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      Bathtub Refinishing VS Bathtub Reglazing: What is the Difference?

      Bathtub Refinishing VS Bathtub Reglazing: What is the Difference?


      Are you worried about replacing your bathtub? You have not found a suitable replacement bathtub and the current bathtub is not completely damaged. So should you choose bathtub refinishing or bathtub reglazing? What’s the difference between these two? This article will help you find the answer. Read on to learn more.

      1. Bathtub Refinishing VS Bathtub Reglazing

      In fact, bathtub refinishing and bathtub reglazing are two different concepts. Let’s compare the two from three aspects.

      1) Definition

      Here’s a look at what tub refinishing is and what tub reglazing is. These two terms are often confused, so we’ll first define both terms to help you understand the difference between them more easily.

      #1. Bathtub Refinishing

      Refinishing is the process of renovating an existing bathtub by polishing surface imperfections, filling gaps or cracks, and applying a new surface treatment to enhance the overall aesthetics of the bathtub. Experts use this term most of the time to describe the entire project, from start to finish.

      #2. Re-glaze the tub

      The tub was reglazed and was a purely cosmetic restoration. It removes small surface imperfections and makes your tub look brand new. Here’s how it works.

      A professional bathtub repair specialist will start by sanding the surface of your bathtub. This will remove any minor scratches or stains. Afterward, they will fill in any remaining cracks or gaps. They will then apply a coat of primer and paint to the tub. They may need to add multiple coats, depending on your tub.

      Once the painting is complete, it will undergo a final polish. Reglazing can transform a worn tub, but some tubs need help beyond a simple reglazing treatment. Reglazing is just one step in the refinishing process—the last step, to be exact. Almost any size or type of tub can be reglazed.

      However, it’s important to note that the reglazing process is temporary and not a permanent solution to an unsightly tub.

      So, the main difference between “tub refinishing” and “tub reglazing” is that “tub refinishing” refers to the entire process of restoring a bathtub, while “tub reglazing” refers to the final step of applying a commercial coating.

      Bathtub Refinishing VS Bathtub Reglazing

      2) Cost

      The cost of bathtub refinishing and reglazing is different. In comparison, reglazing costs less than refinishing.

      The cost of bathtub refinishing depends on many factors, such as the material of the bathtub, size, labor, extent of damage, and more. The larger the size of the tub, the more expensive the repair will be. According to statistics, bathtub refinishing typically costs $335 to $628, with the national average price being $481.

      The cost of reglazing a bathtub depends primarily on the size of the bathtub and whether it has been refinished previously. Because previous glass repairs may require professionals to use additional products to create a smooth surface, which means the entire process takes longer. Reglazing is the most affordable bathtub renovation option, costing on average between $200 and $650. And it operates very quickly, usually taking just one day to complete.

      3) Operation steps

      There are also differences between bathtub refinishing and reglazing procedures.

      #1. Steps to refinish a bathtub

      1. Use an exhaust fan to ventilate the bathroom and move toxic fumes outside. Wear protective gear, including goggles, gloves, and a respirator to avoid toxic chemicals.
      2. Cover floors, fixtures, and surrounding areas with heavy-duty plastic.
      3. Prepare the tub surface using a cleaning solution and 240-grit sandpaper, thoroughly removing all oil, soap scum, grease, and old finish.
      4. Clean and rinse the tub. Then, use a second solution and a scouring pad to roughen the surface so the coating adheres better. Clean the tub thoroughly and dry with paper towels.
      5. Use primer thinner and paper towels to remove traces of the cleaning solution.
      6. Use two-part filler putty and a putty knife to fill in damaged areas, such as chips or scratches. Let the putty dry for 30 minutes, then sand it smooth with fine sandpaper. Wipe away dust with primer thinner and paper towels.
      7. Mask the outside of the tub with painter’s tape and apply a chemical adhesive.
      8. Mix the primer ingredients (primer, catalyst, and reducer) in the sprayer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Connect the sprayer to the compressor.
      9. Apply the topcoat with a sprayer. Wearing a respirator is critical. On a piece of cardboard, you can practice using the sprayer.
      10. Mix the top coat while waiting for the base coat to dry (about 30 minutes).
      11. Apply the topcoat with a sprayer. Wait 48 hours for the topcoat to dry.
      12. Then, use ultra-fine 1,500-grit sandpaper to sand away any rough spots.

      #2. Reglazing Steps

      1. To clean the bathtub, the surface of the bathtub must be thoroughly clean and free of oil and soap scum.
      2. Sand the tub surface, any debris must be filled with putty and completely sanded smooth.
      3. Wait until there is no moisture on the surface of the tub.
      4. Wear coveralls and gloves to avoid contact with touch-up paint.
      5. Spray the refinishing paint evenly over the surface of the tub and seal.

      Please note: Refinish paint fumes are hazardous and require adequate ventilation with an organic vapor respirator.

      Bathtub Refinishing VS Bathtub Reglazing

      4) Advantages and Disadvantages

      Bathtub refinishing and bathtub reglazing also have their own pros and cons.

      #1. Pros and Cons of Bathtub Refinishing

      When your bathtub ages, remodeling can give your bathroom a new look. Refinishing is a simple process, but the results are very impressive. Here are some of the benefits of renovating your bathtub:

      Cheaper than replacing a tub: Bathtub refinishing is a cost-effective way to make your tub look like new at a fraction of the cost of replacement. The average cost to remodel a bathroom is  $480, while the average cost to replace a bathtub is  $5,600.

