Is Bathtub Refinishing Worth It? A Guide to Whether You Should Reglaze or Replace

Taking a bath has been scientifically proven to improve both your physical and mental health.

But your soak might be anything but relaxing if you’re sitting in a stained, chipped, or ugly tub. However, this doesn’t mean you should head to the store and buy a new one.

We’ve put together this guide to help you learn when you should invest in bathtub refinishing or replace your bathtub instead.

So let’s dive in!

What Is Bathtub Reglazing?

Bathtub reglazing, also known as recoating or refinishing, is a purely cosmetic repair. It gets rid of small surface imperfections and makes your tub look like new again.

Here’s how it works.

A professional bathtub repair expert will start by sanding down the surface of the tub. This removes any light scratches or stains. After that, they’ll fill in any remaining cracks or chips. Then they’ll cover the tub in a coat of primer and paint. They may have to add multiple coats, depending on your tub.

Once the painting is done, they’ll do one last buffing.

Reglazing can transform a worn down bathtub, but some bathtubs need more help than a simple reglazing treatment. Keep reading to learn when you should save and replace your tub.

When to Reglaze Your Tub

If your bathtub is in relatively good working condition, it’s probably worth saving. Reglazing can turn ugly imperfections into a beautiful, smooth surface again.

But your tub can’t be too far gone. Here’s how to tell reglazing is the right option for your tub.

Stains

Over time, your bathtub will start to stain. Even if you clean it regularly, you’ll still have to deal with weird, yellowish discoloring at some point.

This is normal, but it’s also gross.

Whether the stains are light or dark, reglazing can turn your tub white again. The sanding and repainting process will either remove the stains or cover them up so you can’t see them anymore.

Shallow Scratches

When you reglaze your tub, you’ll fill in small and shallow scratches. You can also refill most cracks.

But you shouldn’t reglaze a tub that has one or more major cracks. These cracks might damage the structural integrity of your tub or cause leaks. It’s a better idea to replace bathtubs that have serious cracks.

Otherwise, your bathtub could turn into a flood zone without much warning.

Tight Budget

Reglazing is often cheaper than buying a new tub.

Not only do you have to invest money in the purchase, but you also have to get the old bathtub out of your house. This often means paying a professional to remove it and dispose of it for you.

This can make the cost go up.

If you don’t have a lot of wiggle room in your budget, reglazing your tub can extend its life for less money. This can give you a “new” tub without draining your bank account.

When to Replace Your Tub

Reglazing can upgrade your tub and give it a new lease on life, but some tubs are too far gone for reglazing. Here are a few signs you should give up on your bathtub and buy something new.

Your Tub’s Getting Old

Most bathtubs last about 25 years. If your tub is getting close to that age—or is already older, you should think about replacing it.

Even if it’s working fine now, it might give out in the near future. The cost of reglazing your tub, while cheaper than buying a new one, isn’t worth it if you end up replacing the tub shortly afterward anyway.

It Constantly Needs Repairs

If your bathtub constantly needs repairs, you should look into buying a new one. Reglazing a faulty tub is a waste of money if you have to keep pouring money into repairs.

But an occasional repair isn’t anything to worry about.

Once you fix the problem and reglaze the surface, you’ll have a bathtub that lasts you a long time. However, a tub that needs several repairs a year isn’t worth the money, time, and effort to keep it going.

Short on Time

The reglazing process might take a few visits. After all, the expert will have to wait for the primer to dry before they can do any type of painting, and they can’t buffer your tub if it’s covered in wet paint.

Because of this, you might have to wait a week or two before your bathtub is finished.

If you don’t have the time to wait, buying a new bathtub might be a faster choice. You might even be able to buy and install your new tub all in one day.

Major Leaks

As soon as a bathtub starts leaking, you should start looking for a replacement. Repairing major bathtub leaks can be a difficult and temporary fix. It’s a better idea to buy a new tub instead of spending money on an expensive repair that might not last.

Mold and Mildew

If your tub is full of mold or mildew, you should get rid of it right away. While reglazing can cover up the mold, it won’t get rid of it. Continuing to use a bathtub full of mold can lead to serious health concerns.

Some of the symptoms you might experience from mold include:

  • Respiratory problems
  • Headaches
  • Allergic reactions
  • Fatigue
  • Itchy, red eyes
  • Etc.

Living with mold can even cause more serious issues, such as anxiety and depression. That’s why it’s always a good idea to replace a bathtub as soon as you find mold.

Understanding When Bathtub Refinishing Is Worth It

Bathtub refinishing is worth the money if your tub is in good working condition. The reglazing process can remove surface imperfections, like scratches, shallow cracks, and stains.

But if your tub is old, leaking, or full of mold, reglazing is just a waste of money. You’ll have to buy a new tub soon anyway.

Has your bathtub seen better days?

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