The sight of a stained, yellowish, and dilapidated old bathtub is truly an eyesore. Surely, these bathtub problems make homeowners want to give it a total makeover either by replacing or refinishing it.
Both options have its merits but oftentimes, bathtub refinishing is the preferred method of budget-conscious homeowners because accomplishing is not much of a hassle and it is incredibly cost-effective. Not to mention, unlike bathtub liners, resurfacing is not just a temporary fix–it is a long-term solution!
However, bathtub refinishing is not always the answer. In this guide, we will tackle several instances wherein bathtub refinishing may not be the right fix for your bathtub problems.
When the Tub has Deep Cracks
Take note that refinishing works by adding a fresh new coat made of acrylic, polyurethane or urethane products on the existing surface of your tub. This means that it only covers visual imperfections in your tub such as discolorations, stains, etc.
However, if the structural integrity of your bathtub is compromised in the first place, then refinishing it alone will be futile. For instance, if it has cracks that cause leaks, the bathtub will still leak even after the refinishing process. Even worse, the crack and damage may enlarge because of the stress the bathtub was put under during the refinishing process.
Two Types of Bathtub Cracks
There are two types of cracks that can form on bathtubs: web-like cracks and structural cracks.
The first type–web-like cracks–forms on the surface due to the gel coat drying out over time. Usually, these web-like cracks happen after you have used your tub for a long period of time.
Fortunately, this crack is only present on the surface, so it can be easily fixed by filling it with a special putty and as long as you are able to sand it down and get that surface smooth, you are all set for refinishing.
The second type of crack is the structural crack. This kind of damage cannot be fixed simply by resurfacing. While resurfacing can mask these cracks for a while, in the long term, this solution will not resolve the underlying problem.
After all, bathtub refinishing simply covers the structural cracks but does not deal with the underlying cause of those cracks. Put simply, it only acts as a cosmetic fix. For this kind of damage, you need true crack, chip, and hole repair.
Fortunately, if the crack or damage is not too severe, it can be easily repaired by using two-component epoxy bathtub repair kits. Moreover, it is a standard procedure for professional refinishing companies to first assess and repair any bathtub cracks and damages before proceeding with the resurfacing.
However, if the extent of the damage is truly severe, replacing the damaged bathtub may be more worthwhile than repeatedly fixing any cracks that will appear due to the bad structural integrity of the tub itself.
How to Repair Shallow or Surface-level Cracks
- Go to your local hardware store to purchase a two-component epoxy bathtub repair kit. Take note that the key to a successful DIY tub repair is to make sure you are using the right repair kit for your tub. It has to be a product compatible with or especially made for with the material of your tub. This is because different surfaces are going to require different types of epoxy. There are epoxy repair kits available for porcelain, enamel, ceramic, acrylic, and fiberglass bathtubs, so be sure to purchase the right variation.
- Clean the surface to be repaired thoroughly and carefully before you apply the epoxy. If you are just repairing a small area in the tub, you do not have to clean the whole tub. Instead, just clean the surrounding area you are repairing. Wash away soap scum and other residues, then sand the area. After that, clean it again with a clean cloth soaked with rubbing alcohol.
- Read the directions on the label of the two-component epoxy kit you bought. Usually though, all it takes is to mix the two components together in a mixing tray with a small stirring stick. Then, using a small spatula, scoop small amounts of the mixed epoxy and fill the damaged area. Add thin layers of epoxy one at a time and smooth them in one direction.
- Once you have applied the patch, let it sit and dry for the length of time recommended on the package. This might take anywhere from a few hours to a full day. Finally, once the patch is dry, sand it gently with 400- or 600-grit sandpaper, just until it feels as smooth as the rest of the tub.
When the Tub is Rusty
Rust is another serious issue that can plague bathtub users because once it starts spreading, it will keep on spreading to the rest of the tub like malignant cancer cells. Furthermore, rust cannot be contained without complete removal.
While refinishing the tub can be used to extend the lifespan of the bathtub, it will not be a permanent solution when the rust sets in the tub.
If it is just the surface of your tub that is rusting, then you are in luck because surface rust can be removed by mixing equal parts baking soda and vinegar then letting it sit in the rusty area for several hours. Alternatively, you can also use commercial rust removers and pumice stone to scrub out the problematic areas.
However, take note that if you do not fix surface rust as soon as possible, it can quickly become a much bigger problem. On the other hand, if the rust is underneath the tub and it has already created holes, it is probably too late and you might have no choice but to replace the whole thing.
Refinish Your Tub Only When It Is Worth It
Refinishing your old tub’s surface is a truly cost-effective and long-lasting fix for your bathtub’s cosmetic problems. However, just like anything else, it is not a fix-all solution for every bathtub problem you may encounter.
Thus, it is advisable to opt for refinishing only when it is worth it–that is when your tub is in good working condition and you are only dealing with cosmetic imperfections. That said, if you are looking for a reliable bathtub refinishing company, look no further because Wilmington Tub Reglazing is here to help you.
We offer the best service on tile and tub repair, reglazing, and refinishing, and many more. Our services have satisfied countless customers and will continue to do so, given our meticulous process of transforming your dated tub into one with a glossy and smooth surface.
Call us today at (302) 600-1635 for a free estimate!
Also read this article How to Reglaze a Fiberglass Bathtub: 5 Primary Steps