter, and a wet mop.
Repair the Hole
Condition Boot In Bathtub Seat
The size of the hole determines the process you should use to fix it. Fix small holes no larger than a dime with a steel-reinforced epoxy resin and hardener. Larger holes may need a steel-reinforced epoxy putty to keep the hole from opening again under the water weight. Paint over small holes with the two-stage epoxy resin. For larger holes, cut the amount of putty you need to cover the hole. Knead the putty thoroughly until it retains a uniform color, which indicates the hardener is activated. Shape it slightly larger than the hole, and press into place. Let the chosen product cure and dry according to the manufacturer's instructions, generally about an hour or two, before sanding or drilling.
Refinish the Tub
Ventilate the room thoroughly before refinishing the tub. Wipe the tub down and then sand it with 400- to 600-grit wet-dry sandpaper. Wetting the sandpaper keeps dust to a minimum. Etch the entire surface of the tub with the sandpaper so the new finish will adhere. Sand the epoxied area to make it as smooth as possible, as it needs to blend in with the rest of the tub. After sanding, and wiping away dust debris, mix and apply the refinish material of your choice with a paintbrush, roller or paint sprayer, which levels naturally as it cures. Let the tub dry and cure for at least 24 to 72 hours or longer, depending upon the product, temperature and humidity, per the instructions that came with the product.
About the Author
As a native Californian, artist, journalist and published author, Laurie Brenner began writing professionally in 1975. She has written for newspapers, magazines, online publications and sites. Brenner graduated from San Diego's Coleman College.
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- 1 Acrylic Urethane Bathtub Refinishing
- 2 How Long Does Bathtub Reglazing Last?
- 3 Reglazing vs. Replacing a Bathtub
- 4 What Types of Bathtub Liners Are Available?
While antique bathtubs of the 1800s often feature solid porcelain construction, the post-World War I 1900s saw the rise of the cast-iron tub with a porcelain glaze. While their iron bodies make them heavier and sturdier than modern fiberglass iterations, their glazes are subject to degradation given their age. The cost of reglazing your antique bathtub varies widely depending on the refinishing options you choose and the condition of your tub, but one thing remains consistent -- it will cost you about half, or even a third, of the price of removing the fixture and installing a new bathtub.
Professional refinishing may serve as your best bet for a valuable antique tub. In this case, a trained contractor sands and etches uneven or damaged surfaces on the tub, applies a coat of primer and then spray-paints the tub's surface with a special enamel. While this takes the work out of your hands, it comes at a significant cost. Fox News and the refinishing pros at the Fine Finish Shop estimate that, as of late 2013, refinishing a period, vintage or claw-foot tub starts at about $900 and goes up into the thousands of dollars. In comparison, refinishing a modern bath tub typically only costs about $350.
Condition Boot In Bathtub And Shower
Look into Liners
For an alternative to reglazing, consider hiring a contractor to install a liner for your antique steel or cast-iron bathtub. This process entails the creation of an acrylic liner custom-fitted to your tub's dimensions. After a thorough cleaning of the tub, a contractor uses professional-grade, permanent adhesives to affix the liner to the existing basin. As of 2014, this process runs at about $1,100 to $1,900 in metropolitan areas. If you take this route for your antique tub, ensure that the contractor installs an overflow-preventing snorkel boot and seals the drain, otherwise the installation may be subject to unwanted moisture between the liner and the original surface of the bath, which leads to mold and mildew.
Consider the DIY Route
Brick-and-mortar and online hardware stores sell do-it-yourself bathtub finishing kits that can apply to modern and antique tubs. In general, these kits offer a low-cost option, but professionals warn that their improvements may not last long. Ken Perrin of the refinishing company Artistic Renovations says, “You really can do more harm than good if you don't know what you're doing,” while Fox News warns that these kits are often subject to peeling and wear. In 2014, bathtub refinishing kits retail between $20 and $140.
Account for Variables
As with virtually any home project, there are variables that affect the cost of antique bathtub refinishing. If only a portion of your tub needs refinishing, you'll likely only have to pay a portion of the typical price. Even better, a professional consultation may reveal that your tub simply needs a professional deep cleaning, which, at 2014 rates, runs about $100 to $200. Additional services deemed necessary by the refinisher, such as sand stripping or chip repair, add a bit -- typically less than $100 -- to the overall price.
About the Author
Dan Ketchum has been a professional writer since 2003, with work appearing online and offline in Word Riot, Bazooka Magazine, Anemone Sidecar, Trails and more. Dan's diverse professional background spans from costume design and screenwriting to mixology, manual labor and video game industry publicity.Cite this Article