When addressing a bathroom project, cost will inevitably determine the route one chooses as to whether to replace or refinish the bathtub. While the investment in bathtub refinishing may sound expensive compared to the cost of buying a new bathtub, one must always remember the labor involved. The actual work is what determines the cost far beyond materials. Just as the same is true that a twenty dollar part for your car may run you hundreds of dollars, such is the case in both bathtub refinishing and replacement.
A common phrase that bathtub refinishers hear from potential customers is, “I can buy a new tub for half that price.” Another one often stated is, “That sure is an expensive price to paint something.” What both of these expressions have in common is that these particular customers never take into consideration the amount of work involved and the time it takes to do so. Just as bathtub replacement requires a great amount of work in both removing the old bathtub and putting the bathtub in place, bathtub refinishing requires in-depth preparation to ensure the procedure is performed properly.
First let’s look at what is involved in bathtub replacement. Most scenarios consist of a large, heavy cast-iron bathtub set in place and surrounded by ceramic tile. Taking the tub out of it place can require many facets. It may be necessary to remove irreplaceable tile and hope it doesn’t get broken in the process. Oftentimes, these older bathtubs have to be demolished and broken into several pieces with a sledgehammer in order to take it out of the narrow doorway. Then the new bathtub has to be set and tile then replaced. Finally, there is the expense of disposing of the old refuse. When all is said and done a bathtub that is priced between $100 and $200 can cost $1,000 to $2,000 just to install. Then you must take into account that the newer bathtubs are not as sturdy as their ancestors; in several years you may be faced with the dilemma of whether to go through the hassle of replacement again or refinishing an inferior bathtub.
Now let’s examine bathtub refinishing. First understand that this process is not merely coating the existing porcelain with paint. The enamel is a highly durable acrylic urethane made to withstand standard bathtub use. It can be compared more to painting an automobile than to painting a wall in your home. Though there are certain restrictions on cleaners that one may use, a refinished bathtub can endure everyday bathing, hot water temperatures and normal cleaning. All of these can be considered abuse to the finest of bathtubs. And with this in mind, before a bathtub can be refinished all of the mistreatment and its remnants must be addressed. Bathtubs can collect years of soap scum, body oils and cleanser residue trapped beneath the pours of the surface. They can also be subject to deep pitting and staining as a result of the protective coating wearing away. Before the first coat of enamel can be applied, each bathtub has to be cleaned thoroughly. A hydrofluoric acid must then be used to not only etch the surface but to kill any residing bacteria.
There can also be unforeseen situations a bathtub refinisher must deal with, including a dripping faucet or a clogged drain which leaves standing water in the bathtub.
Only after the surface is completely clean, dry and free from debris, the bathtub must be masked off so that no other area beyond the bathtub is refinished.
Finally the enamel is sprayed on in several coats giving you a glossy new looking finish.
When all is said and done, with cost of materials and labor, one should expect to pay between $300 and $400. Comparatively speaking, one can refinish their bathtub five times before ever spending the money it would cost to replace their bathtub once.
All in all, bathtub refinishing makes the most sense in terms cost effectiveness. More over, refinishing your bathtub allows you to keep your original heavy-duty bathtub that is no longer available to be purchased in today’s market. And finally choosing to refinish your bathtub will ensure that you maintain the integrity of your bathroom. When it comes to a decision as to whether to replace or refinish a bathtub, the people of Atlanta choose bathtub refinishing hands down.