FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Your questions get answered.

Following are some of the most frequently asked questions customer's have asked us.  If you have a question that is not answered here contact us directly. We believe an informed consumer will be a satisfied customer.

Frequently asked questions

What is bathtub refinishing?


Bathtub and tile refinishing, or reglazing as its sometimes called, is a process in which a coating is applied over a substrate such as enamel, ceramic or porcelain.




Do you use porcelain to refinish my tub?


No. The application of porcelain is a firing process which requires the tub to be heated to about 1800°F and cannot be done within the confines of your home. We use an etching solution in combination with a two layer coating system. Our coatings are a high-build, two part Epoxy primer and an Aliphatic Acrylic Urethane top coat.




What does the process consist of?


We begin the process by removing the caulking from around the tub and thoroughly cleaning the surface with scouring powder and scuff pads. Surfaces that have been painted or glazed before must be tested for both proper adhesion and compatibility with the new coating. Any coating that fails these tests must be removed with the use of a chemical paint stripper. This is referred to as stripping. Removal of this old coating will allow the new material to bond directly to the substrate.
After the fixture is clean and dry, a blend of acids is used on the surface. This blend is used to condition porcelain, glass, ceramic and vitreous china surfaces. These acids break down the surface of the substrate, creating a porous, etched surface. Etching is like sanding a surface before it is painted. It gives the applied material something to 'bite' into. These acid blends also pull moisture from the substrate and help kill surface rust. Once the acid wash is complete, the acid is neutralized and rinsed away.
Next the surface is inspected for small holes, chips, scratches and damage caused by chemical or water erosion. These areas are repaired using a composite polyester filler. This fill compound is built up, shaped and sanded to blend in the damaged area and produce a uniform surface to spray. Then any contaminates that may be left on the surface are removed to assure proper adhesion of the new finish to the porcelain or ceramic.
With the use of professional grade masking papers, tapes and drop cloths, the area surrounding the fixture is covered to protect it from over spray. Caulking is also applied at this time, if applicable. At this point the preparation is complete. Our coating consists of two separate materials that are sprayed onto the surface of the fixture. The first of these is a two component, quick dry, high build, epoxy primer system. We use this epoxy primer for its corrosion protection, adhesion qualities and its ability to hide minor imperfections. Three coats of this material are applied in about 10-15 minutes time.
The second material used in our coating process is an aliphatic acrylic urethane topcoat. This is basically a plastic coating without heavy metals such as lead. Use of this sprayed on, non-porous urethane not only provides excellent protection against staining, it leaves a high gloss finish that is resistant to impacts, chemicals and moisture. This is accomplished through a resin rich layer that rises to the top of the refinished surface as it dries. Three coats of this white or color tinted material are applied in about 10-15 minutes. This completes the refinishing process. After this process is complete the refinisher will remove the equipment and drop-cloths from the home, leaving the masking paper and tape surrounding the refinished surface. Since the surface is still wet, removal of the masking material would cause damage to the finish. For this reason we ask that the customer remove this masking after 24 hours have passed. This also helps prevent excess dust from landing on the wet surface.
In it's entirety, bathtub refinishing can be completed within 2-4 hours and larger projects, such as tub and tile refinishing, can usually be completed in one day. The process is the same for both tub and tile refinishing. When they are refinished together, the coating will create a water proof barrier that will protect the grout and caulking from mold, mildew and dry-wall rot. The refinished fixture(s) can be put back into use after 24-48 hours.




How is the coating applied? Can you tell the tub has been refinished?


The two coatings, the primer and the top coat, are applied through the use of two high volume, low pressure spray guns. We spray the coatings to get the smoothest, most glossy finish possible. These sprayed coatings simulate the look and feel of the original surface.




How long does the process take?


Generally, the process of refinishing a single bathtub takes 2-4 hours to complete. Refinishing tile with the tub, however, will require additional time. Most bathroom tub and tile refinishing projects can be completed in one day




Will the surface be smooth and shiny?


