Bathroom Bathtub Re-Refinished on 4-5-05

Old 04-13-05, 01:43 PM
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Bathroom Bathtub Re-Refinished on 4-5-05

I'm new to the boards here and I believe this is the correct forum to post this in.

We own a house which was built in 1960.
Our bathtub was orginally White, then someone had it refinished to Blue and I wanted it white again because the paint was peeling.

Rather than replace the tub, damaging perfectly good glazed ceramic tiles, we opted to Refinish it. The job was done on 4-5-05 with touchups 2 days later.

list of compliments? My Bathtub is now white again and it opened up the bathroom, and I dealt with a nice person.

I have a list of complaints:
1. The paint is already scratched in 2 areas (1 my fault, 1 his)

2. I have a rough spot where he touched it up or smudged it

3. It has an orange peel look to it (I didn't mention it to him because I didn't notice, I was so over whelmed by the nice white color) and yet he tells me that I need to apply turtle wax to it after the 9th bath. (is that standard?)

4. Painters Tape removed a small portion in 2 areas already.

5. He left the blue color on my existing grout, where it was last refinished

6. He refinished over #5 so I can't really do anything with it now (I've tried to cut it with my scrapper)

Here's the story:

The gentleman came out last week, did his work, came back 2 days later to do a seal on it maybe??? and touch up, he had 2 smudged that he noticed and they are still visible. I was given a long list of do's and don'ts which I can type it up if ya'll want or need to see it. It tells me what cleaners to not use, what they suggest that I use, no bathmats, no bottles sitting on the refnished areas, etc etc (amazing what you Cannot do with the finished project).

I've not called them yet but rather wanted to ask a couple of questions here so I have my facts straight. I certainly don't want to compain about things that were my fault, he was a very pleasant fellow.

I don't know the techinical aspects of how they perform their work, however when my husband and I saw a display of what the finished product would look like, it was smooth. Mine now looks like it's orange peel (aka bad paint job on a car).

My questions here:
I opted to do my grout work (between the tub and wall) after they were done with their part. Perhaps that was an error on my behalf, and that's something that I'm trying to determine now.

If I dropped a paint scrapper on the tub, would that warrant cutting the paint 6 days after the job was done?
I allowed it to cure, am not using "harsh" chemicals on it, wiping it out after use with a towel, geez, I feel as if I'm a slave to my tub! I didn't use that bathroom for a solid week to allow plenty of time for the project to cure completely without humidity in the air, we live in Louisiana. The waiting so long to use it was totally at my discretion.

My husband has been out of town so I've used our shower in another bathroom. I thought that this was my most opportune time to do get this job done.

Well, today I am filling in the area between the tub and wall with grout and am very Very disappointed. I was using a light adhesive tape, painters tape on the bathtub to keep the grout away, easier cleanup and cleaner lines, or so I thought. Upon removing the strip of tape, I realized that Now I lost part of the paint, about 2 small areas came off with the tape and you can see the nice slick glazed bathtub color under that.

Is that completely my fault for not realizing that I could not apply a tape to this surface? Is it going to be this delicate? I have a dog that I bathe, a grandbaby that comes to stay with us a couple of times a year and our normal use. Is this what I have to look forward to in having this job done?

I'm still shaking my head in total dismay, after all of the trouble, expense, work that he did, my prep work and then to have this happen is just beyond me. What can I do other than have him touch it up, if he can touch it up at all? Can I touch it up or should I even try?

Should I expect a hefty price on this repair, would it entail digging out all of his equipment. I'm just thoroughly disappointed and want to know what the experts here might think.
Thanks for any replies
Old 04-13-05, 03:32 PM
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Welcome to the Forum. I will start off with the below posting of one of our memebrs. Possibly some of this will determine what happened or didn't happen in your case. How much did you pay for this service? What was their warranty?

These excerpts were written by Bill Syms Jr. for posts on
Excellent Information – 10/2004

"Tub Reglazing
Reglazing a bathtub can be a cost effective part of a bathroom remodel and will perform over the long haul if it is done properly. It is like any of the other trades, the job will only be as good as the person doing the job as preparation is the key to making the coating bond to the tub.

Unfortunately when you are dealing with the larger franchised reglazing companies, finishing jobs fast precedes finishing jobs right. They cut out necessary steps needed to make the job last in order to save time. They also have a higher turnover of employees which means they "technician" that comes out to do the job might not have that much experience.

