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View Full Version : Opinions Please on Tub Refinishing



Dan Mages
01-07-2016, 9:38 PM
I can use the advice of the fine folks around here. I am now planning the bathroom remodel now that the kitchen is almost done.

I am struggling with what I should do about the tub. It is a beautiful, massive, deep cast iron tub... in a hideous shade of mustard yellow. The simplest route to go is to refinish the tub. I have read mixed comments about refinishing. A good tub refinishing is supposed to last 10-20 years. I don't want to go through all of the effort of redoing the tile walls and then deal with a peeling and chipping tub. To remove the tub will require me to rip out a thick mud job attached to a metal lath.... and who knows what I will find beneath that. At this point I will probably hire a professional demolition crew to gut the bathroom. This will probably double the cost of the project.

Thoughts?

Tom M King
01-07-2016, 9:43 PM
The gutting is the easy part. Sorry, no knowledge about tub refinishing.

Rich Engelhardt
01-07-2016, 10:51 PM
There's numerous ways to deal with it.

We had two refinished in two of our rentals. The outfit came in and took detailed measurements, then built the acrylic inset and surround to the exact specs.
The people we used were thiel's in ashland ohio (http://www.thiels-bathrooms.com/ghl/index.cfm?ctid=2499&chid=603) - - expensive @ about $3500 per tub, but, lifetime warranty on everything & they did the whole job in one day.

Recoating a cast iron tub is a job best left to a pro.
You acid etch the tub, then flush the acid off and spray on a two part primer. When the two part primer has cured, you spray on a two part finish.
It;s an epoxy system of some kind. It stinks, is expensive, it's got nasty fumes, it's a royal pain to clean up after & if you don't do everything exactly right - - it will fail in short order and cause a bigger mess.

A good sledge and some husky friends to haul away the pieces can make short work of the cast iron tub.
I'm not a big fan of Kohler - -but - -Kohler makes a wonderful 100% acrylic soaking tub you can buy for about $600. It goes in easy and is extremely sturdy. I've put in two of them and I'm 100% happy with both

Lee Schierer
01-08-2016, 9:44 AM
My mother had her tub refinished. The refinishing is not as durable as the original finish and it stains more easily. Cleaning the refinished tub is different.

Dan Mages
01-08-2016, 10:41 AM
There's numerous ways to deal with it.

We had two refinished in two of our rentals. The outfit came in and took detailed measurements, then built the acrylic inset and surround to the exact specs.
The people we used were thiel's in ashland ohio (http://www.thiels-bathrooms.com/ghl/index.cfm?ctid=2499&chid=603) - - expensive @ about $3500 per tub, but, lifetime warranty on everything & they did the whole job in one day.

Recoating a cast iron tub is a job best left to a pro.
You acid etch the tub, then flush the acid off and spray on a two part primer. When the two part primer has cured, you spray on a two part finish.
It;s an epoxy system of some kind. It stinks, is expensive, it's got nasty fumes, it's a royal pain to clean up after & if you don't do everything exactly right - - it will fail in short order and cause a bigger mess.

A good sledge and some husky friends to haul away the pieces can make short work of the cast iron tub.
I'm not a big fan of Kohler - -but - -Kohler makes a wonderful 100% acrylic soaking tub you can buy for about $600. It goes in easy and is extremely sturdy. I've put in two of them and I'm 100% happy with both

If I refinish, I will be calling a professional.

The current tub is 66". Would it be possible to smash out the old tub and build a platform for a 60" drop in tub? This will probably save me from ripping out the walls.

Dan

Rich Engelhardt
01-08-2016, 11:18 AM
Sure - there's all sorts of different tubs you can buy. The home centers only stock a small minimum & the people working there have no clue what's in the special order books.
I believe you can check online to see what's available in a drop in.

Like I mentioned above, I hate Kohler - but - they do make a great acrylic tub.
Toto is another great one - - but - eeeexpensiiive!!
But when you think of it, a tub replacement is pretty much a once in a lifetime thing so it should be good for 30 to 50 years, so price should be incidental.