Yes. Spraying the coatings, rather than brushing or rolling on the material, allows it to lay flat and even across the entire surface of the fixture. As our top-coat is applied, a resin-rich layer forms on top of the film, giving the fixture a deep, rich gloss.




How long will the finish last?


The material is rated to last for approximately ten years, however, it has been our experience that if the finish is properly maintained, it can last much longer.




Does the tub have to be dry before the refinisher starts?


No. Water is normally used during preparation for the cleaning and etching procedures. The fixture and the surrounding area is dried completely before the coatings are applied.




Do you need a window in the bathroom?


Though it is beneficial to have a window in the bathroom, it is not necessary. If a window is available for use, we will install one or two fans in the opening to carry out the fumes and over spray. In cases where a bathroom does not have a window, we use a Fume Exhauster to pump the fumes and over spray out the next closest window (within 25 feet).




After the fixture has been refinished, how long do I have to wait until I can use it?


As a general rule, we ask our customers not to use any refinished item for 24-48 hours. We also recommend that the tub receive a cleaning before its first use to remove any trace amounts of solvents left on the surface.




If there is damage from chips, water leaks, harsh chemicals, etc., can this be repaired with refinishing?


Yes. These areas can be repaired using a 'fill and sand' procedure. We fill the scratch or chip with a polyester fill compound, wait for it to harden in a few minutes and then sand the compound to a smooth, uniform finish. When the repaired area is coated with the rest of the fixture, it will look as if the defect was never there. Charges may apply, depending on the extent of the repair.




My tub has areas that are rusting, can this be repaired?


Rust is usually caused by one or any combination of the following: Old plumbing and fixtures Well water, hard water or water with high mineral content Chips, scratches or erosion down to the cast iron or sheet metal Porosity of the original finish, down to the cast iron or sheet metal The blend of acids that we use to etch the surface of the tub, kills off most of the rust it comes into contact with. We do our best to remove as much rust as possible; however, any rust areas that are repaired cannot be warranted against future rusting. Charges may apply, depending on the extent of the repair.




If my tub has already been refinished, can it be done again?


Yes. We use a procedure called stripping. The old surface material is tested for proper adhesion and for compatibility with our products. If the old material passes these tests, the refinisher will prepare the existing surface by sanding the old finish flat before applying the new coating. This is done through wet and dry sanding. If the old surface material has failed the adhesion /compatibility tests, it must be removed by using a chemical paint stripper. Charges will apply for either process.




If the new finish gets damaged, (chips, scratches, etc.) can it be repaired?


Any finish that we have applied, we are happy to offer repair services and touch-up material. Charges may apply. We cannot repair any material or finish, that has not been applied by Drexel Co. Refinishing.




Do I need to remove the fixtures, drain, etc.?


If you plan on updating the plumbing fixtures or repairing the existing hardware, complete all of this plumbing work first. This decreases the chance of the new finish getting damaged. Otherwise, you should leave the drain, faucets (etc.) intact, as the refinisher will need to use them. The refinisher may remove the trip-lever assembly and the hair trap, if possible. We remove these parts to get as complete a coating as possible. Your refinisher will give you instructions as how to reinstall your particular trip-lever assembly. The faucets will be covered and protected from over spray, when the tub is refinished. If the tile is to be refinished, the handles, covers, etc. will either be removed or taped off (covered) to protect them from over spray.




If other work, such as; remodeling, plumbing, etc., need to be done, should I do this before or after refinishing?


As a general rule, we recommend that our customers complete all remodeling projects before having the bathtub refinished. Replacement of wall tile, the installation of a plastic or fiberglass enclosure, the removal of the sub-floor to replace the floor tile, or the replacement of plumbing and its fixtures, should all be completed first. This is also important in terms of controlling dust in the newly sprayed finish. If you are going to refinish the tile along with the tub, certain procedures need to followed in order to obtain the best results from refinishing. Contact us for details and a free estimate




I have new tile on my walls and floor. Will they be protected while refinishing my tub?