When I am involved in a bathroom remodel, the question comes up about replacing the old tub with a new one. I will be up front with you; I tell all of my customers that if you are thinking of getting a new tub, get one. There is no comparison to a reglazed tub. There are a few things to consider in making this decision.

1. Cost.
You can go to your local home improvement store and purchase a new bathtub from $100 to $3,000. However what needs to be pointed out is that the tub in a house built before 1970 is probably a high quality cast iron bathtub. That is why most of these though being a little worn still look half decent. Let’s say your house was built in the 1950's. Do you think that $100 tub will perform and last as long as the original? You be the judge.
Kohler makes a cast iron tub (villager) that can be found at most home improvement stores for about $275. It is a good quality tub. I charge $325 to reglaze a bathtub so although the tub is cheaper, when you figure in the cost of setting it and hooking up the waste / overflow, reglazing is actually cheaper.

2. Size.
People (and some contractors) don't realize that tub today are made to conserve water, therefore they are smaller on the inside. Go look at the tubs at the home improvement centers and compare them to your old one. If you like to take baths, this is important. Do you want to settle for a tub you barley fit into? I have purchased new tubs that are bigger on the inside that the generic tubs on the market but they are very expensive. In this case reglazing the tub is a viable option to the customer.

3. Character.
In older houses, modern fixtures actually clash with the character of the house. In these bathroom remodels the tubs are usually kept because they are so big and bold, especially if it is a claw foot tub. You can replace the tile, pedestal sink and toilet but if you change the tub it somehow does not look right.

OK, OK. But does the reglazing really work? My customer is going to spend thousands of dollars in material and labor to take this project on and hope this process works?

It all has to do with the materials I use and more importantly the preparation to make the coating bond. I have been reglazing tubs for 14 years, started with a company that serviced property management companies where quantify was more important than quality. My superior knew why my tubs did not fail as much as the other technicians; I was taking to long to do a job.

But this gave me a good reputation among the owners of the buildings as they requested that "Bill comes out to do the work".

My secret was in the way I prepared the surface of the tub, not taking the shortcuts that unfortunately most reglazers do. I also experimented with various coatings around the country to find the best product to use in peoples homes.

These are the steps to insure a good bond with your coating.

1. Cleaning the tub with an industrial cleaner.
Older tubs are normally worn and porous. This is why they are so hard to clean. An industrial cleaner acts like a degreaser and dissolves soap, oils and dirt. As I rinse the cleaner off I wet sand the surface of the tub to remove paint spots and calcium stains.

2. Acid washing the tub.
Porcelain is like glass. It is too glossy for any product to bond to it. Hydrofluoric Acid will lightly "ETCH" the surface of the tub.

Most companies skip this step for 2 reasons:

a. Saves time

b. Acid washing the tub has to be done very neatly as it will etch anything it comes in contact with. This is very important on a remodel, since the tub is reglazed last.

3. Repairing the surface.
The coatings used to reglaze bathtubs are not designed to fill in imperfections, rather to lay on a perfectly smooth, clean surface. A body filler (Bondo) is spread on the bottom and along the top ledges of the tub to fill in the porous areas. Once it dries the whole tub is sanded to smooth out the body filler and sand chalky areas of the tub from the acid washing.

Most companies skip this step because it is time consuming and if not done neatly can make a huge mess. Also if you do not etch porcelain, body fillers will not bond to them.

4. Adhesion promoter.
Not all tubs need an adhesion promoter. The newer tubs that are fired with China Porcelain (like a toilet) barley etch. Adhesion promoters help in these situations. I use a product that is sprayed in 2 coats.

Most companies use a tack rag with an adhesion promoter and just wipe it on the tub.

5. Primer.
It is very important that an "EPOXY" primer is used to bond to the tub. Nothing I have found performs better that epoxy.

Most companies do not primer to save time and money.

Once all these steps are taken, a good quality topcoat is all you need to make the tub look like a new one. Since most companies are trying to finish the job in 1 day they use accelerators in their topcoats to make them dry in as little as 4 hours.

But any chemist will tell you that slower cure times with coatings will create a better molecular bond thus producing a stronger coating on your tub.

If you look at this previous posting, you'll find that Bill did an excellent job of explaining the process and what to watch out for.
Unfortunately this is the case in the real world. Most reglazing companies do not etch and primer tubs and even more frustrating to customers do not honor their warranties.

