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You can probably say this about a lot of things, but tubs–they simply don’t make ‘em like they used to. For the bigger part of the past century, tubs were formed from cast iron and coated with porcelain enamel. Bathrooms were assembled around them. These baths were considerably deeper and so more encouraging than the baths you’d find today. The dominant color for bathtubs is white and it is nearly the only method to really go.
With the 60s and 70s arrived the exploration of bathroom fixtures in browns, beige, pastels, and the like. Despite these poor alternatives, bathtubs in this age were still really nicely made. Tubs in steel seemed, while construction shifted to comprise lightweights like acrylic, and in design, these steel tubs were even sometimes sculptural and elegant like the cast irons.
Cast iron is generally heralded for its indestructibility, even when rust might set in. It’s a close relative in steel, in fact just slight tweaks in composition would turn one into the other. While steel is heavy, cast iron is heavier, and tubs made of these alloys ultimately last well beyond their finish.
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For just these reasons, you might decide to refinish a tub. While those with a timeless clawfoot refinish hope to attain a vintage feel, any kind of bath may be refinished. This post focus on the redo of an alcove bath, by far the most commonly installed bathtub.
Tools Stuff Skill Level Estimated Time
• Utility knife • Acid-Based commercial cleaner Advanced 4 to 8 Hours
Acid etching paste
• Shop Vac • Plastic sheeting
• Stiff bristle brush • Builders paper
Polish pads and • Buffing • Sandpaper
Canvas drop cloth
Towels and • Rags • Two-Part fiberglass repair putty
Shop towels or • Paper • Tack cloth
• Little mixing trough •
Specialty acrylic urethane OR acrylic aliphatic polyurethane OR white paint and high gloss polyurethane
• Electrical paint sprayer • Denatured alcohol
• Caulk gun • Silicone caulk
• Plumbing tools
Bathtub Refinishing Concerns
Off Site or In Place?
Cast iron and steel baths are incredibly heavy as mentioned previously, and you’ll need a hand, at least three, deliver and to remove them to a refinishing works. In the case of an alcove tub, one that is “built-in,” it is typically best to approach it while it is still in position.
A refinishing works may commonly begin with a process called “dunking” or stripping the initial finish. After stripped, your bath may again have a porcelain enamel applied before it’s finally re-fired in a kiln. Similar coatings can be implemented onsite; stripping, nevertheless, is replaced with other way of prep.
Will You Replace Hardware?
Working under the premise that once (re)ended, you’ll have a brand new look tub. It may be rewarding to plan for an update of the bath’s existing drain hardware.
It ought to be pointed out, also, that the edges are usually the “weakest” part of any finish. In a place continuously subjected to water, before applying your new bathtub finish, it makes sense at minimum to eliminate the drain.
Note: When updating a bath’s drain assembly, accessibility to the lower wall cavity supporting the tub drain is demanded at a minimum.
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Consider How You’ll VentilateBecause, in most cases, you’ll be working with caustic substances and paints that are airborne, ensure that you have adequate ventilation as you work. Along with running a built in bathroom fan, it may additionally make sense to open a window and utilize cross-ventilation by putting a fan in an opposing doorway. If added concerns last around your skill to work safely or apply paint efficiently, ventilation equipment may also be rented at rental centers or home improvement stores.
Prepare the Job
There are numerous approaches for effectively preparing a tub refinish available. Whatever the approach you select, take great care during this period. The steps below are common to any occupation preparation approach you might choose:
1) Remove Existing Caulk: Remove caulk which should be touching the bathtub surface. Start by cutting on the top and bottom edges of the caulk bead using a utility knife. Follow with a stiff putty knife and end with a straight razor blade. Entirely remove all present caulk. Sweep out or vacuum up any debris that’ll make its way to the bottom of the bath.
2) Remove OR Hide the Overflow Plate: Plan to replace existing tub hardware. The bathtub’s drain is still in great working order, as well as if this really is not doable, remove. Tubs fitted with linked stoppers can be disconnected or disassembled, but because of uniquenesses in moving parts (especially with vintage baths), it might be better to just mask overflow plates off. Should you determine to remove a linked lever, be conscious not to let linkages to fall back in the overflow or drain.
3) Remove Drain Pop-Up, Strainer Assembly, OR Mask: Remove as many of the open finished drain components as possible. Mask any finished surface that you select not to remove. Poke holes in masking tape to allow for drainage of water as it will be used much later in the homework phase, or make an X.
4) Give the Bathtub an Industrial Cleaning: Using an acid-based cleanser, spray down the whole bathtub surface. Let the product sit for five full minutes and make use of a stiff-bristled brush to scrub stains away. Because these cleansers are caustic, wear rubber gloves (or better) and a correctly rated respirator. Then allow the tub dry.
