Should I refinish this tub?

ivesterAugust 26, 2014

Help!! I can't decide whether I should refinish/reglaze this old corner apron tub I decided to keep for my bathroom reno. The entire bathroom is entirely new, except for the tub and tub faucet. As I am reading how delicate refinished tubs are, I am hesitant to make the move. What would you suggest? Attached is a picture of the tub cleaned to the best I can.

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dkotov

we refinished ours and after 6-7 years it started to pill the paint

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 4:43PM
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monicakm_gw

Is this going to be in a bathroom that's used regularly? In a kid's bathroom? I only recently found out how delicate the finish could be or is. I'd be afraid if it was a daily used tub.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 10:10PM
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ivester

@thedork do you regret it?
@monicakm we have a separate shower stall and no kids now but in a few years, hope to be bathing them in the tub.
should i still be afraid?

Is it just more practical to have a dirty looking tub?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 11:59PM
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badgergal

We refinished a tub that was almost 100 years old in a condo we owned. It was used daily for showering by my daughter and her two roommates for 4 years. The top edges on the corners had some minor spots were the new finish was missing. The girls always had multiple bottles of "product" on these ledges and rarely wiped off water left standing on the corners under the bottles. I think that might have caused the damage. The bottom and sides of the tub held up well for those 4 years. I touched up the damaged spots with some white appliance paint. When we sold the condo there were no negative comments made to the realtors about the tub by potential buyers. I am sure no when but I knew where the touched up spots were. I wonder how the tub has held up now that it has been almost 10 years.
I imagine the success of the refinished tub depends on the quality of the refinishing process. I do recall that some strong smelling chemical was used when prepping for the finish and I think the finish itself probably had some high VOCs. It took a few days for the smell to dissipate but no one was living in the unit at the time. The refinisher we used had been in business for many years and appeared to take great pride in his work.
Overall we had no regrets about refinishing the tub.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 8:06AM
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geoffrey_b

It's just paint. Get a new tub!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 12:37PM
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monicakm_gw

ivester, you should do some more research on the subject. I have no experience, just read a few accounts on line about the need to exercise more precaution when dealing with a refinished tub. I found it while looking for a tub for our up and coming remodel of DH's bathroom. He likes his 33 year old porcelain enameled tub so I looked into possibly having it refinished. He doesn't "pamper" things so I backed off of that idea.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 12:40PM
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writersblock

Refinishing is very much a luck-of-the-draw situation. There are folks here who are very happy, but I've never personally seen a refinished tub that wasn't ready for the scrap heap nor known anyone who didn't regret it.

Before refinishing, you might want to investigate ROG, a super heavy-duty (and expensive!) cleaner recommended by Kohler. No personal experience, but the people at retrorenovation seem to think well of it.

Here is a link that might be useful: rog website

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 12:44PM
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raee_gw

My tub is pitted and worn, so another cleaner would not be much help.

Are all refinishing methods the same?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 12:56PM
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geoffrey_b

@raee: "Are all refinishing methods the same?"

As I said: It's just paint.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 1:23PM
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ivester

Thanks all for the feedback! I think I've decided not to refinish it based on the amount of care needed. What I will do is try cleaning with bar keepers friend and a magic eraser. I read it does wonders. If it doesn't work, I will try ROG, I never heard of it but it can't be more expensive than a new tub or refinishing can it?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 1:45PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Ivester- You can find some very good looking bathmats to put in there to distract eyes from the other stains. Little slippery bottoms on children will need that so they don't slip around. It is a fun looking rounded vintage bathtub, and except for the stains on the bottom, it looks very nice there, so keep it for those future kids.

-Babka

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 1:59PM
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writersblock

>What I will do is try cleaning with bar keepers friend and a magic eraser. I read it does wonders.

Yes on the BKF, no on the eraser. The magic eraser will temporarily make the tub look great, but it works by abrasion and you're just scraping off more of the finish every time you use one.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 1:47PM
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ivester

Writersblock, had no idea! Do you recommend just using regular green scrub pads? Or what is non abrasive?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 9:45PM
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writersblock

Yes, something like a scrubby or a scotch-brite sponge, any of the normal ones. Theoretically you could remove finish with them, too, if you rubbed hard enough, but a magic eraser is much more abrasive than any of those, and you'd have to really lean in to remove any surface with the others.

That's why the eraser does such a great job--it just abrades off the problem area. I've seen people take the finish right off furniture with one not very hard swipe with them, or wreck the surface of a newish acrylic tub. They're super in the right circumstances, but not when you're trying to protect a tub surface

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 10:06PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

A soft cloth and the Bar Keepers' Friend. Let the product scrub... not an abrasive sponge. You can always go rougher with a soft scrub for teflon pans, but even that might be too much. I can use BKF on my glass cooktop, but NOT with a blue Scotch Brite. Go easy first. You can always get more abrasive, but you cannot go the other way in this case.

-Babka

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 11:19PM
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writersblock

Wise words, Babka.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 11:02AM
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ivester

thanks Babka and writersblock! I just bought BKF today and will try first with a microfiber cloth. Will post pictures of final results!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 10:16PM
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Trebruchet

"It's just paint."

If you define paint as a coating that is mechanically and chemically bonded to a surface and can't be scraped off with a razor blade, then I suppose so. Check out the videos in the link:

Here is a link that might be useful: Refinish

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 8:55AM
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jerzeegirl

I would use something like Ajax with chlorine. Make a paste as slather it on the bottom of the tub. Wait a while and sponge it off.

I am also wondering if you can spray the bottom with one of those slip proof surface products. The ones I have seen cover the whole bottom of the tub with a thick layer of substance that might be able to cover the stains (and you won't slip in the tub!).

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 5:40PM
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oldfixer

For DIY refinish, it's an immense project. I spent weeks sanding mine to break the glaze. Scrub it some more, Rinse it again. With proper prep, the special expoxy coating will stick. And STINK! Investment? Maybe $40. No regrets. It's the only tub I have.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 6:38PM
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tim45z10

I dont see any chips. Clean it. Put down a mat as suggested. Even if it takes a while and you have to customize it.
The dollars spent on a change doesnt seem worth it. Dont epoxy coat it. Expecting a new tub to slide right in without modifications, to the plumbing or wall, is a dream.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 7:16PM
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