11 Things You Need to Know Before Refinishing your Bathtub

Everything you need to make an empowered decision

When shopping around for the best deal in renewing the look of your bathtub or counter top, everything you need to know isn't always on the surface - it might just be in the surface. When it comes to choosing the right service or even with choosing the right method of refinishing, I have witnessed countless mistakes and pitfalls that I don't want you to experience.  My name is Eric Geddes.  I have been working as a contractor for over 20 years in the Portland Metropolitan Area and have refinished hundreds of bathtubs.   Please take 5 minutes to truly understand what you are buying, and what you should expect from your bathtub refinishing company.  Whether you do business with me or one of my competitors, it is important to me share this information with you.  If you would rather just chat, dial (503) 516-7640 and I will gladly discuss your project with you personally.

1.  Get a 100% Money Back Guarantee

Many companies offer a 5 year warrantee, but no money back guarantee.  Warrantees cover defaults in workmanship but do not offer your money back if you don't like the final product.  Also, ask for a copy of the warrantee before you purchase, and make sure you read the fine print.  Often times workmanship is not covered and you may have to pay for any post-work repairs.  

I offer a 100% money back guarantee that you will be satisfied with the final product.  I am so confident in my ability and my products, that I will gladly refund your purchase price if I cannot make your bathtub or countertop look fantastic.  Then I back that up with a 5 year warrantee that covers materials and labor. This means that there is Absolutely No Risk To You.  Don't hire a bathtub refinisher that doesn't offer this kind of a guarantee. Just simply ask yourself, "why wouldn't they?"

2.  Watch out for Toxic and Environmentally Unfriendly Products

Most refinishing contractors use dangerous products containing awful smelling VOC's.  They take a long time to dry (the minimum of 24 hours) and as these products harden, they will release these chemicals into your home, and environment.  I know this because I have used them too - but now I've found a better solution.

Our revolutionary product is not only safer and more environmentally friendly, but it dries faster and and is the most durable refinishing method I have ever worked with. Your household will hardly be inconvenienced (2-4 hours) and you won't have the the dangerous chemical residue lingering in the air.  Please take a few minutes to educate yourself on the difference between conventional resurfacing and UV Cured methods.  Be sure to ask your contractor what type of product they use; how long the fumes will last; and if it is harmful to people, pets, and the environment during the curing time.  If safety and the environment are a concern to you, do not use a contractor that uses these harmful products.

3. Know the True Replacement Costs vs. Refinishing Cost

Yes, when you see the $300 bathtub at the home improvement store, you may think, “why not just buy a new one”?  But before you get out your credit card, think about this: who is going to tear out the old bathtub and install the new one?  Replacing a bathtub or countertop is one of those “tip of the iceburg” projects that may seem inexpensive at the store, but can get costly the more you delve into it. If you do it yourself, it can lead to a commitment of time and lead to a big mess you didn't anticipate.  This project might take a weekend, but more often than not, it takes a week – a week without the use of the room that contains the tub or countertop.  Refinishing offers the consumer a better option as far as cost, convenience, and overall impact on your environment.  For a cost analysis on projects such as these, please look at our page on Replacement VS Resurfacing.  Call me right now for a firm quote on refinishing your bathtub at (503) 516-7640.

4.  Know the limitations of the “Do it yourself” kit from the home improvement store

Using one of these DIY kits to accomplish a polished, professional looking refinishing job that will last is very difficult.  It would require a great deal of time, effort, and skill on your part.  The biggest issues with these kits are the bonding agents they use, the process in which the product is applied, and the overall durability. 

Proper bonding of the refinishing product to a porcelain sink or bathtub requires a professional strength bonding or whetting agent, plus a delaminating solution. (Sorry to go so technical, but it is a really important point) These products are only available to professional refinishers because these bonders and delaminating pastes are hazardous chemicals.  Because of this liability, most companies do not include them in the DIY kit you purchased from the hardware store or off the Internet.  If the kit does offer a “bonding agent”, it is usually just acetone or alcohol that will not delaminate the surface area enough to allow for any lasting adhesion, and therefore the durability of the product is significantly reduced.

You also won’t be able to achieve that polished, professional look with these products because they don’t contain the same chemical compounds needed to achieve that finish.  Because of chemical make-up, these kits take longer to dry than professional methods - so if the product needs to be brushed or rolled on it will inevitably leave brush marks and if it is applied with a spray can it will usually streak.  Also, because the drying process is longer, it makes it more likely that dirt or other particulates will land on the surface area before the product is completely dry leaving a rough or dingy looking surface.