5) Mask Off the Tub Space: Using a relatively strong plastic, begin in the edge of the tub and mask off the alcove walls at least four feet. Mask both the inside of the bath as well as the face (or apron) of the bath as it intersects with bathroom walls. As it meets the floor, do the same with the tub. Cut holes in places where faucet or tub spouts handles may appear. Prior to spraying, use masking tape.
6) Mask Bath Spout and Faucet Handles: While you may need to time this with the other measures under, wrapping bathtub spouts and faucets with builder’s paper or added plastic (cling wrap will function just as well). Alternatively, it might make sense simply to remove them.
Prepare the Surface and Also Make Minor Repairs
Make use of a stiff-bristled four inch stain brush or a scrub brush to apply an acid etch designed specifically for porcelain. Cover of the tub completely and allow about 15 minutes for this particular product to do its thing. Wear rubber gloves (or better) and a correctly rated respirator. Remove with a (clean) scrub brush and wash down the drain with bath water. Wipe dry with shop towels.
Choices for Acid Etching
Some will forgo acid etching in favor of using a bonding agent only. Others might use mechanical means to rough up the bath surface. While this approach is somewhat competitive, most concluding products are self-leveling to the amount that they will level out reasonably over a “ scarified” surface.
Mending Bath Surface Imperfections
Spots and grittiness can appear on bath surfaces after decades of improper cleaning. Bleach and abrasive cleansers could be detrimental to tub surfaces, themselves. Rust or green stains could be addressed using oxalic acid mixed in hot water with talc to form a whiting paste.
Prior to applying a finish dings or chips must also be addressed. Mix a small batch of two -part fiberglass repair putty and apply to the affected area by means of a plastic spreader.
Follow with porcelain or polyester glazing to fill in little pockets that may appear in the restored area, if needed.
Wipe down the bathtub with paper towels first and follow with a tack cloth.
Discretionary: For a more comprehensive cleaning, give the bath one final wipe with rapid-evaporating denatured alcohol.
Caution: If acids were not used, simply use or have been effectively neutralized.
Applying Finishes: DIY Approach
There is a seemingly innumerable collection of refinishing kits accessible from reputable manufacturers. In general, you’ll locate varying amounts of both dry times and quality with these products. Do your research before buying and understand that effectiveness may be informed by cost with time. Choose a name that is reputable and follow all directions closely. These kits should give a finish continuing one to five years with appropriate attention.
Build Your Very Own Kit
Brush on an appropriate bonding agent,or spray on an appropriate primer using an airless (sub HVLP) paint sprayer (available for lease at local home improvement stores or rental centres). The topcoat is implemented using the same sprayer (make sure to wash it thoroughly between steps). As you move back and forth work using long strokes along with a continuous movement, overlapping somewhat. Play around with a mixture of white paint and high-gloss polyurethane. Instead, spray or roll on a two-component marine epoxy. If you haven’t skimped on homework, this approach should afford a finish that will last between 3 and 10 years.
Using Finishes: Pro Approach
Professional refinishers are plentiful, but be warned: techniques and the products used plus their opinions vary widely. It might not be surprising that many pro refinishers started out in trades like auto body repair, where work is frequently quite personalized.
Acrylic urethane enamel, acrylic aliphatic polyurethane, or an epoxy-based finish is applied in multiple layers using a paint sprayer. (There’s much debate online about the favorite sprayer sort for this job.n general, select airless and HVLP finished others.) Determined by the product used, each layer should dry 15 to 20 minutes before the next is applied. The last layer should dry for no significantly less than an hour.
A wet sanding with 600/800/1000-grit paper smooths any imperfections. An automobile compound buffed into the surface using annular buffing pads and an auto polisher is used by some. Hand often does added buffing. Glazing can also be applied with a soft cloth to bring up a more brilliant luster.
Tear Down and Reinstall Fixtures
Once the finish has dried to the touch, per product recommendations or after two hours, whichever comes first, slowly remove from the job site. In case any of the newly applied finish begins to pull away with masking it is best to work with a utility knife in hand. Work with care over the recently finished surface. Bundle waste into construction totes and dispose of appropriately.
It’s frequently better left to a pro, while tub refinishing can really be a DIY job. SB Refinishers in San Diego bath refinishing is just one of the occupations that are very practically priced. Prices typically range from $400 to $500 and are usually packaged with an important warranty.
In hiring a pro for this particular job the most important variable is the individual technician scheduled to do the work. That’s appropriate, don’t always hire a professional based on the reputation of the company, on their process, or on their system, but rather on the authentic individual you would desire doing your job. These machinists should be able to create a portfolio of references and work. Request it before making a decision, and review it.