Getting your bathtub refinished is much more complex than “just having it repainted.”
The bathtub and shower refinishing process, when done properly, is a precise and meticulous procedure that is best left to the professionals. The process requires both professional training as well as specialized equipment, extensive product and procedural knowledge, skill and a bit of artistry and is not an endeavor well suited for the average weekend do-it-yourselfer. Many of our compounds and chemicals are designed only for use by professionals who are trained in their proper use, to ensure the job is done both properly and safely.
Depending on the type of material used to manufacture your bathtub or shower surround (i.e.,. cast iron vs. fiberglass) different techniques will be required to achieve the best long-term refinishing results. For example, gel-coated bathtubs and shower surrounds, as well as acrylic over fiberglass tubs require a thorough and detailed sanding to roughen the surface and the use of a chemical bonding promoter to achieve optimal results. Whereas, antique tubs with a finish of enamel over pressed steel, or porcelain over cast iron will require a different procedure to prepare the surface, such as a chemical etching process in order to achieve the best long-term adhesion results and the best-completed finish.
In addition to your tubs material type, other factors used to determine the best product for your particular circumstances include the desired finish type, the return to service time requirements, as well as the color requested.
The certified technicians at Armortech Resurfacing are experts in the various techniques, methods, and procedures required to properly refinish many surface types including fiberglass, acrylic, porcelain, cast iron, fiberglass and even acid resistant plastics tubs and shower surrounds. At Armortech, we offer the highest quality coating systems possible and use the best practices in proper surface preparations.
Each and every well-done bathtub and shower refinishing, or restoration project first begins with proper preparation.
Upon arrival, introductions and a quick site review, the crew will begin with our equipment move-in and equipment staging.
After completion of the equipment move in, and equipment staging, the bathroom (ie., the work area) will be prepped and readied as needed with the appropriate protective drop cloths, vertical plastic sheeting, and masking to protect surfaces that are not being refinished, and to also isolate the work area and contain any airborne particles and fumes that may may be produced during the refinishing stage. Masking off the bathroom also helps to minimize dust, helping to ensure a pristine refinished surface.
At this time, the air registers and dampers in the bathroom will be closed and masked shut. Once completed, special additional lighting and ventilation equipment will be set up in the bathroom and vented with one or more industrial grade ventilation units and flexible ducting.
Once the work area has been prepped, the overflow fixture, and any caulking present on the old tub, which is often mildewed, will be removed. Please note that although the overflow fixture must be removed in order to properly refinish the entire surface of the bathtub, no pipes are in any way affected by the bathtub refinishing process.
If you have requested the installation of a walk-in tub to shower conversion, it is at this point when the access panel will be cut into the existing bathtub, and the unit test fitted.
Next, the bathtub or shower surround will be thoroughly cleaned of all dirt, soap scum, detergents, dyes, waxes and other contaminants with specialized industrial strength cleaners. These products are the first step in the process of stripping the original surface in preparation for receiving the new finish. After which any existing plumbing fixtures such as the faucet and handles will be either removed and/or masked off to protect them from any potential damage or overspray.
If the bathtub material type requires it the surface will be acid etched. Acid etching involves the application of a solution, typically a cream or a gel to improve the porosity of the piece and to aid in the adhesion of subsequent coats. After etching the surface is washed and dried.
The next step addresses any repairs that might need to be made to the original surface of the bathtub and or shower surround. At this point, any cracks, chips, pits or any other surface defects are repaired using time proven techniques specifically designed for use on the particular surface type being refinished.
Next, any tile on the surrounding walls will be repaired, re-grouted and then de-glossed with an acid etch if they too are being refinished.
If you have requested the installation of a new, non-slip bathtub surface, a service we provide to aid with compliance with the ADA (The Americans with Disabilities Act), this is the point at which it will be installed.
To ensure a durable high, gloss finish many of the products used are applied using specialized spray equipment and should only be performed by trained personnel, in a well-ventilated room, while wearing protective clothing and a supplemental fresh air respirator. It is very important that individuals not wearing protective gear remain out of the immediate work area while the new surface is being applied.
The new bathtub or shower surface will be applied in three basic phases
1.) The surface prep phase 2.) The bonding/priming phase, and 3.) The new topcoat phase.
Each of the following steps or phases typically require several applications, progressively finer sanding and reapplication of materials to attain the desired finish.
After the surface area has been sanded and prepared, an appropriate bonding agent is applied, allowed to dry to a tacky finish, followed by the application of an appropriate primer.
The primer is applied to the tub surface in several light consecutive coats. Once the primer coats have been allowed to dry completely, the primered tub surface is once again sanded smooth of imperfections and finally wiped down with a tack cloth to remove any dust that may have settled on it. The tub or shower in now ready to be top coated in the color of your choice.
In most cases, the top coat finish is an acrylic enamel urethane that will not discolor. This top coating is applied in a minimum of four top coats, an initial, light “insurance coat” and several consecutive, heavier, “cover coats.”
Drying time for the top coats will vary from as little as two-hours to as much as 24 hours depending on the product and catalyst used. At this point, your bathtub or shower surround has been totally transformed from a dingy, ugly eyesore into a beautiful, welcome addition to your bathroom, once again.
But the job is not yet complete. Once the top coats have been allowed to dry. The tub is then detailed. Tub detailing involves the use of high-grade polishing compounds which removes any minor imperfections in the new surface and leaves you with a high gloss ultra-smooth and beautiful glass like finish that with proper care will last for many years.
At Armortech, we refuse to compromise our service and offer only the highest quality coatings and use the best practices in proper bathtub and shower surface preparations. Our refinishing process uses a unique and proven bathtub refinishing system that lasts. We’re so confident in our process that we offer a free, five-year, no-hassle warranty.
Do you have a project you'd like to discuss? Give the bathtub refinishing experts at Armortech Resurfacing today at 1-866-308-2400.