View Full Version : replace tub or refinish?

06-19-2008, 07:05 AM
I have a steel bathtub in my 80's ranch home that has a dull and stained white finish. The tub is the width of the room so it looks like I'd have to knock out a hole in my living room to get it out and get in new one in. Has anyone had a good, long term experience with tub refinishing or should I just consider replacing the tub?

06-19-2008, 07:53 AM
I'd replace it; I hear too many people saying the refinishes don't last. Now, there may be some good ones out there, but a steel tub is not something worth it in the first place.

Tubs are installed before the finshed walls are installed, and sometimes, even before the partition walls are up. To put a new one in, you'd have to tear up the finished walls in the tub surround. Then, you can get a new tub in there on end, then lay it down in that space. This is harder to do with a heavy cast iron tub, but still doable. If you choose one with walls, rather than tiling it after installation, then you'd need at least a 2- piece, and possibly more, since you'd never get it in place without tearing out walls as well.

06-19-2008, 09:59 AM
I concur 100% with the above posting... I doubt there is better advice to be had!

09-29-2008, 02:54 PM
I give a 5 year warranty and if you take care of it you could get 10 to 15 years out of it.

Its all in the prep work.
If the refinisher is out in an hour he left something out.
The best time I ever had on a tub was 2hrs 15 min. and that was under perfect conditions.

If you hire the right guy you can get a great job.

Tub Refinisher
09-29-2008, 08:06 PM
I refinish tubs for a living also. Yes, there are some very poor jobs out there - I strip them and re-glaze them all the time. My jobs ususally take around 5 hours, without stripping. Prep is the key, including proper cleaning, etching, and priming. Some companies use wipe on primers that tend not to last as long. Some don't etch, so the surface is not properly prepared. There are also different types of top coatings, some of which last longer than others, and some are more attractive than others.

Bottom line is how much is it worth to you and how much of the job can you do yourself. Typically at least 3 rows of tile will need to be removed. If you have a contractor do all the work including removal/replacement of the tub, tile work, and plumbing, it will probably run at least $1500 in labor plus materials.

I charge $349 to re-glaze a tub with a 5 year warranty. The work is complete in one day - not one week. Will it last as long as a new tub? Probably not - but as I tell my customers - this is designed to be an affordable alternative to replacement - it is not the same as replacement.

I don't think it's legal for me to post my website here, otherwise you could see some of my before and after pictures.

09-29-2008, 09:06 PM
If you want to see some of my before and after pictures go to craigslist denver and type in bathtub refinishing in the skilled trade area.

09-29-2008, 09:11 PM
I still question the worth of doing anything but replacing a steel tub...
Heck it wasn't even worth installing when it was new!

09-30-2008, 06:47 AM
A steel tub starts deteriorating the day it is put in, and just gets worse. I only install a steel tub when the customer insists on it and furnishes the unit. I would NEVER spend a penny on trying to extend its life, because it only defers the inevitable and replacing it will NEVER cost any less than it does today.

09-30-2008, 07:01 AM
I have been a plumber for 29+ years and have put in steel tubs in high rise buildings in NYC and problems with them are few.

I have been refinishing tubs for the last 7 years(started out as a hobby and now is part of my business).
There are cheap and quality steel tubs like anything else.
I have seen 40 year old steel tubs alive and kickin.

09-30-2008, 08:16 PM
Oh okay...
HJ How long have you been plumbing?:eek:

One of HJ's projects... When he was younger...


10-01-2008, 01:17 AM
The problem with refinishing an old steel tub is you don't know if 6-12 months from now a hole will finish rusting through...rendering the work done a waste of $$$$...I vote replace the tub based on what I have seen over the years.