When your tub or shower are shot, consider an alternative to replacement: refinishing.

What’s the best solution in terms of your eventual product? Replacement, of course. But when other factors are added, your thoughts about replacement might change. Here’s why:

  • The cost of the new bathtub is only the beginning. Visit a home improvement store, and you will find cheap tubs. Currently, you can get a standard 5 ft. Porcelain enamel metal tub for $134. But add in the cost of a contractor, demolition, removal, landfill fees, tilers, and a plumber, and the total cost of the job has ballooned.

  • Relining a tub is pricey, and it merely covers up the problem. At prices equal to or greater than refinishing, bathtub liners are not the bargain option. But they are always cheaper than a full replacement, and unlike refinishing, you never worry about the finish wearing away.
    You can install an acrylic liner, but it is still costly, and it only covers up your bathroom problems. Compared to all that, refinishing your tub looks pretty good.

Consider “Painting” Your Tub Instead

The two biggest bathtub refinishing companies I spoke to like to call the substance a “coating,” rather than paint.

Whatever your terminology, rid your mind of the idea that bathtub refinishing is a duplication of the tub’s original dip-coat. In some cases, you can send a valuable cast iron tub off-site for a new dip-coat–but this is not the mass-market bathtub refinishing that we are discussing here.

  • Your tub stays in place. With home remodeling, when you change one thing, something adjacent is affected. It’s the domino effect. So it stands to reason that if you can keep your bathtub in place to refinish it, you will not experience this awful, chaotic, cascading effect of tile surround, flooring, cement board, plumbing fixtures, and possibly even more, being messed up and in need of repair.

  • All work is done on-site. Surrounding materials–tile, flooring, and all of those other things mentioned–are masked off and left in place.
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