Yes. Every job receives our best effort to control over spray through the use of drop cloths, plastic sheeting, masking paper and professional grade masking tapes.




There are shower doors on my tub, do I need to remove them?


Yes. The shower doors themselves must be removed from the track assembly and set aside. Be sure to rest the doors on a suitable surface, as shower doors can hold water and tend to leak. For the best job, we recommend that the track assembly be removed if possible. This gives us the ability to apply a seamless coating of material over the tub, reducing the possibility of the coating peeling at the track. The track assembly can be left up and worked around, but this is not the preferred method.




My tub is a dark color. Can it be refinished in a lighter color?


Yes. We can refinish any color fixture into a new color. We offer a 90-95% match on all color changes and they are mixed on site to get the best match possible. To aid in our color match, we ask our customers to have a sample of the desired color available for the refinisher. If the re-finished fixture is to match the color of new fixtures, we request that customers have the actual replacement unit(s) on hand for the closest match possible. Charges will apply for color matching.




Should I remove the old caulking?


If you're feeling ambitious, go right ahead. However it isn't necessary. The refinisher will cut back or completely remove the old caulking from around the fixture as part of the preparation process. New caulking will be applied in these areas, if possible, and the coating is applied over it. This helps to prevent mold and mildew. (If walls are made of plastic/fiberglass or there is to wide a space between the tub and tile, we cannot apply caulking in these areas, as it will not dry properly underneath the coating. In these cases we ask the customer to recaulk once the finish has dried for 48 hours.) Any caulking that we have applied should not be removed, as it will damage the finish.




If I have loose or broken tiles, should they be repaired first?


Yes. We recommend that before refinishing is done that any loose, missing and seriously damaged tiles be replaced or repaired. This also applies to plastic and fiberglass enclosures. The walls around the fixture should be sturdy and firm. If there are problems in these areas, a licensed contractor or a tile installation professional should be called for repairs of the enclosure, tile, wall board and studs if necessary.




If I'm having tile refinished and the grout has areas missing, cracks or other damage, will refinishing cover this?


Refinishing can repair most minor damage of the tile, grout and tub surface. Repairing chips, scratches and water erosion damage, are a normal part of bathtub refinishing. When the tile is to be refinished, we request that all severely broken tiles be replaced before the scheduled appointment. If any grout or tiles are missing from the wall tile, we recommend that this also be repaired. Any repairs that need to be completed will be addressed during the estimate. Please call a qualified Tile Installer or General Contractor for these repairs.




Is it possible to have the tub and the tile refinished in separate colors?


Yes. To refinish both the tub and the tile into two separate colors requires two days to complete the refinishing, with a day of drying time in between. For example, if we started on a Monday; we would prepare each surface, do all the etching and priming, and apply top coat to the tile the first day. Tuesday, the sprayed surfaces would be left to dry. On Wednesday, we would return to cover the newly refinished tile and spray the different color top coat on the tub. Charges will apply for color and second visit.




If I want to refinish the tile, could it be done after the bathtub has already been refinished?


Yes. As long as the refinished bathtub is in good condition and had been refinished by Drexel Co. Refinishing. Because the acid blend we use to etch the tile over the refinished bathtub may damage the coating, we try to discourage this.




Should we leave the house during the refinishing process?


No. It is better for someone who is able to answer any questions to be there while the refinishing takes place. As a general rule we recommend that anyone having a breathing condition (such as asthma or emphysema), or anyone requiring the assistance of oxygen be removed from the premises for several hours. Pregnant women, small children and small animals should all be kept from the strong odors as a general precaution.




What type of cleaners should I use after my tub is refinished?