Some coating companies don't help either as they promote products that cut out etching, primering and repairing. This technology is not perfected. These shortcuts will usually give the coating a life expectancy of 2 to 3 years or "just enough time for the customer to loose their invoice".

Most chemists that work at coating companies still say the best way to assure adhesion on porcelain is to etch, repair and primer the surface. However they are working every day for the miracle bonding agent that will work on glossy surfaces.

I reglaze allot of tubs that were reglazed before, most of them because they are peeling. Messy job too. You have to take a heavy bodied paint stripper (Jasco) and completely remove the old finish and start the job over from scratch.

I remember when I first started doing this for a living; a fellow reglazer told me "if you’re not doing 5 tubs a day, you’re not making money". 14 years later I still do 1 tub a day, I just don't redo them.

Here in California you can pay anywhere from $125 to $500 to have a tub reglazed.

$125 to $250
usually the 1st time business owner with the lowest price looking for jobs or large reglazing companies doing multiple jobs.

Both tend to be inexperienced in preparation and the products they are using. Tend to use products that are cheaper rather than better performing.

$275 to $350
usually the technician that breaks away from the big company and is making it, sole proprietors and franchises.

The only reason you are charging more is because you are setting the prices. Still have the 1st timers and new franchise owners with little or no experience, but this is where you will usually find the expertise if your lucky.

$375 to $500
Franchises that are mass marketing to home owners. The expert bids the job and sends the laborer to do the job.

In California there is so much work, you are depending on the person selling you the job. Honoring your work tends to be the exception rather than the rule. California contractors are required to warranty their jobs for observable defects for 4 years. Most Tub reglazers warranty their tubs for 5 years. You will find warranties from 3 to 10 years.

Earlier this summer I was doing a tub in a house and next door a tech from "Tub King" was also doing a tub. He proclaimed to me "If you're not charging $300 per tub, you don't know what you are doing"(I told him I was charging $275). The next day he was embarrassed when we looked at each others jobs and wanted to know what products I was using. In Pasadena, Tub King has 14 techs, who are all busting tail.

OK, OK, sounds like I am making your case for you. Let me tell you what you should be looking for in a reglazing job. First a good place to start is the internet. Search "bathtub reglazing" and review the many company’s web sites. Almost all of them will have FAQ sections in them. They are telling you what to ask a reglazer when they are trying to sell a job.

Ask the person who is trying to sell the job what kind of process they are using to reglaze a tub. You should hear from start to finish everything they do to complete your tub. The more thorough the explanation, chances are the better the tub will look and perform. Ask them very specific questions about the chemicals they are using. I would also ask how much experience they have and if they are licensed / bonded and if the person with the license will be doing the job. This person should have knowledge of tile cleaning and repairing, regrouting, recaulking, shower door installation and plumbing repairs.

A tell tale sign to question is someone who want to finish a job fast. If you are told a tub takes 2,3 or 4 hours to complete, they are trying to do more than 1 (or 2) jobs in a day. I laugh when companies advertise that you can pull the masking down the next day or charge you to caulk the tub upon completion. If you do not want your jobs to fail you should take care of things that your customer would expect you to do or would ruin the tub trying to do themselves. It takes me 5 to 8 hours to do a tub (due to repair, masking and ventilation situations) and I always return the following day to finish the job. A tub upon completion should have a very high gloss (without polishing) without runs or other imperfections in the coating. The entire surface of the tub should be coated evenly.

This year, California has a new classification, D-12, synthetic products for states contractors licenses. State law permits you to do any kind of work under $500 without a license / contract, so tub reglazing is viewed as Handyman work."

With the above being said, I'm still not a fan of this process, even when professionals do it. It is not considered a DIY project if you are looking for better than average results. The need for the right equipment, chemicals and how-to-do knowledge is something that I don't even have nor want to do.

Issues that make me not desire this nor recommend it is based on the following,

1. Water serves as a catalyst for a peeling reaction.

2. The smallest gap between the drain flange and the beginning of the porcelain will start a peeling reaction.
NOTE: It is impossible to mask the drain perfectly and consistently every time.

3. The drain is the most vulnerable part of the bathtub because of water activity.

4. Any object that falls in the tub, i.e., razors, shampoo bottles, hair brush, can cause chips or cracks in the epidermal or outside layer and start a peeling reaction.