      Extend the life of your tub: Refinishing your tub is the most cost-effective and easiest way to extend its life. Refinishing your tub will give you a longer-lasting, more attractive, and durable surface finish. Additionally, tub refinishing can eliminate common problems like rust, corrosion, detergent damage, and mold. Not to mention, bring your tub back to life. 

      Lead Protection: There are many reasons to renovate your bathtub. Among them, the ability to protect your family from the dangers of lead exposure is certainly an important one. Bathtub refinishing creates a protective layer over the wires, preventing them from leaking and contaminating you or your family. Refinishing can also help give your tub a new look.


      • A refinished bathtub will only last for 10 years.
      • As a result, the user experience is not as good as it used to be.
      • The cost of repair is determined by many factors, making DIY repair difficult.

      #2. Pros and Cons of Bathtub Reglazing


      • Less expensive than refinishing a bathtub.
      • The operation is fast and can be completed in one day.
      • The operation is simple and you can DIY it yourself.


      • The substances professionals use to reglaze your tub can be a bit dangerous. The materials used for etching and glazing are so toxic that you will need to leave the house for a day or two so that the house can ventilate properly.
      • Re-glazing can only be done once. If you’ve already had a reglaze, you may want to consider a replacement tub.
      • Weather can affect how long it takes for the topcoat to dry and how well it bonds to the surface. Humidity is detrimental to the entire process, so it’s best to avoid tub refinishing during the dog days of summer. The cool, wet weather typical of fall or spring provides ideal conditions.

      Bathtub Refinishing VS Bathtub Reglazing

      2. FAQ

      Here are answers to frequently asked questions about bathtub refinishing.

      1) When do I need tub refinishing?

      Filling small chips and cracks can stop them from growing larger and prevent more serious structural damage to your tub. If you’re not sure whether your tub could benefit from refinishing or reglazing, look for the following signs.

      #1. Chips and Scratches

      With regular use, tubs can pick up small scratches and chips from dropped tools or abrasive cleaners. These are usually cosmetic issues rather than issues that may impair the functionality of the tub, but anything that mars the smooth surface of your tub can harbor dirt and bacteria.

      #2. Discoloration

      Hard water, hair dye, chemicals, and bath bombs can all leave stains on your tub’s surface that cleaning can’t remove. Reglazing involves taking off the top layer of finish and covering it so any discoloration is removed.

      #3. Peeling or bubbling paint

      Paint bubbling or peeling will only get worse as more water or air gets under the tub’s surface. Like scratches, peeling paint can become a breeding ground for dirt and bacteria.

      #4. Rust stains

      Tubs made of steel or cast iron have a porcelain or enamel coating, but if the coating peels or cracks, it can begin to rust. Rust often spreads and can damage a large surface finish if not caught and removed promptly. Likewise, iron pipes can develop rust on the surface of your bathtub over time. Refinishing can remove this rust.

      #5. Watermarks

      Gray or discolored spots may indicate that water is seeping through the tub’s surface. Over time, this will damage the entire surface of the tub and may even damage the structure.

      Bathtub Refinishing VS Bathtub Reglazing

      2) How to hire professional maintenance personnel

      When looking for a professional bathtub refinisher, consider the following factors.

      • No special permit is required for tub reglazing, but all contractors should be bonded and insured.
      • Make sure the contractor is experienced in the type of patching or lining you want.
      • Ask if there are any additional costs for removing grout or reapplying caulk.
      • Ask what preparation or cleaning work, if any, is included in the price.
      • Check the contractor’s Better Business Bureau page and customer reviews on Trustpilot and Google.
      • Ask about workmanship guarantees.

      3) What is the difference between bathtub refinishing, reglazing, and resurfacing?

      Most of the time, refinishing, reglazing, and resurfacing refers to the same process of stripping off the exterior of a tub and replacing it. Some people use the term “refinishing” to refer to the final step in the refinishing process or to a more thorough refinishing project.

      4) Is a bathtub renovation worth it?

      If there is only minor cosmetic damage to the tub, it may be worth refinishing it. This is a more cost-effective alternative to adding a liner or installing a new tub. However, patching does not repair major damage.

      5) How long does a tub reglaze last?

      A tub reglaze can last anywhere from  10 to 15 years, depending on the materials used, whether the surface was treated by a professional, and how well the tub is cleaned and maintained. When done correctly, a reglazed tub will look like new, and contractors typically offer a 3 to 10-year warranty.

      To extend the life of your refurbished bathtub:

      • Avoid abrasive cleaners, bleach, and steel wool, which can cause scratches, discoloration, and damage to the coating.
      • The surface of the tub should not be used to store shampoo bottles or other products.
      • Do not use pads with suction cups on the bottom of the tub. When reglazing a tub, ask your contractor to provide a non-slip coating.
      • Avoid reglazing the tub yourself, as a DIY kit may only last two years.

      Bathtub Refinishing VS Bathtub Reglazing

      3. Conclusion

      When your bathtub is not completely damaged, it is recommended that you do not need to replace it with a new bathtub. You can choose to refinish or reglaze, which is a great cost-saving option. This article summarizes the differences between bathtub refinishing and reglazing, and hopefully, after reading this, you will know which one to choose. If you have any other questions, please contact Nicemoco.

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