We recommend using only mild, non-abrasive cleaners that are approved for acrylic surfaces. These cleaners usually come in a pump or an aerosol can. Ask your refinisher for various brands of waxes and cleaning products that can be used on the new surface. Never use scouring powders, bleach, scuff pads or harsh chemicals to clean the refinished surface.




Can I still use a bathmat?


Yes, however, certain bathmats should not be used. Do not use any bathmats, or other items, that have suction cups. The constant force of pulling these items off the finish may cause damage. We recommend the use of a vinyl bathmat without suction cups. Vinyl mats are beneficial because, if they ever get dirty or moldy, they can be cleaned in your clothes washer. Any bathmat that is used on the refinished surface needs be hung up after each use, to allow the tub and mat to dry. This will help prevent mold and mildew buildup.




Do I need to remove my appliqué stickers? Are they a problem?


Generally appliqués or non-slip stickers can be removed easily and cause no reason for the bathtub not to be refinished. However, many times these stickers will hide damage under them. They may have been applied over a chip or scratch. Or if the non-slip stickers have been on the bottom of the tub for a long time, the exposed surface around the appliqué may be worn down leaving the area directly under the sticker high. This damage can range from minor to severe, but can all be repaired. Charges will apply, depending on the extent of the repair.




My toilet/vanity is very close to the tub, is this a problem?


Possibly. We recommend that any item closer than four inches to the tub be removed to give the refinisher plenty of room to apply the most even finish possible. The removal of a toilet or vanity is the customers responsibility and must be completed prior to the scheduled appointment. If these restricted areas are not cleared of obstacles, the finish may not lay flat or hold up in the long term.




The house is currently vacant, do you need water, electricity and heat?


Yes, water and electricity are a must on every job. Running water in the bathroom is necessary for the rinsing of cleaners and the acid etch. Electricity is needed for the operation of the equipment. (Working in the dark, with acid and no water, is never a good idea.) Heat becomes more of an issue during the colder months of the year. For the material to dry properly, a temperature of about 70º+ should be maintained for at least 24-48 hours in the project area before water is used.




What are the pros and cons of Bathtub Liners?


Bathtub liners are molded plastic, PVC, or acrylic inserts that are placed over an existing bathtub and are marketed as an alternative to replacement or refinishing. The pros and cons are as follows:

Pros

  • Most liners are fairly durable and resist chipping and scratching.
  • Liners may be appropriate to use in dorms or rental properties where tubs are more likely to be subject to heavy use.
  • Liners may be the only alternative to replacement for tubs which are severely damaged or deteriorated to a point where they can't be economically refinished.

Cons

  • Most liners are boxy with a look and feel of plastic.
  • Liners come in a limited number of colors.
  • Liners are expensive. While liners themselves usually cost $125 - $175, the total price to the consumer tends to be from $650 - $1500.
  • Sales of liners are often accompanied by high pressure sales pitches for new plumbing and liner walls raising the costs considerably.
  • Liners can take 4-8 weeks to install. They must be custom molded which requires; one trip of the liner installer to measure, time to order and make the liner in the factory, time to ship, and a second trip to do the installation.
  • Liners can create plumbing problems because the added thickness of the liner will require an extension of the drain and overflow.
  • If the liner does not match the contours of the existing tub, then the liner may flex back and forth and can crack over time, creating a leak. Contoured liners cost extra.
  • Liners have a persistent reputation for allowing water to accumulate between the old tub and the new liner. This water is impossible to remove completely. The result is a "squishy" feeling each time someone steps in and out of the tub. In addition, the standing water can become stagnant, creating odor problems and an unhealthy bathing environment. Any small crack or hole which develops in the liner or the caulking along the seam between the liner and the wall surround will allow water to penetrate.
  • Liners are fairly durable, but they can be scratched and damaged. They will eventually wear out.
  • Liners are difficult to replace. Since liners are glued to the old tub when installed, they usually have to be ripped or cut out in order to replace them.





 

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