Bath Tub and Shower Refinishing

Though I don't want to discourage do-it-yourselfers from refinishing their own tubs or enclosures, my first instinct is to tell them that it isn't as easy as getting a can of spray paint and repainting a small piece of furniture.  First, to do a good job you need a HVLP paint spraying system. That means high volume, low pressure. If you have never used this type of equipment before, you could make a big mess.  (Or experiment a bit and learn... the way handymen of old learned how to use strange tools!)

Preparation is essential. If not done correctly, the finish will most definitely begin peeling.

What about the "hardware store" bathtub refinishing kits?

You can purchase the kits at your local hardware stores but they are designed to be applied with a paint brush or roller. The result, unfortunately, is that these kit jobs LOOK painted! You may have problems with peeling. If you call a refinisher after that they will charge more because they have to remove all the old stuff.

Choosing a professional refinisher...

When looking for a refinisher ask them the following:

Most refinishers offer 5 year guarantee, some of the older systems only offer 1 or 2 years. If they offer more than 5, I would be worried because it is only good if that company is still around.

Acid etching is an old method that has a tendency to peel much sooner than chemical bonding.  It was developed to allow the refinishing product to adhere to ceramic tile and porcelain tubs.  A newer option is chemical bonding using a primer that adheres tenaciously, giving a great base for the finish.  It will also work on plastic/fiberglass enclosures.

Here are the general steps in refinishing a bathtub: