Tub Refinishing
Reglazing, or refinishing, a worn-out bathtub is a more site-intensive process, calling for chemicals that are hazardous enough to require a respirator and special protective suit for the technician who does the work. "Basically, a refinisher turns a residential bathroom into a spray booth for a few hours," explains Mike Grampp, who runs a thriving 11-year-old tub refinishing business in Richmond, Kentucky.
The first step in reglazing involves masking the surfaces around the tub to protect from overspray and properly venting the bathroom to extract the toxic fumes. After he has removed the caulk, the refinisher swathes the tub in hydrofluoric acid, a highly toxic agent that not only dissolves what's left of the porcelain glaze but also etches the surface so the new finish will adhere.
Next, the refinisher washes away the hydrofluoric acid, installs new caulk and dries the tub with the help of a fan. He then sprays on two coats of a fast-drying epoxy to promote adhesion of the finish coats. To finish, he gives the tub a cleaning with a tack cloth to remove any dust particles or insects, and then sprays four applications of a polyurethane finish coat with sanding in between. Finally, the refinisher polishes the tub. The whole process takes a single technician about four to six hours, depending on how extensive the repair is, but the tub needs to cure for a minimum of 24 hours before the water is turned on.
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