They do make tubs in 66" lengths. You're probably going to have to special order a tub anyhow, so, if you want to go 66" it shouldn't be a big deal.

Also - I wouldn't sweat ripping the walls down to the studs. It's not that big of a deal.
Here's some pictures of the last one I did. Since the bathroom is only 60" wide, there was no way to turn the tub inside the bathroom. I had to cut a hole in the bedroom wall, then cut the steel tub in half and drag it out in two pieces. The new acrylic tub slid in & I shimmed it to fit.

Ken Fitzgerald
01-08-2016, 12:07 PM
I helped a friend install an antique tub he had shipped to a factory where they refinished it with a new porcelain finish. It was expensive but he felt it was the only way to insure it would last as long as the original finish.

Dan Mages
01-08-2016, 1:14 PM
But when you think of it, a tub replacement is pretty much a once in a lifetime thing so it should be good for 30 to 50 years, so price should be incidental.


The cost is an issue with house prices going pretty much nowhere. Every penny I am putting into this project will probably never be returned if we have to move.



Also - I wouldn't sweat ripping the walls down to the studs. It's not that big of a deal.
.
In theory, yes, but I have 80 sqft of ceramic tile over 7/8" thick mud job attached to a metal backing. I tore out the basement bathroom and it took 2 weeks with a sledgehammer. That was before I had 2 kids to take care of.

Rick Potter
01-08-2016, 1:28 PM
I have a rental with a 1952 cast iron tub that has been refinished twice. The first time, I went to Craigs list and found a guy who wrote a good ad. It only cost $300 to have it done. When the idiot renter moved in, I specifically told her to never use cleanser or a scotch brite sponge on the tub. One year later at a Section 8 inspection, I was told to have the tub redone, and there was a scotch brite sponge laying in the bottom.

Back to CL, to find a different guy to redo it. He charged me about $400, plus some extra to remove all the caulk that the first guy sprayed over. That respray has lasted a couple years, and I see some minor flaws.

I stopped a truck on the street, which said 'Tub Refinishing' on it. Turns out it is a franchise, and he told me it would be about $750 to redo it right, and they guarantee it 5 years.

I have a fairly new renter now, and will wait for a while, if they stay, I will have it done. If they leave within a couple years, I will gut the bathroom.

Moral of the story: For something like this, try to get a reputable company.

Tom Stenzel
01-08-2016, 1:30 PM
The house we moved into had the tub refinished. Don't know by who or what process but if the rest of the house is any indication was done on the cheap. It lasted about 8 years before it started looking rough. That's with my wife and two daughters using it, and one of my daughters is what I call a 'serial showerer".

We would go the tub liner route but one problem is that the plastic is a bit soft. The only place we can wash our dog in the winter is in that tub. A dog's nails will scratch a lined tub, as we found out in the previous house we owned.

The nice thing about the plastic liner is that your feet don't feel like they'll freeze and break off when you step on it in the winter. Yes, our tub was on an outside wall.

But for now we're living with a tub that looks like it has poison ivy. Same problem as you, removing the tub involves breaking out tile with plaster and metal lath behind it. It's hidden with a nice shower curtain. :)

-Tom

Rich Engelhardt
01-09-2016, 1:10 AM
The cost is an issue with house prices going pretty much nowhere. Every penny I am putting into this project will probably never be returned if we have to move.That's a real obstacle. Wih the rentals, I don't really concernmyself with cost all that much. I figure we recoup our cost in the long run. Our bathroom really needed something done. It was 25 years old and - - - tired..If the new one lasts 25 year, I figure that's long than I'm going to last so it's someone else's problem :D

Mike Cutler
01-09-2016, 9:39 AM
Dan

Yes, the old tub can be broken out and a new one dropped in.

Stay away from Home Depot and Lowe's. Go to White's in New Haven, Allen's in Seymour, or Plimpton or Hills in Hartford. The Bath Splash in Cranston RI would be a long trip for you, but their showroom is great. Allen's used to be huge, with multiple buildings of showroom, but its been awhile since I've been there.
Leave that mud job alone. If it's not compromised, you will not re-install a better substrate.