Bathtub Refinishing 101
Before you rip out that ugly and nasty porcelain bathtub and replaced it with a new fiberglass unit, consider having your porcelain tub reglazed instead. If you are a bath lover, a fiberglass tub just doesn't feel the same as settling down into a real porcelain tub. A porcelain tub will last longer, and the water will stay hotter longer as well. Here is a look at five key components of bathtub refinishing.
Like many home remodeling projects, the surface preparation is the key to a successful job. Without it, the reglazing process isn't likely to be a lasting success. In order for adhesion to occur, the surface must be properly prepared. Just as wooden furniture is sanded before it is refinished with new stain or paint, so must your porcelain tub. Porcelain, however, cannot be adequately sanded. Instead, chemicals are used to etch the surface and abrade the enamel.
Strip The Coating
If the tub has been previously reglazed, the repair work must be completely removed. This is especially true if the job was done poorly and it is now peeling and flaking. Just as you wouldn't paint over a house or piece of furniture that has peeling a paint, a tub should not be reglazed, either.
Apply The Primer
As any good painter will tell you, the primer is an important part of the process. While reglazing a tub isn't quite same as painting, it is similar. A polyester bonding primer will provide extra assurance your new coat of enamel will adhere properly. Your tub may also require any deep gouges and chips o be repaired.
Usually, three or four coats of paints are applied. Ample drying time must be allowed in between coats to make sure the paint doesn't bubble or chip in the future.
Apply The Protective Top Coat
In order to keep your new enamel coating in top condition, it's important the entire tub is given a top coat. This will protect the enamel from dings, chips, and peeling. It will also ensure it is protected over the years from caustic chemicals typically used for cleaning the tub. Additionally, the right top coat will keep its luster for years to come, giving it a shiny surface that keeps it looking like new. A quality top coat will also repel water, which in turn will reduce water spots, especially when hard water is used.