The other things that these kits cannot offer but a professional contractor will are:

  • A guarantee/ warrantee of the product
  • Repairs to chipped or damaged areas of the surface before application
  • Repairs to any flaws that may occur during the application process
  • Clean/professional look to the finished product
  • Safe removal of any leftover toxic adhesives or polymers that were used in the resurfacing process

And while we’re thinking about the toxins and the chemicals that will be invading your home…

5.  Know the chemical compounds that make up the refinishing product

Most conventional methods of bathtub and counter top refinishing contain large amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and isocyanates.  These chemicals help the product dry and harden but they can also have adverse effects on your health and environment.  People with asthma or other respiratory problems; those who are prone to headaches such as migraines; have a sensitivity to fumes; or women who may be pregnant will want to limit their exposure to these chemicals.  Your contractor should be able to provide an MSDS of the product that will be used as well as answer the following questions:

  • How long does it take the product to dry?
  • How long do the chemical fumes typically last?
  • How does the company deal with the toxic fumes?
  • How long will my family/pets have to stay away from the treated area?

Generally, most of these conventional methods of refinishing take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours before the product is completely dry and ready for use.  As the product is drying, it will continue to emit these chemicals into the air. 

If toxins and fumes concern you, then you may want consult with a contractor that uses a UV Cured method of resurfacing like we do.

6.  Get a sample of the product that you can physically touch

The only way you are going to know if the end product will have that like-new luster and durability is to touch/ inspect/ scratch a sample of the product.  This will not only give an idea of how the end result of your project will look, but how the product will stand up to the exposure of everyday use.  Does the surface seem smooth or does it seem porous? The more porous the product, the harder it will be to clean and maintain.  Your contractor should be able to provide you some tile samples of the product as well as offer you a list of cleansing products and useful tips that will prolong the life of the treated surface area.  Click here obtain our free sample by mail.  SEND ME A FREE SAMPLE OF YOUR BATHTUB REFINISHING PRODUCT.

7.  Know How Long Your Bathroom or Kitchen will be Unusable

I know I have already mentioned that it takes 24 – 48 hours before the customer can fully utilize areas treated with conventional refinishing methods.  This is important to remember because this will be how long your counter tops or your bathtub will be unavailable to you and your family.  It may seem like a no-brainer now, but it’s easy to forget and can become a huge inconvenience when you only have one bathroom or you need to use your countertops.  If minimizing downtime is important to you, consult with a contractor that uses a UV Cured method of refinishing like we do.

8.  Make sure the contractor is licensed and bonded

Due to the challenging economy, fly-by-night contracting operations have infiltrated this profession.  It seems that anyone with a paint spray gun and a business card can open up shop and the customer is the one who pays the penalties.  Contractors in this line of work must be registered with the CCB (Construction Contractors Board).  If you hire a contractor that isn’t licensed YOU assume the financial responsibility should any problems arise from the contractor’s work.  Most reputable contractors will have their business license number on all of their marketing materials.  As a consumer, your greatest protection against fraud is checking the CCB, and the Better Business Bureau. Our CCB license number is 187529.

9.  Know the experience level of the technician, as well as the company. 

Because of the recent uptick in demand for resurfacing contractors, you may run into a contractor that has only a few jobs under his belt.  You want to make sure that the contractor has had at least a few years experience and is willing to provide references.  Also, the person you talk to on the phone may not be the contractor that is doing the work.  How do you know that the guy holding the spray gun will have the same knowledge and experience?  Also, the contractor may have years of experience, but has it been in this area of the country?  Oregon and Washington have specific laws and practices that contractors must adhere to when performing a job. A large company may have lots of experience, but send unexperienced minimum wage workers to do your project.  Do not hire a contractor until you know who is going to do the actual work, and what personal experience he has.

10.  Know if the company is a local business or is a national franchise.

While national franchises have the financial backing to buy radio ads and commercial notoriety as well as offer cut-rate pricing on their services, your service technician might not be personally invested in giving you the best experience possible.  Typically, franchises have different goals than local companies.  My goal is to make your experience the best it can possibly be.  My personal and professional reputation is on the line with every job.

11. Get local references from your contractor.

Your contractor may have a nice web page and great photos of his work, but can he provide references from customer he has done work for?  Most reputable contractors should be able to give you some contact information of people who have used them before.  You may also want to look on websites such as Angie’s List or even the Better Business Bureau to see how well this contractor has performed or if they have had any complaints filed against him. And as with any contractor - you should check us out too!

I hope this page has been helpful to you as you shop around for bathtub refinishing and countertop resurfacing options.  Hopefully, I have empowered you with the knowledge you need to make a great choice.  If you have any questions about my services, please contact me and I will be happy to help.

© Crystal Clean Resurfacing CCB#187529

(503) 516-7640 ▪ PO Box 231029 ▪ Portland, OR 97281