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Home » Is Reglazing the Tub Worth it? Know When to Reglaze or Replace?

Is Reglazing the Tub Worth it? Know When to Reglaze or Replace?

I’ll be the first to say it: soaking in a bath isn’t really about hygiene. It’s more of a self-care ritual for relaxation and rejuvenation, it’s even scientifically shown to be beneficial both to the body and the mind and can be a useful mental health tool. The warm water eases muscle tension and quiets any aches and pains. The relaxing atmosphere triggers a release of endorphins, natural mood-lifters that reduce stress and anxiety. 

It’s hard to get comfortable and relaxed in a bathtub that is stained, chipped, or outdated to the point it looks unclean. However, before you resign yourself to only taking showers, know there are options! This guide explores when to consider bathtub refinishing vs a replacement.

What is bathtub reglazing?

Reglazing or refinishing your bathtub is when the tub surface is recoated. This can repair chips and stains while improving the overall look and feel of the tub. It’s a budget-friendly and practical solution for giving your bathroom a makeover.

How to reglaze a tub:

  1. Preparation: The tub needs to be thoroughly cleaned of any dirt, or grime. The tub then needs to be sanded to remove any light scratches.
  2. Repairing Damage: Any deeper scratches, cracks, chips, or holes are carefully filled and repaired to create a smooth base.
  3. Priming and Painting: An enamel primer is first applied to ensure the new paint will properly adhere. Next, multiple layers of specialized paint are applied, and each layer is cured in between for optimal durability.
  4. Finishing Touches: After the final coat dries, the surface is buffed and polished to achieve a smooth, shiny finish.

Benefits of Reglazing:

  • Cost-effective: Reglazing is much cheaper than a tub replacement.
  • Appearance: Recoating turns an old, worn-down tub into a bathtub that looks brand new again.
  • Wider color choices: Explore a variety of colors and finishes beyond the original tub’s design. Although, White is always timeless.
  • Environmentally friendly: Saves the old tub from ending up in landfills.
  • Easier Cleaning: Extra smooth surfaces are often easier to clean.
  • Increased Water Retention: Properly applied reglazing can create a more watertight seal, potentially saving money on the water bill. 

When to Reglaze Your Tub

 

My aunt bought a new home a few years ago, and she was faced with a dilemma. The house was from the 80s and came with a lovely pink tub. The problem is pink was not her style. Other than the offensive color, the tub was in great shape. It had a few minor scratches but no major damage. The budget-friendly solution was to reglaze it.

Look at your bathtub; you can reglaze it if it meets the following criteria. 

  • Only minor Imperfections: Light scratches, small chips, and some stains.
  • The Tub’s Core is Strong: The tub is structurally sound. The tub does not have any deep cracks, leaks.
  • Functionality: Reglazing can not fix tubs that are the wrong size.

Stains

 

Even with regular cleaning, bathtubs, over time, might stain from minerals in our water. Although stains and discolorations are normal, they can look unclean, detracting from seeing the bathroom as a sanctuary.

Reglazing, no matter the stain’s intensity. It will effectively be concealed, making your tube look pristine.

Minor Damage

Minor imperfections, like scratches or chips, are no match for the transformative power of reglazing. Shallow scratches will be expertly concealed. Even small chips from all the dropped razors will be filled in and polished away. Leaving behind a flawless surface.

However, it won’t work for significant cracks. Just as you wouldn’t use a bandaid for a broken bone, you don’t use reglazing for major cracks. Doing so might cause more damage in the future by concealing leaks until it’s too late.

How Long Does A Reglazed Tub Last?

The average lifespan of a DIY reglazed tub is around 3-4 years. People report that if the tub suffers any minor damage. The water works its way into the imperfections and worsens the problem until, eventually, the tub needs to be reglazed again or replaced.

A professional technician has access to higher-end products with higher resistance to damage; therefore, professionally reglazed tubs last between 10-15 years. 

You can extend the life of a reglazed tub by avoiding abrasive or harsh cleaning products. 

When to Replace Your Tub

 

When you start noticing cracks, extensive rust, or continuous leaks in your bathtub, it’s time to replace it. Reglazing won’t solve these issues so opting for a new tub is necessary.

However, that’s not the only reason to replace your tub. During a bathroom remodel the old tub doesn’t always meet the aesthetics of the new look you are going for. Or the tub is too cramped for comfort.

While reglazing might appear cost-effective at a glance, the repeated need for reglazing due to ongoing problems can end up costing more than just replacing the tub upfront.

Ultimately pay attention to what your tub’s telling you and consider consulting with a professional to weigh the advantages and disadvantages. This way you can make a decision that you’ll be happiest with for years to come.

Tub is Old

Most bathtubs typically last for 25 years. If your bathtub is approaching or surpassing this age, it’s time to evaluate its condition. Even if it appears to be working, looking at any structural cracks, leaks, or worn-out materials is wise.

While reglazing might seem like an option, it may not be a worthwhile investment if your tub is nearing the end of its lifespan and will require significant repairs or replacement soon after.

Bathroom Remodel

Replacing your bathtub can transform your bathroom into a room you never want to leave. (Is that weird to say about a bathroom?) A bathroom remodel can offer both functional and aesthetic upgrades. Whether your current tub is outdated, damaged, or is simply too small to fit in comfortably. Replacing it with something you’ll love for years might be the best decision over a reglaze.

Time is More Valuable

Maybe you’re flipping a home, or you can’t go without the tub for longer than a day. When deciding between bathtub reglazing and replacement, time is a crucial consideration.

Reglazing requires patience. This process involves multiple steps with drying periods in between, which can extend the project to 1 to 2 weeks. If time is of the essence, reglazing might not be your best choice. Opting for a new tub only takes a few days. The old tub needs to be removed; plumbing adjustments may be necessary, and finally, the new tub is installed.

A new tub might be worth it if you’re aiming for a quick bathroom remodel. If you’re flexible with timing and more concerned with the cost, then reglazing could be your better choice.

Bathtub Constantly Needs Repairs

Before you sink more money into reglazing, consider the bigger picture. Fixing minor issues and then reglazing can look great for years. But if your tub needs repairs yearly, reglazing might be a mistake. 

In the long run, a new bathtub could be the most cost-effective option. Replacing the tub might save you the hassle and expense of future repairs; sometimes, it’s best to start from scratch.

Major Leaks

A leaky bathtub can lead to big damage if not addressed quickly, and sometimes the best solution is to replace the tub. Small leaks might be repairable with a professional plumber. Most leaks are caused by a loose seal, but if the tub has structural cracks, that’s a major issue.

It’s important to contact a certified plumber to evaluate the seriousness of the leak, pinpoint the root cause, and offer suggestions for repairs or replacements.

Mold and Mildew

Mold spores thrive in damp environments like bathrooms, and exposure can lead to various health concerns, including respiratory problems, headaches, allergies, fatigue, and even anxiety or depression.

Ensure to seek the expertise of a mold removal expert to evaluate the extent of the mold infestation and provide guidance on the suitable steps to take. Before reglazing or replacing a tub you need to find and eliminate the reason there is a mold issue. 

  • Minor mold: If the mold is limited to a small area and hasn’t caused any health issues, a good cleaning might be sufficient.
  • Extensive mold: If the mold covers a large area, has caused health problems, or appears deep-seated, then gutting the problem areas may be necessary.

Prioritizing your health and preventing mold recurrence are crucial. Replacing your bathtub might be necessary for extensive mold infestations, but seeking professional advice ensures you make the best decision for your situation.

Conclusion

Are you still torn between a reglaze and a brand-new bathtub? Both options offer unique advantages, and the best choice hinges on specific factors:

Budget: Reglazing is cheaper than a replacement. If budget is your priority, then a reglaze might be your best option.

Time: A new tub is the fastest option. Reglazing is a long process. Replacing your tub, while more invasive, can be finished faster. If time is your priority, then replacing might be your best option.

Tub Condition: Minor cosmetic flaws can look great with a reglaze, but if your tub has major issues such as cracks, then a reglaze might not even be an option.

In the end, it’s up to you. Consider the advantages and disadvantages depending on your budget, time limitations, and your tub state. Seeking advice from a plumber or contractor can give you perspectives to help you decide what’s best for your situation.

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Alma Bradshaw

About The Author

Hello, My name is Alma Bradshaw. I'm a licensed plumber with over 20 years of experience in the industry. It's important to stay informed and up-to-date on the latest plumbing techniques, innovations, codes, and regulations. Learn more about plumbing here and feel free to comment below with any questions.

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