If you have ever had grout or caulking come loose on your shower then you have probably had a piece of tile fall off or come loose.
The wall behind the tub was still solid, I treated the wall with a combination of Microban hospital disinfectant and a pure form of hydrogen peroxide that kills mold and mildew.
I then cleaned up the tile and soap dish and reattached it using a two part marine grade epoxy glue. The final step was getting everything locked in and sealed up which was accomplished by refinishing the tile surrounding the bathtub. You can see the video here.
Is painting a bathtub that hard? Do professionals use the same epoxy kits?
There are so many questions and very few answers when It comes to bathtub and Tile Refinishing. I have professionally completed hundreds of bathtub and tile refinishing in Dallas Texas over the last 25 years. The coating of choice has changed during that time as technology has improved.
The honest truth is there are still many people that simply paint bathtubs. That was what they were taught to do throughout the 1990’s and I have learned that a lot of people want to blame other situations for any problem. Epoxy paint will look pretty good when it is first applied. Although it will have an orange peel look which is why some people will say it looks “Painted”. Then when the resident cleans the tub with any product that contains bleach it will yellow. The end result is It will peel. Most of the times sooner rather than later but it will peel. Why? Because it is painted on top of the old surface. That old surface is baked hard and slick as glass, when we are talking about porcelain bathtubs and tile.
There are a Handful of bathtub and tile refinishing professionals in the Dallas area that will complete the refinishing job correctly and complete it without using Epoxy. The process I use is a synergistic one that combines a chemical rinse to remove oils and residue we may not even see with the naked eye. Then I use an etching stone on a mechanical tool that gently etches the hardened glaze at 1500 revolutions per minute. I will then use a lint free rag to clean everything with a deglossing and cleaning agent. This part is nothing special and this chemical is available from any home improvement store (I mention this because I want honesty and transparency) I am not trying to make anyone think I use a miracle product that no one else on earth has the Ability to purchase. I am saying the opposite, why am I still seeing this inferior epoxy paint used? My only guess would be it is cheap. Epoxy can be purchased for about $60/gallon. Lets just round that up and say $100 per Gallon. Then it is thinned with lacquer thinner at $17/gallon. The epoxy kits are so full of lacquer thinner they run (this is why they are called self leveling). I guess self leveling is a synonym for diluted down, inferior product in some alternate universe! Speaking of synonyms the word refinishing, well look at why these kits are able to use that as a marketing term(below).
So painting is technically refinishing. Although any of the legitimate bathtub refinishing professionals would argue this and say no not when it comes to what we call refinishing. We are taking steps to integrate the new surface into the old, not painted on top of the old! We are spending hours preparing a surface by etching, then using molecular bonding agents so the new surface penetrates the old surface and is chemically welded into that old surface. The new surface that I use is polyceramic glass glaze (A.K.A. Synthetic Porcelain). This is a professional coating that is part of the synergistic process to make sure your bathtub and Tile finish will last an expected 20+ years if cleaned properly. When I say cleaned properly I mean not cleaned with a heavy abrasive such as comet or sos. Scrubbing bubbles is an excellent cleaning agent and will clean and sanitize without stripping away the glaze and this is great advice for new tubs and tile also. I would say that over 90% of the refinishing needed is because of improper cleaning that wears away the glaze and damages the surface a tiny bit at a time that will appear as dirt, then the resident will scrub more and more thinking they are scrubbing away the dirt but actually causing more and more abrasions.
Bathtub Refinishing Dallas
When considering Bathtub, Tile, Shower and Vanity refinishing please understand not all coatings are created equal. The truth is not all, in fact very few are even recommended for bathtub, shower and tile refinishing.
