Have you ever seen a brand new, perfectly installed bathtub? If you have, you’ll notice a glossy, fantastic sheen to it that almost seems like the tub was plucked directly out of the cover of a home living magazine and plopped into the real world. Unfortunately, most of us have only seen well-used, worn out bathtubs. How can you restore a tub to its original beauty without buying a new tub altogether?
You reglaze it, that’s how. The process is also known as bathtub refinishing, resurfacing, or re-enameling, but they all mean the exact same thing: replacing the outer coating of a worn out bathtub with a fresh coat. It might seem like a DIY type job, just slap on a new coat of whatever material bathtubs are finished with and you’re done, right? Actually, it isn’t so straightforward, and can even be downright dangerous.
The Reglazing Process
To reglaze a bathtub, there are a lot of steps that have to be taken. No matter where you are, whether you’re tub refinishing in Canada, tub refinishing in Europe, or even tub refinishing Orlando, it is a very involved process if you’re expecting to be done right.
First, anything like drain covers and overflow plates are either covered up or removed outright. Then, all debris around the tub including silicone caulking and soap scum are carefully cleansed. Next, a cleaner is applied that shears through the years of damage harsh cleaning chemicals have done to the finish of the tub, effectively removing the finish. Use of this cleaner requires a lot of ventilation for the safety of the workers, as is a very powerful chemical. Sometimes a deglosser is necessary after this step to make it an actual refinishing job instead of just applying it over the old finish and calling it a day. After that, the surface is given a final sanding and cleaning before the new topcoat is applied. Any good company will then add the caulking back between the tub and the rest of the bathroom.
The Hazards Of The Refinishing Process
Laymen are not suggested to try refinishing a tub on their own due to the health risks associated with the stripping products commonly used to remove the finish from a tub. These products contain a chemical known as methylene chloride, and even professional workers are not immune to its detrimental effects. In fact, in the USA at least 14 workers have died since 2000 due to methylene chloride according to the CDC. Workers breathe in the noxious fumes and have impaired breathing at minimum and serious health defects if they are repeatedly exposed to the chemical. Workers have been found slumped over dead in tubs they were working on in areas that were not ventilated adequately. In short, unless you know exactly what methylene chloride containing products are capable of and how to eliminate the health hazards posed by its use, you’re better off steering clear.
While it might be tempting to save a couple bucks by doing what seems like a relatively minor renovation on your own, bathtub reglazing is not one of those endeavours. It requires quite a bit of oversight on the part of health & safety to be done both properly and safely. There are a lot of chemicals in general and a lot of steps that must be followed very carefully if the process is to go off without a hitch. In short, professionals are absolutely necessary in the process of bathtub reglazing.