Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Resurfacing?
Sometimes referred to as 'refinishing', 'reglazing' or 're-enameling', resurfacing is a method whereby bathroom and kitchen surfaces can be prepared and resurfaced in-situ without removal using a coating system specifically formulated and manufactured for use in the bathroom and kitchen environment.
Professional resurfacing can produce a stunning makeover in just 2 or 3 days and at less than half the cost of the renovating alternative. The new surface is warranted against loss of adhesion for 7 years.
In practice, a resurfaced bath can give good service for more than 10 years depending on use and cleaning methods. Read more about the resurfacing method here.
2. What can be resurfaced?
Many material types can be resurfaced using a variety of preparation and bonding methods followed by a top coating system suited to the intended use: Porcelain Ceramic Tile Cultured marble Gel Coat Pressure Laminates Metals Acrylic Vitreous china Vitreous Enamel Most hard surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen can be resurfaced: Baths Basins Shower Trays Wall Tiles Floor Tiles Benchtops Clawfoot baths Vanities Bathroom Fittings
3. Can I resurface the bath and tiles myself?
DIY bath paint kits are available in some hardware stores, but the results may not please you. There is also a possibility that 'peel back' may occur if any aspect of surface preparation is not done correctly.
Apart from brush marks and other visible surface imperfections, the cost of calling in a professional resurfacer when the surface begins to fail is considerably higher due to the extra cost of chemical stripping.
A 'factory finish' that will stand the test of time is achieved using professional spray equipment and specialised resurfacing knowledge. That is why Worldwide Refinishing Systems trains independent applicators in all aspects of surface preparation and spray application before they commence their resurfacing operations.
4. A new bath may cost less than a resurface. So why resurface?
If a total bathroom renovation is planned, then replacing rather than resurfacing the built-in bath may be the simplest and cheapest alternative. The exception might be if your bath is a cast iron unit and you wish to hang on to it because of its size and solid construction.
When only the bath is being replaced due to wear and tear, the cost of the replacement bath is the cheapest part, because the work will most likely require the services of a carpenter, plumber and tiler. Matching floor and wall tiles will be difficult if more than 15 years old, so extensive retiling may be necessary. The result is that the replacement of a tub costing only $200 to $300 can end up costing much, much more and cause a lot of inconvenience. More about resurfacing prices here.
5. Are Inspections and Quotations Free?
Site inspections and quotations are usually free. Many operators will give an estimate over the phone without actually viewing the work to be done. This leads to misunderstandings when unforeseen problems result in extra costs.
The best approach is to arrange a convenient time for an inspection and written quotation. You are then able to get all your questions answered and ensure the best possible result.
6. Why do quotes from different contractors vary so much?
The prices offered by different companies vary because the amount of time taken to complete the job and the quality of materials used vary from applicator to applicator.
As with any other contracting work, one usually gets what one pays for! Keeping costs to a minimum is important, but so is the value received for the outlay. Bathroom resurfacing is a long term project, and a small difference in price is perhaps less important than years of trouble-free use.
That said, the dearest quote may not provide you with the best job either, because some companies incur higher advertising and management costs than others. Read more about resurfacing prices here.
7. Can all resurfacing be done in-situ at home?
The majority of refinishing work is completed in the bathroom or kitchen without removal. However, some items like antique tubs, pedestal basins, refrigerators, etc, may be more easily resurfaced off-site in a workshop.
8. How is surface preparation completed?
Porcelain, vitreous enamel and ceramic surfaces must be chemically prepared in order to promote maximum bond between the new surface and mineral substrate. Proper preparation of such surfaces can only be achieved by correct use of either a suitable etch/primer or adhesor system. More about resurfacing here.
9. Can colours be changed or matched?
No matter what the original colour, it can be changed. A professional refinisher has specialised tinters that enable the matching and mixing of almost any colour.
10. Will resurfacing take care of chips and other damage?
Chips, cracks and other damage in the original surface should always be repaired before refinishing. The area is filled to match the contour of the surrounding area.
Different repair materials are used, depending on the original surface. For instance, the materials used to repair porcelain is different from that used on an acrylic surface.
11. Can a resurfaced bath be resurfaced again in the future?
A previously re-surfaced surface may be resurfaced again. However, the original resurface may have to be partly or completely stripped before applying the new surface, for which an additional charge will be made.
12. What is the resurfacing material?top
There are many different materials available in the marketplace, the commonest being acrylic urethanes and acrylic epoxies. All are 2-component systems which tend to produce better, longer lasting results.
13. How is the resurfacing material applied?
Applicators commonly use either an HVLP turbine system or HVLP conventional air pressure system to achieve a smooth finish and high gloss. Solvent fumes are removed by fan-forced evacuation through flexible ducting to the atmosphere.
