Fiberglass Tubs & Showers
Surface Renew's process for resurfacing/recoloring of fiberglass or acrylic bathtubs or showers is a very cost effective alternative to replacement. The National Remodelers Association estimates that the average cost of replacing a bathtub is $2500.00. In addition, in most cases the new bathtub does not have the same quality as the original tub. The new tub is narrower and not as deep as the original.
Why should I resurface my bathtub?
Many customers resurface their bathtubs to change the color. However, the majority resurface their bathtubs because their tub has lost the original finish. The result is the bathtub has become dull and difficult to keep clean.
The reason for this is that, over the years, all of the cleaning and water running over the tub has worn away the original finish and the tub has become porous. All of the dirt, grime, and hard water stains get trapped inside of the pores. This results in you having to use abrasive cleaners and a lot of scrubbing to get the tubs you can imagine, this only wears away the finish further.
A new fiberglass tub or shower has colored finish or gel coat applied to it over the raw fiberglass compound when it was originally made. Surface Renew is, in effect, applying a new finish coat to your bathtub or shower. The new finish coat is applied as a liquid, so the tub is non-porous when we are finished.
The result is your bathtub or shower will look better, last longer, and clean much easier.
What is the new finish?
The finish that we apply is called an aliphatic acrylic polyurethane. This is a 2-part urethane that was invented by NASA a number of years ago. It is now used anywhere that a hard, long lasting, durable finish is needed - other examples would be airliners and ocean liners.
The advantages of this finish over other products is:
- Resistance to abrasion and scratching (holds up to normal wear and tear)
- Impact resisitance (won't crack or chip if you drop a shampoo bottle)
- Resistance to extreme temperatures
- Color retention (won't yellow like epoxy coatings)
This finish has been modified for use in the resurfacing industry. Other resurfacing companies may call their product or process something unique or special, but the reality is that all of the top resurfacing companies will be using this finish.
You do need to be aware that there are companies who will use an inferior product to cut costs (our coating is very expensive). This causes problems because these products will not hold up over the long term. You should make sure that whoever you choose to perform your resurfacing is using a high quality 2-part urethane.
What is the process?
As is the key to any job, the prep work is essential. After making sure that the bathtub is completely clean, we sand the bathtub. This sanding takes off the gloss from the original finish and etches the surface. Millions of microscopic holes are opened on the original surface of the bathtub. This will allow the new finish to penetrate into the old surface and create an outstanding bond. This is a very important step - you should be sure that anyone who resurfaces your bathtub etches it first.
We then fill in any significant chips or holes. We then once again thoroughly clean and dry the bathtub. We mask off all around the tub and all of the fixtures, hang plastic sheets, and put tarps on the floor. We are in effect creating a spray booth in the bathroom.
We then mix a colored resin with a catalyst. A chemical reaction takes place and the new finish begins to harden. We have a couple of hours to work with it while it is still a liquid. The finish coat is then applied to the bathtub using a spray system. It then penetrates and bonds onto the old surface. Because the new finish is applied as a liquid, it molds to the old bathtub and fills in all of the pores making the tub non-porous.
The result is a bathtub that looks better, lasts longer, and cleans easier.
What if my tub has a crack, chip or hole in it?
We can fill in any significant cracks, chips, or holes in a tub or shower. However, it needs to be determined if the cracks have been caused by lack of support underneath the tub or shower. If this is the case, we have an inlay available to give extra support. You can find out more about things in the section on Chip & Crack Repair.
You can generally tell if a tub or shower needs more support by determining if there is any "give" when you apply pressure around the area of the crack.
Cracks, holes, and chips that are on the sides, or are not a result of lack of support, can be fixed as a part of our normal resurfacing process.
How long does the process take?
Most bathtubs can be completed in less than 4 hours. However, the bathtub should not be used for another 4 hours after we are through.
How do I care for my new finish?
You should not use abrasive cleaners like Comet or Ajax, even Soft Scrub has some mild abrasives in it. However, you won't need to use abrasive cleaners since the new finish will be non-porous and the dirt and grime should wipe away much easier than before.
For regular cleaning, you should use cleaner that is “safe for acrylics”. There are many available such as Tilex and an Arm and Hammer product called “Scrub Free”.
You also want to make sure that your bathtub drys out completely after each use. The reason for this is that water will deteriorate anything over time - even a new tub.
You should repair leaky faucets immediately and keep shampoo bottles etc. off the edge of the bathtub. You should also not use a rubber mat. If you pick up a rubber mat from the bottom of a bathtub 3 days after you have used the tub, you will find that the bottom of the tub is still wet. In addtion, the rubber suction cups will be constantly pulling at the new finish.
If you are going to use a bath mat, you should purchase a vinyl mat and remove the mat from the bathtub after each use.
How long will the new finish last?
As with any surface, it will eventually wear away. We provide a 5 year guarantee and you should expect between 10 - 20 years of use before the tub would need to be touched up or redone.
Can you apply an anti-slip treatment to the bottom of the tub?
Yes, we can apply a permanent anti-slip texture to the bottom of your bathtub for a small additional fee. This will this make your tub safer, and because you will not need to use a bathmat, your new finish may last longer. You will no longer have to worry about having a bathmat trapping water on the bottom of the tub for long periods of time. This is, in many cases what caused the bathtub to wear out in the first place.
Does the process smell?
The compounds that we now use are low VOC and environmentally friendly. Solvents have been dramatically reduced. The new lower VOC’s compounds result in a significantly lower smell that dissipates much quicker than older technology - without sacrificing any of the strength and durability our work is known for.
The smell is not dangerous - only annoying. as with any smell, it will bother some individuals more that others.
Is the new finish guaranteed?
Yes - Surface Renew guarantees work done in your home for 5 years. We guarantee against fading, peeling, or crazing.
Before and Renewed
*Click on an image for a larger version