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The bathtub at my new place isn't in horrible condition, but it does have a few patches on the bottom that look a bit grayer than the rest of the tub, and are rougher. In general the bottom is not as smooth as the sides. We think it is a cast iron bathtub (at least the bottom is all black when we look through an access panel), but we're not sure. There's no rust showing through.

Would it be a good idea to get it refinished now to protect the tub from further damage? Or is a new coat of glazing not significantly protective, in which case maybe we should just wait until we really don't like how it looks before spending the money (especially since the refinished surface won't last that many years either)?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I give mixed reviews to tub refinishing. I have had many tubs and surrounds refinished as opposed to replacing the units. Even though a good refinishing job is not cheap, usually around $300-$400, it certainly is less expensive than the labor involved in removing, framing and installing a new tub and surround. I have found a good sub-contractor for these jobs and the difference between a good long lasting job and a so-so job is in the prep. One sub I used years back did not take the time to really clean, sand and prep the surfaces before spraying the epoxy finish, had some problems and call backs within 2 years. I have a few jobs out there over 5 years old now, with no problems or complaints that my current sub has done, and done well. So I guess the moral of the story is, a refinish job can be a good long lasting solution if done properly with good materials. Side note: Don't wait until the original finish is worn to the cast iron. When rust is present, it makes refinishing more difficult and expensive.

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For a standard tub, you will have to weigh the costs. If you can do the work yourself, then you can likely install a brand new tub for under $400. –  James Van Huis Jun 20 '11 at 19:25

Refinishing your bathtub will save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over bathtub replacement. Have a look at this site they have briefly explained about refinishing. Most refinishing companies offer industry-standard warranties which are pro-rated, meaning that the warranty's coverage decreases incrementally over time. Your bathtub will not look like it was painted, since the material use is more like a coating than a paint.

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We had two of our tubs refinished and they look great. It has not been long since they were done so I don't know how well the refinish will hold up.

Do it now before the tub gets worse. In our case we were thinking about replacing the tubs. Not anymore.

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