14. How many coats are needed to stand the test of time?
The number of coats applied (usually 3) will depend on the material used, the cost of the job and the company doing the work.
The coating should not significantly yellow or discolour over time. It should be flexible enough so it will not crack with thermal expansion and contraction created by hot/cold water or, in the case of fibreglass and acrylic, not crack with movement of the underlying surface.
The coating should not naturally break down and become dull over time, provided it is cleaned properly. It should be corrosion and acid resistant so the strong chemicals that are often used to clean plugged drains or to clean dirty and mildew-covered tile grout will not affect the refinished surface. Read more about Classic Surface here.
15. Are the chemicals and coatings toxic?
Professional refinishers will have Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) available. The main ingredients to be aware of in coatings are LEAD and ISOCYANATES. These days, it is unusual for lead to be present; however, isocyanates are a different story. Isocyanates are additives used to accelerate the curing time. Unfortunately, they are not only hazardous to the applicator, who should wear special air breathing equipment, but can create a potential problem to the consumer.
The consumer should always make the company aware of infants or persons with respiratory problems and ask if the coating contains isocyanates so precautions can be taken.
16. Are there fumes during the resurfacing process and lingering smells afterwards?
All coatings will have some fumes. Ask the company how it intends to evacuate the fumes from the work area. The least amount of fumes will result if the company uses a professional "evacuation system".
The consumer should never allow the company to use the built-in exhaust fan in the bathroom, as over-spray will foul the fan blades and cause an accumulation of solvent fumes in the loft or other enclosed space.
17. How long does it take to resurface a bath?
Most jobs will take between 4 and 6 hours depending on repairs and overall condition. Longer completion times usually indicate the amount of work and preparation that went into the job to produce a lasting result.
18. How long before I can re-use the bath after resurfacing?
Ready-to-use time can vary from 6 to 48 hours depending on the coating system used, ambient temperature and applicator technique.
It is possible to reduce the cure time when necessary by the use of an infrared system.
19. Can bath crystals, oils and hair dyes harm a resurfaced bath?
Yes, some skin oils and hair colorants that can penetrate human tissue are also able to stain a new surface and can be difficult to remove without buffing. Normal soaps, foam baths and bath oils should not damage a correctly applied bathroom coating provided it is a quality bathroom resurfacing system.
20. Do I need to use a special cleaner with my resurfaced bath or bathroom?
Any non-abrasive quality detergent cleaner that dissolves fats and hard water deposits is suited to the purpose provide it is applied correctly and totally rinsed away afterwards.
ABRASIVE powder and cream cleaners and scouring pads must not be used under any circumstances.
21. Can a rubber mat be left in the bath?
No new or resurfaced tub will stand up to the permanent use of a bath mat over time. The suction cups on the mat bottom will eventually cause marking and in the case of a resurfaced bath, blistering due to airless immersion. Most companies specifically exclude the use of bath mats or stipulate that the mat should be removed from the bath and the bath dried between uses.
22. What anti-slip methods are available for the bathroom and around the home?
The best approach is to ask your refinisher for a slip resistant surface. This can be achieved by mixing fine polymer particles or fine Al Oxide crystals with the resurfacing coating to form a pattern in the bottom of the bath or shower tray floor. Read more about anti-slip methods here.
23. How are walls and other surfaces protected during the resurfacing operation?
All flat surfaces, walls, mirrors, wall heaters, etc. that could be affected by overspray are protected. Dust sheets and the careful application of masking tape and masking paper in all critical positions is usually sufficient for this.
24. Do I have to do any clean up and re-caulking?
The refinisher usually removes all masking and disposes of same off site. Check that removal of masking papers and application of caulk at wall joints is included in the price and that this is carried out either the same day or in the next 2 days after completion.
In remote locations, the customer will save cost by offering to may need to remove masking papers and apply caulk themselves.
25. How long should the resurfaced bath last?
A properly maintained surface should provide many years of service and enjoyment for the consumer. In the residential field the lifetime that might be expected is between 5 and 15 years depending on cleaning standards, avoidance of accidental damage and misuse. In the hotel industry the period is between 4 and 7 years depending on daily cleaning standards, the level of wear and tear, and misuse.
26. What is covered by a warranty and how long is it for?
Bathroom applicators are independent businesses responsible for warranting their own workmanship. The warranty covers general loss of adhesion or any other coating failure that can be attributed to workmanship or materials. It does not cover accidental damage or misuse or failure of any substrate. The warranty should always be printed on the invoice or on a separate agreement so that the customer can be fully aware of and satisfied with the terms.