Help! Bathtub refinishing, bathroom drain, and hall ceiling?

galleyetteFebruary 18, 2010

Small problem, big post. Sorry!

Picture an old cast iron inset tub (not clawfoot), probably original to the house, built in 1928. The finish on the tub was completely shot, and 12 years ago, we had it resurfaced. The chrome flange around the drain had corroded, and I asked the refinisher if he could remove and replace it. He discovered that a metal '+' down in the drain that would allow him to torque that threaded piece out had been removed. He said he could paint it white like the rest of the tub, but the chances were the finish would not adhere to metal indefinitely.

He was right.

At this point, the finish on the whole tub needs to be redone again. They warned us that we had to use a bath mat 'with holes in it'. I looked long and hard for such a thing, and when I finally found it, it didn't have enough adhesion to keep someone from slipping. Any kind of suction cup eventually helps to compromise and discolor the finish, and now here we go again...

I don't want to rip out this big old second floor tub for all the reasons I didn't want to 12 years ago. I have found a refinisher who is suggesting a process that means stripping the old finish off, applying some kind of pebbled coat to the bottom of the tub that they have used for years in big hotels (thereby eliminating the bath mat issue), and repainting the tub. So far, so good.

The stripping process will take off all the old white finish and reveal that ugly part-chrome/part-copper base metal that was there before. If I want the drain piece replaced I have to find a plumber, and make sure that he has an expensive 'expansion wrench' that will enable him to get the old one out. I found one who said he had a wrench that would do it (I think he called it an 'in and out'), but that there was always the risk in old houses of messing up the plumbing in the floor. He was happy to hear that it's on the second floor, so that if he had to, he could "go up through the ceiling". ARGH!

Now I'm scared. I called other plumbers and plumbing supply places. Someone said the cheap fix would be to find some kind of big stopper, but honestly, the bathroom is only used by kids, who only use the shower function and never bathe (that doesn't sound good ..)

Any ideas? Is there such a thing as chrome paint? All input is appreciated.

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By the time you add up all of the cheap fixes, you could have done it correctly in the beginning. Your last bandaid is already well beyond it's expiration date. It's time to fix it right. Replace the tub and associated drain. Replace the shower diverters to the new ones with anti scald technology.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 7:50PM
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What company are you using?
DS had tubs in two separate homes refinished and for the drain they used a pop-in drain cover to replace/cover the old one. I think she had a choice of chrome or the same color as the tub.

I'm pretty sure she used Miracle Method each time. BTW, there was no stripping off the old finish.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tub refinishing

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 7:58PM
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The only reason the old finish has to come off is because it's not original. The tub has already been re-done once. Thanks for the link, I'll check it out,

Live Wire Oak,

I take your point, believe me. But while replacing the tub would be sensible, it would be neither cheap, nor easy.

It won't fit through the bathroom doorway, and will have to be broken up with a sledge hammer, and the shards and pieces carried downstairs, over newly refinished hardwood floors, out to a rented dumpster on the street. Then the surround would have to be re-tiled (and even the ceiling's tiled). Then the tile floor would have to go because the tub's an odd shape, and the flooring tile goes under a working radiator (also cast iron) and continues part way up the wall.

Trust me, adding up the 'cheap fixes' will amount to a fraction of the cost of gutting everything.

This is Pandora's bathroom...

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 9:26PM
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I think I may have a solution, at least for the short term.

Something called a Flip-It sits in the drain 24/7 and is removed only for cleaning (ponytail removal, LOL).

That would cover up the unsightly corroded drain flange, without destroying the house in the process. If someone wants to have a bath instead of a shower, they just 'flip-it'.

Here is a link that might be useful: Flip-It bathtub drain plug

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 11:21PM
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