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Tip: Refinishing Can Save Time and Money

Refinishing old, damaged or out-of-date bathtubs and other plumbing fixtures, tile and plastic laminate counter tops is the most economical and efficient way to revitalize your kitchen or bathroom, at a mere fraction of the cost of replacement. Replacement involves not only the cost of the new fixture, but also the time and money spent replacing the wall, tile, wallboard, tile floor and subfloor, plus pipes and hardware which are damaged during the removal of the tub.

Q: I have a 26-year-old bathtub which has rust stains and discoloration. Is there anything you can do to improve its appearance?

A: There is a solution to make your bathtub look better by refinishing the original surface to take on the look and the durability of a new porcelain tub. The process takes four to six hours to complete and 36 hours to dry, after which your tub will be back in use. You may choose to replace the hardware to complete the brand new look.

Q: Recently I moved into a two-year-old house, and the fiberglass bathtub still looks fine, with the exception of an eight-inch crack that opens when I step into the tub. Can this be repaired without resurfacing the whole tub?

A: Fiberglass tubs and shower pans often crack because they have been reinforced with press board which deteriorates over time if it gets wet. This can be repaired by grinding out the crack, digging out the soggy particle board under the tub and replacing it with a special cement to add permanent reinforcement to the weak bottom. Then strips of fiberglass and resin are laid over the repaired area and a color matching fiberglass topcoat is applied which leaves an invisible, permanent repair.

Q: I have a fiberglass shower which is ugly and impossible to clean. Is there an economical way to improve the look without having to totally replace it?

A: You are probably too clean for your shower’s good! Most fiberglass showers and tubs are coated with gelcoat. This material scratches easily when scrubbed with abrasive cleansers. It is recommended that the surface be completely refinished with a new coating to give it the appearance and durability of a better-than-new fiberglass shower. Then to maintain the shiny luster, you may want to wax the walls about once a month with a liquid automobile wax to help prevent water spotting. Leave the abrasive cleansing powder at your mother’s house and use a NON-abrasive liquid cleaner with “scrubbing bubbles” or other mild detergent.

Q: Can you do anything about the ugly harvest gold tile in my bathroom?

A: Tile can be refinished much like a tub. The main advantage is that the tile and grout become the same color, eliminating all the stain and mold which often occurs in the grout. If some of the tiles are chipped or cracked, they can also be repaired with a special porcelain filler to make them look like the original before we refinish the entire counter, tub surround, etc. in a new color of your choice.

Q: I have a few chipped and cracked tiles around my kitchen sink but can no longer find new tiles to match them. Can anything be done about that without resurfacing the entire counter top?

A: Sometimes we can repair a few individual tiles and make them match the originals, as long as they are a solid color and there is not too much damage. Often, however, it is more efficient, economical and attractive to simply refinish the entire area. That is something our estimator can help you determine during an in-home inspection.

Q: I own a 75-unit apartment in which my tenants have damaged the laminate (Formica) counter tops with knife cuts and burn marks. Is there anything I can do without replacing all of them?

A: Yes. Laminate counter tops can be repaired and resurfaced at a fraction of the cost of replacement. The cracks and burns are repaired with a special plastic filler, then sanded smooth to fill in any rough or damaged areas. The counter is then sprayed with a special topcoat which gives the appearance and durability of a new laminate counter top. This process usually takes four to five hours, and your kitchen will be ready to use the next day.

Q: What other kinds of surfaces can you repair?

A: Cultured marble tops often have scratches which can be polished and buffed out to their original luster. Often cultured marble sinks develop cracks around the drains caused by hot water. These cracks can be filled and the sink can be repaired to match the original color. Marble floors and counter tops which have become dull, scratched and etched can be restored with a process called honing, polishing and sealing.

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