5. If any residue is present after the etching process and is not wiped out, it will cause a break down in the chemical adhesion process thus starting a peeling reaction.

6. Temperature conditions play a big part in the success of refinishing. A tub should be at room temperature when painting. If a tub is too cold or too hot it will not allow the paint to adhere properly, thus causing a peeling reaction.

7. When applying the paint, if there are any bubbles or air pockets on the surface of the tub it will not allow the paint to maintain a constant chemical reaction, thus causing a breakdown and a peeling reaction.

8. Once a bathtub has been refinished it is very difficult to successfully refinish again. This is because of a major inconsistency with the surface of the tub.

9. When refinishing a bathtub, especially one in poor condition, a refinisher will have to apply generous amounts of paint over a damaged tub to hide its condition. This makes the bathtub extremely slippery.
NOTE: This is not the case every time. But most common with polyurethane base paint.

10. Refinishing is very sensitive to the slightest amount of abrasive and if used will cause a peeling reaction.

As most things are based on money, even trying to do this yourself will be costly and when done professionally, it is not long lasting - 2 - 4 years at the very best! When all is said and done, replacement is the best option.

Any accidents that you do, once they leave, will void the warranty. This is problem #1 and a major one. How one perceives what is covered under the warranty should be evident by the Do and Don't list they provided. You pretty much paid for them to be in your home and once they leave, usually you are stuck with any problems seen.

The idea of washing the dogs in the tub, the nails will be the biggest problem. The scratches they may make, may cut the surface and peeling action may develop as mentioned above.

Even simple suction cup bottom bath mats can cause problems if there is any voids or poor adhesion of the glazing. This is probably on your Don't list.

With all of these issues, it is an issue that you should re-think. I'm sorry that what you are experiencing is not out of the norm for most that get this done.

Hope this helps
Old 04-17-05, 01:44 PM
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Thanks for the information Doug, and I did read the very informative post prior to posting here.
I guess the reason we thought that we were stuck here is because it was previously done and the damage, pitted condition of the bottom of the bathtub was a major concern. In being so old, we would have run into alot of problems installing another bathtub, plumbing, breaking old tiles that we cannot match, etc.

If we were gutting the bathroom, and planning on staying here another 10 years I could see spending the money, retiling, or replacing the walls and removing all of the tile. However, with us staying another year to 2 year (last child at home is in college), it's just not worth the expense.

I am pleased to have a tub that is one color, so at least I suppose I can say that part is good. <g>

I'm trying to be optimistic here but I guess this is just a hard road to go down.

We, most women I know, use our bathtubs for many uses, much like my mother, ie: washing window blinds (mini blinds) to whatever is larger that needs to be dealt with, without taking it outside to care or clean. So to me, bathing a dog in it would be a natural thing.

I hadn't thought about his nails, Thanks for that thought! Perhaps I need to put a bath towel in the bottom of the tub before bathing him so he won't cut the surface. I know I can't use the bath mats with suction cups, I had read that before...and thought back to when my mother and father visited years ago. She was suffering from "like" alzheimers (memory problems) and I had purchased a bathmat so she wouldn't fall in our bathtub. I kept it in during her visit and when grandbabies came over to visit. I guess that probably helped speed up the peeling process, again, because I didn't know any better. And at that time hadn't heard of reglazed bathtubs.
I honestly thought that it was a normal bathtub, and should have realized that the blue on the sides was not old paint from the walls.

Thanks for all of your help on this and your thoughts, they are greatly appreciated. I guess it's "caviar emptor" in all facets of life. If anyone asks me, would I suggest this? I would honestly consider all of the facts before coming to the consulsion of reglazing. Especially ask them for the After Care Sheet of Information, BEFORE having the job done.
I don't want to babysit my bathtub and wiping it out with a towel after each use is a bit much to me.
Old 04-17-05, 01:53 PM
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Glad the information was helpful, unfortunately just late.

I understand the the tub is used for many uses but when one considers reglazing, the issue of what you can't do is more important than what you want to do.

Good Luck!
Old 04-17-05, 02:45 PM
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LOL That's the truth Doug,

Any more don'ts that you don't see listed? They suggested Simple Green (which I've never purchased until now). Is that among a list of accepted that you are aware of?
Thanks again for all that you do to help us out, it's GREATly appreciated!
Old 04-17-05, 02:54 PM
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Is this standard warranty for bathtub refinish Doug

Here is the info on Care, etc after having it refinished. (sorry if typo's)

Care and Maintenance Form for Tubs and Showers

Due to the non-porous surface of the finish, there is no need to use abrasive cleaners. Any household liquid detergent will give excellent results. To remove mineral stains, use a mild acid solution such as a liquid bowl cleaner.

