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 here.you 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.
The 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.