Bathtub Repair – Your Choices Explained

Bathtub repair

With the growing number of people staying in their current homes rather than building or buying a new home, repairs and upgrades on these existing homes continue to rise. Whether it’s the DIY consumer or the small repair contractor, finding a way to beautify your bathroom for an affordable amount of money is a challenge. One of the biggest pieces of any bathroom is “THE BATHTUB” and it unfortunately gets very little love.

Bathtub repair and/or remodel encompasses several actual repair possibilities and we’ll go through each of those possibilities in following sections.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. If you have to repair or replace your bathtub or bathtub drain you can have a plumbing professional remove the old cast iron, steel or fiber glass tub and drain and replace with new. It is the best way to completely renew your tub and drain but it can be expensive and that’s not what we want to hear right?

Reasons for Bathtub Repair

So here are the different issues that arise that would cause a home/condo or apartment owner to repair their tubs in some way.

  • The finish is damaged. On an enameled steel or cast iron tub the finish could be pitted beyond polishing or the enamel could be wearing off or chipping. On a gel coat acrylic or fiberglass tub the finish could be dull or damaged beyond polishing.
  • The tub over flow drain could be leaking or the finish could be pitted or peeling.
  • A home owner could have a harvest gold, olive green or rose colored bath fixture. Do we have to elaborate?

Bathtub Repair Options

Here are some of the different avenues the consumer can walk down when looking for ways to repair their bathtub or tub overflow and drain. We’ll start at the simple and end with the pricier and more complex.

  • If your waste and over flow is leaking at the gasket (most common) you can replace with a waste and over flow repair kit. You have three choices can replace the whole waste and overflow.
  • you can buy a waste and overflow repair kit that requires you back out the whole drain from the drain shoe. (You risk damaging the drain shoe)
  • you can buy a tub drain repair kit like The Ultimate Tub Drain remodel kit that repairs the waste and overflow gasket if there is a problem and allows you to replace the drain by inserting a new lift and turn drain into the old opening.

All three choices will fix and freshen the look of your tired old bathtub.

The next choice you have is finding a tub refinishing kit that allows you to put a new finish on an old enameled steel or cast iron tub. Basically it’s a brush on, roll-on or spray-able acrylic paint. That is a generalization but that’s it in a nut shell.

Here are a couple of professional bits of advice, if you brush it on or roll it on it will look like you rolled it or brushed it on. The kits available say they are self leveling but the only way to get an even finish close to the look of your original tub is to spray it on.

Bathtub repairThe next bit of advice is that surface preparation is “the” most important step of the resurfacing process. Diluted hydrofluoric acid is the professionals choice when it come to surface prep. Even if you paint it on and it doesn’t look like a pro applied it, if the surface is prepped correctly you’ll have a surface that will last. You can also use a tub drain repair kit to give your newly refinished tub some real pop. If done correctly it will look like you just put in a new tub. Just as an addition to the above, they do make refinishing kits with the acrylic paint in a spray can….yes just like spray paint. We’ve never used this but all the tubs we’ve seen looked like you spray painted the tub. Some look perfectly acceptable but again they look nothing like a re-glazed tub.

Staying on the tub refinishing topic, you can pay to have a professional refinish your tub. Some of the refinishing we have seen over the years would astonish you. We’ve had 70 year old cast iron farm sinks re-glazed and you would be hard pressed to pick the old from the new if put next to one another. You will get what you pay for in this situation. Tub refinishing will cost anywhere between $250.00 and $450.00 dollars.

The next option you have is getting an acrylic tub insert that fits into and over your existing tub. They offer tub liners that are manufactured using exact molds of the existing tub so there is virtually no gap between the liner and tub.

These services offer upgrades like color matched acrylic wall coverings, new tub drain and over flow cover or if the tub/shower trim is in bad shape all new trim. In the last couple of years the number of colors and options have gotten quite extensive. For instance you can get a solid color tub with beveled edges and a contrasting wall color with an aggregate look similar to a solid surface counter top.  There are many services out there that do this type of work and for the most part they do it well.

A couple things to point out about having a tub liner installed. The biggest issue homeowners have with liners is water getting under them at either the waste and overflow or at the tub drain. The Ultimate Overflow Gasket itself will take care of any potential leaks at the overflow connection however the drain needs to have some type of mechanical connection to connect it to the existing drain shoe so there is no gap between the liner and tub drain.

All of the above will help you revitalize your bath and in some cases save you quite a bit of money. As always if you have any questions, comments or need clarification please leave a comment. We check them daily.



  1. The repair and/or refinishing of the surface of a bathtub or shower varies in complexity based on the specifics of the situation. Simple jobs can often be accomplished as a do-it-yourself project. However, large or complicated problems are best performed by experienced, professional repair contractors. Multi-Tech Products specializes in bath and spa repair products and is the leading global supplier of surface repair materials to the original equipment manufacturer and professional repair contractors in these markets. MTP has been in business since 1992, and supplies different systems for each of these markets based on their unique requirements. We have the most complete surface repair products available in the industry. We work closely with the individuals and manufacturers to create the best color-matched coatings, as well as systems that deliver the best performance in the application. We offer products, procedures, and training aids to accomplish a high-quality professional repair. We have the capability to match virtually any color ever sold in the market if the customer can provide the identification necessary. Repair is normally a four step process: 1) prepare the surface for application of the repair products, 2) apply a high performance filler, 3) apply the color coating, and 4) apply a clear topcoat to protect the repair from the environment. We also supply professional repair contractors with materials to re-surface a bath or spa, and products to replace the bottom of a bathtub that has developed cracks due to inadequate bottom support. In addition, we have coatings that can be applied to create a non-skid surface for improved safety. You can learn more about our products and capabilities at our website, You may also contact us at 800-218-2066 to locate a repair professional in your area.
    We also serve the DIY and retail markets with products that are suited for use by less skilled people to make easy surface repairs. Information on these products can be found at our website,
    The bottom line is that people needing to repair a bath product should trust the company used by the professionals and manufacturers to deliver the best possible surface repair assistance.

    1. Hey Rob, thanks for the response we are glad you found us. I’m a big fan of surface refinishing when it’s done by someone who knows what they’re doing. I’ve seen 70 year old enameled cast iron look like it just came out of production. It is that impressive. However there are quite a few people out there that don’t know what they’re doing and sometimes it gives the resurfacing/refinishing biz a black eye.


  2. Yes, the resurfacing of a bathtub is a craft that is learned and perfected by the individual technician. Preparation, spraying ability and high quality materials is all part of achieving professional long lasting results. There are many companies out there offering this service, one can expect to get what they pay for and as you suggest above the average cost should dictate the quality of the work. It is best to seek out a service that has many years behind them and gives referrals and or you can find good quality from some of the franchised repair and resurface companies.

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