All organic coatings must cure. They start to cure from the time of application for a total of several weeks.

1. Do not use the surface for 24 hours from the time of refinishing.
2. Do not leave soap, bottles, or any objects on the finish at any time.
3. Do not use abrasive cleaners. No S-O-S pads, Comet, or Soft Scrub.
4. Do not use bath mats with suction cups.
5. Leaky faucets must be repaired.
6. Any surface dust will dissipate in 3-4 weeks with normal cleaning. Do not pick surface dust with your fingers.

1. The best way to keep your tub clean is to wipe it down with a towel after use.
2. Good cleaners to use: Simple Green, Lysol Basin & Tile, Dow, Mr Clean liquid and Fantastic.
3. Recommended that you polish tub five days after refinishing.

XXXX gives warranty for your tub against peeling or lifting for 5 years from 4-6-05.
Warranty does not cover abuse to your tub such as scratching or chipping.

end of document

Is that pretty standard?
Old 04-17-05, 03:08 PM
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So when you consider what you pay to reglaze, think about the warranty period, then think about what you can't do, is it really all worth it?

I do realize that cost is a concern for many of us. Then again, regardless if you sell the home in 2 years or 10, what will you be passing on to others or yourself?

Nothing will replace an "original" fixture. Whether it be a cast iron, steel or a good acrylic unit, it will definitely outlast a reglaze when you consider a new unit can take more punishment. Of course, everything has its limitations and we all should know how to take care of something that can be costly to replace. Unfortunately, we take allot of things for granted and always complain that it failed. Most failing from our own misgivings but we like to blame everything on someone else.

Lessons learned and hopefully never repeated.
Old 04-17-05, 03:33 PM
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I agree with what you said completely.

I wanted to gut it and start new but someone else wasn't with me on that, and the expense, we have major plumbing problems now so that's my next have to fix area. I did what I had to in order to make this bathtub livable.

I have the same feelings, do I tell the next homeowner, Oh, Hey the bathtub is refinished and here's your warranty and your do's and don'ts list?

That leaves me in a bad position and then again, it's the position that the last one left me in. Did I appreciate it, Nope, not at all.

So ... what can you do?
Ethically, Morally - who's to say.
A delima for sure.

Each house we've lived in prior to this one, we've gutted the bathroom and redone. I think this one is beautiful with the old original tiles on the wall. Over half of the bathroom is tiled up to 5', good solid work, decent workmanship. I know many are updating and removing things and others restoring.

I didn't have the heart to take out the old ceramic gas heater in the bathroom wall either, which he would have insisted on if we gutted it. The tile is surrounding that as well. Do you remember those with the 2 ceramic heating elements? They are beautiful and much in demand by some apparently. So many things come around again.

Ok here's another for you.

I have blue bullnosed tiles & blue border tiles around the bathroom, and there is a dividing wall at the head of the shower which separates the shower from the toilet area. Two more sets of blue bullnosed tiles running floor to ceiling.

We were thinking of resurfacing the blue and changing it to white. Of course I don't believe I'll do it now, after what all I've learned. Wouldn't I run in to the same situation as the bathtub, ie: if it were bumped with a foot, or item, it would seem as if it would peel, scratch, etc. Correct?

Thanks for everything Doug.
Old 04-17-05, 04:08 PM
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You're very welcome!

If you had intentions of doing other work within this bathroom, like the plumbing, it appears that you started it in reverse. You are spending more time and money and just receiving more headaches by not doing it right in the first place. (no offense)

What we do to try and save money, almost never seems to give us the desired results. We try and shave a dollar or two here and there and it seems that it never really feels "right".

If the plumbing is bad and this also includes the tub/bathroom area, it would have made more sense to gut it, install new plumbing, upgrade electrical and then retile with new fixtures. As in most cases, save a buck and regret it later. I hope you have good access to the tub faucet assembly but I am assuming that you have a 3 hole setup.

With some good imagination, you could retile to a look similar to what you have. I would not do reglazing of the walls but you decide what you what to deal with.

Good Luck!

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