A quick look at the home improvement store will quickly steer you in the direction of the outdated, unreliable and inferior epoxy tub and tile kits. Epoxy was used up until 1998 and it was not used because it was the best option, It was used because it was the only thing that was tough enough to at least remain looking decent for several months. I know this all to well because I personally used it from 1991 until 1997 or 1998. The problems were so severe it was only used as a last ditch effort to make a bathtub look good enough for the Apartment communities to get the unit leased. It was cheap to purchase and even with remarkable prep work such as power sanding the surface, cleaning with an abrasive commercial non residue soap then etching the old surface with the very dangerous hydroflouric acid and rinsing the surface with cold water scrubbing it down with lacquer thinner (which was an excellent cleaner) drying the surface completely and using the Professional H.V.L.P. air hose to dry the surface and evaporate any humidity… then applying bulldog adhesion promoter. Which had to be applied because without it the epoxy would peel off sometimes in the first use! After all those steps were taken, Then applying Epoxy only to have it look slightly yellow, never white. See the orange peel look because it was so heavy it would run If it was thinned too much and if you did thin it enough to look good it was so thin you could see the subsurface through most of it. After all of that, to have a project you knew was going to yellow if bleach was used on it (which explained the slightly yellow tint when applied) and the frustration of knowing at best It was going to peel in 6 mos. to a year it was very frustrating to those of us that knew there was a better solution, it just had not been discovered yet. Then in 1997 Aliphatic Acrylic Urethane became the go to coating and the results were twice as good as epoxy. With hard work and skill A professional could make this product look great, and last for a good year or two before it would peel.
The Brake through came when Polyglass (polyceramic glass glaze) A.K.A. synthetic porcelain was introduced in 2003. We were making drastic improvements! Looked great, dried quick so dust would not stick to the surface and by 2005-2006 the 2nd Generation synthetic porcelain was allowing the refinishing professional to produce refinishing results they could be proud of. After that the third Generation was introduced. I was in love! This coating was specifically for Tub, Tile and Vanity refinishing. It worked with a synergistic process of etching without dangerous acids. Molecular bonding agents made for the bathtub refinishing Industry were part of the process and were costly. $289/quart and there was no dilution. However, it was hand rubbed into the pores and scratches achieved through etching and this meant we were able to integrate the new surface into, not paint it on top of the old surface. With this came a permanent solution to worn, damaged, out dated or just ugly bathtubs, tile, showers and bath vanities. The best part is the synthetic porcelain is customized for the individual job. If the surface was ceramic or porcelain liquid glass could be added to make the ultra hard, high gloss finish and it fiberglass or acrylic was being refinished then adding the Fiberglass resin allowed the new surface to melt into and chemically weld to the old surface.
Professional bathtub refinishing is no longer a quick fix and a temporary solution. Bathtub, Tile, Shower and Vanity refinishing is now a permanent long term solution with no peeling and no loss of gloss expected to last 20+ years before the gloss fades and refinishing is needed again.
This is the system I use! I will earn your business and your referral to friends and family.
Bathtub Refinishing Dallas
Bathtub Refinishing Dallas Prices
In short when bathtubs, tile and showers are painted using epoxy paint kits the failure rate is going to be 100%. It may last 1 use, it may last 6 months but one thing is for sure it is going to 100% fail.
Bathtub Refinishing is the process of using a synergistic approach combining chemical cleaning, etching, molecular bonding agents and synthetic porcelain to achieve a permanent fixed solution. Not a temporary patch.
When Tile is properly refinished, not simply painted. You can expect an outcome that is gorgeous and will last for years upon years. The unique property of synthetic porcelain is the fact that it is customized to the specific job at hand. For Example, Floor tile needs to be slip resistant, very tough and smooth so cleaning is simplified.
When we stop and think of what abuse a floor takes on a daily basis we began to realize how tough and durable it must really be. When a bathtub is used it is stepped in barefoot and although it does endure some harsh products from soaps to hair products, hot water and cleaning solutions. It is minor in comparison to what a tile floor endures. Shoes, which could be anything from slippers to cowboy boots, high heeled shoes, dress shoes, cleats and then us clueless husbands that like to mow the yard in our golf shoes and we finish up on that lush green grass… still thinking of our labor that has earned us the yard of the week (at least in our minds) and we walk into the bathroom to wash our hands and clean up only to very vaguely hear our wife yelling “get those shoes off my floor”. I mean… it happened to a friend of mine!
So how much will this cost you? That is a great question! Please take a minute to see my Bathtub and Tile Refinishing Prices.