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Fixture Type  BATHTUBS

Bathtub refinishing is also known as bathtub resurfacing, bathtub re-glazing,  bathtub refurbishing, and even bathtub re-enameling (please note, though, that "real" enameling on a bathtub only happens during the manufacturing process when porcelain is applied to metal in 1400-degree ovens).  No matter the term used, bathtub refinishing is a "sprayed-on" process that can make a worn out, damaged bathtub look like new again.  This like-new appearance cannot be achieved with Do-It-Yourself products.  Only a professional refinisher has access to the high-tech, durable coatings that are required to give a bathtub its shiny new appearance.  More importantly, only a seasoned, professional refinisher has the tools and skill to apply the surface correctly.

Did you know bathtubs can be made from four different types of materials?  acrylic, cultured marble, fiberglass, and porcelain.  Read on to learn about the differences between these types of materials.

Porcelain Bathtubs

Porcelain Bathtub Before and After Refinishing

Porcelain tubs are manufactured with either a steel or cast iron base, and are the most common type of bathtub found in homes, especially in secondary bathrooms.  These types of tubs are specially designed during the manufacturing process for "enameling" (baking a porcelain finish on top of the metal base).  That's why we call them "porcelain tubs".

There are two types of porcelain bathtubs.  Steel-based porcelain tubs (sometimes called "builder grade" tubs) are lighter, narrower, shallower, and less expensive than cast iron tubs.  Cast iron tubs are deeper, wider, and sometimes longer than steel-based tubs, and they also keep the bath water warmer for a longer period of time.

A tell-tale sign that it's time to refinish a porcelain tub is when it's getting hard to clean ... or hard to keep clean, and it never really looks clean no matter what you do.  This is a sign that the porcelain finish is wearing off (usually on the bottom, but sometimes on the sides, too).  How does that happen?  The finish wears off over time due to cleaning with harsh abrasives, which can cause a porcelain surface to become so porous that soap and body oils collect easily on the surface, making it nearly impossible to look clean, even when you know it is.

SKINNING A TUB:  Our 40+ years of experience has taught us that older porcelain bathtubs, or those that have been refinished before, and those that were manufactured with anti-slip bottoms sandblasted into the porcelain finish - develop pinholes, pock marks, and dimples that may or may not be seen with the naked eye.  However, once we start to spray on the new finish, these flawed areas begin to appear.  To help reduce this problem prior to refinishing, we fill in these flawed areas with bondo to build them up, then gently sand them smooth as part of the prep phase.  We call this "skinning" the tub, and it is part of the repair process.

Porcelain Bathtubs with Tiled Surrounds

Tub and Tile Before and After RefinishingPorcelain tubs set in an alcove are generally surrounded by three (3) walls of tile.  Refinishing is recommended for wall tile under these scenarios:

  • The walls do not look clean anymore, even when you know they are.

  • The wall tile is the wrong color.

  • You want to seal the grout lines so water doesn't get behind the tile and begin causing damage.

Claw foot or "slipper" Porcelain Bathtub Before and After RefinishingBefore considering refinishing wall tile, you need to ensure the wall behind the tile is still in good shape.  To do this, gently push on any tiles that are discolored, loose, or have missing grout.  If they feel soft or "spongy," that may indicate water damage behind the tile that needs to be addressed.  Refinishing is not an option until you know that the walls behind the tile are solid.  Refinishing the walls and tub at the same time will instantly make the entire area look brand new.

Slipper tubs, sometimes called "claw foot" tubs, are always porcelain-over-cast-iron and raised off the ground by their "claw feet" or some kind of pedestal base. These types of tubs are usually free-standing (not caulked into an alcove surrounded by wall tile) and have a rough, unfinished outside.  Slipper tubs can be 5-7 feet in length.  If your slipper tub is already installed in the bathroom, the plumbing will need to be removed before we arrive to refinish.

Cultured Marble Bathtubs

Cultured marble bathtubs are always oversized, can be round, oval, or square in shape, and may be jetted.  One of the easiest ways to spot this man-made material is the "swirly", "speckled", or "veiny" look to its finish.

Cultured Marble bathtub before and after refinishing

Because cultured marble bathtubs can be any size or shape, we will need pictures and 3 measurements (length, width, and depth) sent to the email address at the top of this page in order to give you a bid.

When taking these measurements, do not dip down into the tub.  Instead, just measure straight across the tub from front to back for length; side to side for width; and for the depth, measure from the outside of the tub  starting at the floor and go straight up vertically to the top of the tub. Please include an overall image of the tub, along with specific shots of any damage (rust, chips, stains, cracks, pits).

Acrylic Bathtubs

Acrylic Bathtub Before and After Refinishing

Acrylic bathtubs can be a 5 foot rectangle like a porcelain tub, or they can also be part of a wall unit where the tub and walls are one molded piece, with no caulk line separating the tub from the walls.  They can also be oversized, jetted or non-jetted.  If yours is not a 5 foot rectangle, we will need pictures and 3 measurements (length, width, and depth) sent to the email address at the top of this page.

When taking these measurements, do not dip down into the tub.  Instead, just measure straight across the tub from front to back for length; side to side for width; and for the depth, measure from the outside of the tub  starting at the floor and go straight up vertically to the top of the tub. Please include an overall image of the tub, along with specific shots of any damage (rust, chips, stains, cracks, pits).

Fiberglass Bathtubs

Fiberglass Bathtub Before and After Refinishing

Fiberglass bathtubs can be a 5 foot rectangle like a porcelain tub, or they can also be part of a wall unit where the tub and walls are one molded piece, with no caulk line separating the tub from the walls.  They can also be oversized, jetted or non-jetted.  If yours is not a 5 foot rectangle, we will need pictures and 3 measurements (length, width, and depth) sent to the email address at the top of this page.

When taking these measurements, do not dip down into the tub.  Instead, just measure straight across the tub from front to back for length; side to side for width; and for the depth, measure from the outside of the tub  starting at the floor and go straight up vertically to the top of the tub. Please include an overall image of the tub, along with specific shots of any damage (rust, chips, stains, cracks, pits).


Repair Work Prior to Refinishing

If there is damage in a bathtub, all of it must be repaired before the bathtub can be refinished. Some porcelain bathtubs are manufactured with anti-slip bottoms that have been sandblasted into the porcelain finish.  Because of that, the section of the sandblasted porcelain develops pinholes, pock marks, and dimples that may or may not be seen with the naked eye.  However, once we start to spray on the new finish, these flawed areas begin to appear.  To help reduce this problem prior to refinishing, we fill in these flawed areas with bondo to build them up, then gently sand them smooth as part of the prep phase.  We call this process, "skinning" the tub, and it is part of the repair process.

Please note that our warranty is specifically related to the two things under our control:  workmanship and product defects.  We do not guarantee that rust, cracks, or holes won't reappear later in a bathtub if the underlying source of the damage (possibly a house shift, improper initial installation, water leak, or previous damage to the same area) has not been corrected.

Service Areas

Our service areas extend to most of the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex including the cities of Arlington, Bedford, Carrollton, Colleyville, Coppell, Dallas, Euless, Farmers Branch, Flower Mound, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Grapevine, Haltom City, Hurst, Irving, Keller, Lewisville, North Richland Hills, Richland Hills, Roanoke, Southlake, Trophy Club, Watauga, and Westlake.  These cities indicate our maximum travel range.

Call Debbie at 817.305.0300 or email debbie@sharprefinishing.com if you're unsure whether we travel to your area without an additional travel charge, which generally ranges from $50-$100 per day.