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