Yes, acrylic tubs can be refinished to restore their appearance and function. However, care must be taken during the process as acrylic is a lightweight material that could potentially crack if handled roughly.
The acrylic needs to be properly prepped and sanded before spraying on the new acrylic coating. With a gentle technique, experienced refinishers can revitalize acrylic tubs to look brand new again.
Here are some of the biggest pros of acrylic tub refinishing in my opinion:
- Costs around $300 on average compared to $2,000 or more for a new tub and installation
- Results last for years with proper care
- Wide range of color options to match any bathroom
- Significantly less waste than tossing the tub and getting a new one
- The entire process only takes 1-2 days
Of course, there are a couple of potential drawbacks to consider too:
- Refinished surfaces can chip or peel if not prepped properly
- The glossy refinished coat can show scratching more easily
- Won’t fix any leaks or cracks in the existing tub
But overall, refinishing gives you a major bang for your buck in revitalizing an old acrylic tub on a budget and saving it from the landfill.
How To Do Refinishing Acrylic Tub Refinishing?
To give you a better idea of what’s involved, let’s walk through the typical process of refinishing an acrylic tub:
First, the tub needs to be thoroughly cleaned and lightly sanded to rough up the surface. Any old caulk or rust spots need to be removed too. This prep ensures the new acrylic layer bonds tightly.
Next, the refinishing technician will spray on a new acrylic coating specially formulated for tubs. The acrylic is atomized into a fine mist to completely coat the original tub surface.
Here’s a cool fact – the acrylic layer applied during refinishing is actually thicker than on a brand-new acrylic tub! So you end up with superior protection.
Once sprayed on, the acrylic then chemically bonds to the sanded original surface, fusing together to create a smooth, seamless finish.
After bonding, the acrylic coat cures for a few hours. Then the finishing touches are added. The tub is meticulously sanded and polished to a glossy sheen.
And voila – that previously worn and sad-looking tub now looks factory-fresh in the color of your choice! The transformation is really amazing.
What To Consider Before Refinishing?
Before deciding to refinish your acrylic tub, there are a few factors I’d recommend considering:
First, carefully examine the tub for any cracks, deep gouges, or leaks. Refinishing can only go so far in repairing severe damage, so it helps to have reasonable expectations.
Also, take into account the tub’s current age and condition. If it’s really old or has deteriorated beyond a certain point, replacement may be the better option.
You’ll also want to get quotes from professional refinishers to estimate the full costs involved. Balance the price of refinishing versus the cost of buying a whole new tub and having it installed.
Check with your local building codes – some have restrictions against refinishing if it exceeds a certain number of coats.
Taking these things into account upfront can help determine if refinishing makes practical and financial sense for your specific situation.
Use the Best Cleaners For Acrylic Tubs – They Provide Deep Clean
Is Refinishing Right For You?
Determining if your tub can be refinished depends on several factors:
How old is the tub and what is the extent of damage? Surface wear is one thing but underlying leaks or cracks may not be fixable.
Compare the cost of refinishing to a full new tub and installation. At around $300, refinishing is vastly cheaper in most cases.
Consider how long you plan to be in the home. Will the tub last 5-10 more years with proper care?
Discuss options with professional refinishers. Get their expert opinion on your tub’s refinish suitability.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does an acrylic tub refinishing job take?
The refinishing process itself takes 1-2 days. After cleaning and sanding the tub, the technician sprays on the new acrylic coating and allows it to cure overnight before polishing. Total time in your home is usually 1-2 days.
Is the fumes from refinishing toxic?
Refinishing chemicals have low VOC levels compared to older technology. Proper ventilation is still used to minimize fumes. Many companies also offer odor-free “eco-friendly” options.
Does the new acrylic coating feel different?
The new acrylic layer generally maintains a similar feel to the original tub surface. It may feel slightly smoother to the touch after polishing. Proper bonding ensures it feels like one continuous surface.
How durable is a refinished tub?
With proper prep and care, refinished tubs can easily last 5-10 years or longer. The new acrylic layer is actually thicker than factory acrylic tubs. Taking precautions prevents scratching or damage.
Are there limitations on color changes?
Refinishers can match practically any color. Darker colors may require additional coats for coverage over lighter original tones. The only limit is your imagination!
In general, I always recommend trying to salvage a usable tub rather than replace it. But if cracks or leaks persist after refinishing, a new tub may be the only remedy.
Schedule estimates from qualified local refinishers to determine if giving your acrylic tub a makeover makes solid economic sense. With the right prep and care, refinishing offers years of like-new performance at a fraction of replacement cost.
Basically, if your tub has seen better days but still functions properly, refinishing provides a fantastic way to modernize your bathroom on a budget and avoid unnecessary waste. With a wide range of colors and durable results, you can give your acrylic tub a fresh new lease on life.
William J. Bullock is a licensed plumber with over 15 years of experience installing and repairing bathtubs. He runs his own plumbing company in Greenville and serves residential and commercial clients. William is dedicated to providing honest, transparent advice to help homeowners make informed decisions about their bathroom renovations.
He has established expertise in selecting bathtubs, planning custom installations, diagnosing issues, and completing repairs. William aims to share practical tips and reliable recommendations based on extensive hands-on work. When he isn’t on a job site, William enjoys spending time with his family and volunteering at local community events. He takes pride in delivering quality service and enjoys helping people upgrade their homes.