How to Reglaze Your Bathtub

Originally posted on April 29, 2022 3:00 pm
Updated on April 26, 2022 3:32 pm

No matter how many times you scrub that bathtub, it will show some wear and tear over time. This can be an eyesore for some that cannot stand to look at stains and rust regardless of the hours spent on your hands and knees. If you are the type of person that needs a spotless clean surface to survive, then tub reglazing may be something to consider. 

Bathtub reglazing is a process in which the surface is refreshed after being worn or damaged to make it look brand new. The change can be pretty drastic to the eye and the difference can be considered night and day for not too high of a cost. Tub reglazing only has a few stages and would not be as labor intensive as replacing the entire bathtub. A replacement would consider a team of workers to remove the tub, carry it out, then a plumber coming in to put in a new tub. However, reglazing only requires one or two technicians with minimal tools in your bathroom for a few days. 

To start, you must find a company that will reglaze your tub for you. These are easily accessible with a simple Google search and most listings will have a plethora of reviews to sift through. As previously mentioned, reglazing a tub is much cheaper than replacing the entire thing. A full replacement will cost roughly $3,000 whereas reglazing typically costs less than $1,000. After you find a company that will reglaze within your price range they will come in and get it done quickly. 

What are the Steps to Tub Reglazing?

The first step is removing the drain. This step is not truly necessary but it will improve the coating lifespan. From there, the reglazing technicians will repair any damaged areas within the bathtub and look to see if there are any parts of the tub that hold water even after draining. Any cracks or chips will be repaired with Bondo or some sort of polyester putty.

Once the repairs are finished they will go in with an acid etching mixed with sanding which will give the surface of the tub mechanical adhesion while cleaning the surface. Not only this, but the process will also provide porcelain, enamel, and fiberglass tubs with a porous surface that allows for proper adhesion. There is also another way to create suitable adhesion which is applying a bonding agent such as silane before coating. These two methods can be used together or independently.

Once the surface is prepared the workers will mask any and all areas that will be affected by overspray and also set up a professional exhaust system to mitigate any fumes from the chemicals that will be applied. It also prevents explosions or fires that are a hazard with this process. Primer is then applied then followed by a topcoat. The coating is around 5-8 mils thick when cured which ensures long term results. To do this, they must apply 2 coats of primer and 3 coats of top coat. It may be able to be done with less, but it depends on the company that is doing it and their experience. Once the spraying process is complete then the reglazing technician will clean up all equipment, install a new caulk line, and replace the drain. 

What are the Possible Hazards Associated with Reglazing?

There are some hazards that come with reglazing your tub which are important to be aware of. According to the Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation, there have been a total of 14 worker fatalities since 2000 resulting from the use of methylene chloride used in bathtub reglazing. There are products that contain a high amount of this chemical due to its’ ability to strip surfaces. If you or the people reglazing your tub were to inhale these fumes without proper ventilation it could affect brain function over time and become permanently detrimental. Exposure to this chemical could also cause temporary dizziness, fatigue, headache, nausea, severe sinus irritation, and in some cases chemical burn. It is important to ensure that the proper precautions are taken when reglazing a tub to avoid harm to you and others in the household.  

Final Steps for Tub Reglazing?

The final step is after-care. Professional reglazers will usually provide their customers with instructions as well as warranty information in case things do not go as planned. You will have to clean the tub adequately to prevent a voided warranty. Cleaning can be done by using a mild dish-soap like Dawn. You can plug the drain so that the tub holds some water, fill it so the bottom is covered, put in dish-soap, and scrub the tub with a sponge. You can let the cleaner sit for about 20 minutes for maximized results. Double check with the company on how to clean a reglazed tub, but this procedure is pretty standard and should be adequate enough for proper aftercare. 

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