Bathtubs issue/ repaint? bath fitters?

32 Replies

Hi BP,

I recently purchased my first investment property and quote excited!  The renovation is going well as far as I can tell.  My present dilemma is the bathtub.  It is has yellow stains  which I thought would be an easy fix with strong detergents.  Overall,  the fiberglass tub is in fairly good condition but the stains.  My question - Are there durable ways to fix the tub ( perhaps paint) or do I need to replace the tub. From my research there are bath fitters and painting over the tub options.  I am not sure how effective this methods tend to be.   I am afraid replacing the tub will cost me more than I am ready to spend on this one item.  I would appreciate advise  from  investors/ flippers.  

Also,  I am in the Birmingham area.  Any leads to professionals that can help with this job will be greatly appreciated. PS - I do not mind taking on this project myself as a DIY if  its not that involving.  How have people handled bathtub renos? 

Thanks,

Katherine

I wouldn't paint the tub. I know from experience that doesn't end well. I rented a bungalow in the Bay Area a few years ago. I put down a mat in the tub and the first time I pulled it up to clean the tub, the paint came up with it.

Forget painting it.  So get your price for the bathfitter and the replacement price and pick one and go with it.  You can't worry this to death and you don't have any other options.  If this is your biggest problem then you are fine

I'm with @Fred Heller on this, painting isn't a great option, unless you've got a beautiful old clawfoot tub. 

I'd say what you do depends on what your end goal is. If the property is a rental, then maybe a couple of stains in the tub isn't a deal breaker. If you are planning on flipping - then what do the comps look like?

We recently did a flip and replaced one of two fiberglass bathtubs. Neither was in terrible shape, but having a beautiful master bath with new bath/shower facilities was a great selling point and made our property look that much better.

everyone so far appears to be against the paint option, what I have found from my experience is you can paint metal tubs with no problem as long as you remove the drain and paint under it when reinstall it, if they tape around it which most of them do, it will begin to peel from there, what I would like to know is what is the best cleaning chemical to remove the stain, as far as painting a fiberglass tub I have no experience with that, hope this helps. let us know what you end up doing because I also hate spending money I don't have to.

If it is really fiberglass, and you think it will be a problem to rent as is, then I vote to replace it. I don't think the bath fitters will be as durable as a new tub, and I think you will find them expensive - they try to appeal to those needing a turnaround in a day, and you pay a premium for that. 

But will it be a problem to rent as is? 

Oh, I think you are flipping this - replace. New kitchens and baths sell. 

@Katherine T. I am going against the grain on this one.  I have done 7 tubs over the past year and a half and I have had no problems with them.  These are all rentals that I currently hold.  But you have to do it right...  There are kits that you can buy online and even at HD.  The key to this like any paint job is the preparation.  But make sure you use a REALLY GOOD respirator if you are going to go this route.  If you go with a pro they will knock a tube out in no time, but your other trades won't be able to enter, or at least they should not, for at least a day.  

But always remember... your mileage may vary!

There are guys that come and prep and spray the tub.  Mine at my house has held up for 8 years with 2 boys , still looks good . Look up tub glazing .  Forget bathfitters  , first they "required " both me and my wife be there for the est , ( told them I was single)  second just to put a liner over the tub , not the walls they wanted $3000.  yes three grand . I laughed at the salesman and threw him out .  The guy glazed the tub for $ 275 .  

In 2012, I used a company in Georgia called Miracle Method to repair a fiberglass shower in my master bathroom. The house was built in 1989. The shower is an almond/beige color. The floor of the shower was cracked. They drilled holes and sprayed foam under the shower base, rebuilt the shower pan, and painted it. They only painted the shower pan, not the whole shower. They matched the color perfect. It looks great. 3 years later it is still holding up great. This shower is in the rental house that I own. I paid $465. Worth every penny to me. If I would've have replaced it, I would have spent much more money and time to rip out the shower, purchase a new shower, install, repair drywall and tile around the shower. The company was in and out in one day. They would've sprayed the whole shower if I wanted them too. They also would have painted it a different color, but I wanted it to match the tub and sink. 

Originally posted by @Fred Heller :

I wouldn't paint the tub. I know from experience that doesn't end well. I rented a bungalow in the Bay Area a few years ago. I put down a mat in the tub and the first time I pulled it up to clean the tub, the paint came up with it.

 Thanks for response!  And yes when I called around the painters told me... rule number one is not to put a mat in the tub if I chose to go that route. Still looking at my options! 

Originally posted by @Barbara G. :

Forget painting it.  So get your price for the bathfitter and the replacement price and pick one and go with it.  You can't worry this to death and you don't have any other options.  If this is your biggest problem then you are fine

 Haha! I like how you deflate the situation.  Made me realize things can be a whole lot worse!  Afterall this is my first.  Good to have other peoples perspectives - especially in a new industry to some like me.  Thanks Barbara for your candor.

Originally posted by @Carl Ghiselli :

I'm with @Fred Heller on this, painting isn't a great option, unless you've got a beautiful old clawfoot tub. 

I'd say what you do depends on what your end goal is. If the property is a rental, then maybe a couple of stains in the tub isn't a deal breaker. If you are planning on flipping - then what do the comps look like?

We recently did a flip and replaced one of two fiberglass bathtubs. Neither was in terrible shape, but having a beautiful master bath with new bath/shower facilities was a great selling point and made our property look that much better.

Yes I agree, utlimately it boils down to what my intent with the property is.  But it does sound the the majority are discouraging the painting options.  I have lots to consider. Thanks for feedback Carl.

Originally posted by @Allen Denham :

everyone so far appears to be against the paint option, what I have found from my experience is you can paint metal tubs with no problem as long as you remove the drain and paint under it when reinstall it, if they tape around it which most of them do, it will begin to peel from there, what I would like to know is what is the best cleaning chemical to remove the stain, as far as painting a fiberglass tub I have no experience with that, hope this helps. let us know what you end up doing because I also hate spending money I don't have to.

I wish I knew the best stain remover then my problem would be solved.  I have you tubed and tried most chemicals out there.  Its insane that a  good stained tub  can cause me so grief .... but always a learning experience.  Next house moving forward,  I bet I will be twice careful with tubs/ showers, water system and the likes.  Still exploring my options.  Will keep yo'll posted.  Thanks 

@Katherine T. I typically have my rental tubs glazed for around $350. I have had a couple nearly ten years with no signs of giving up. Before replacing try having it painted professionally, as with any painting the devil is in the details. Most professional tub sprayers will give you a several year warranty as well. Good luck!

Originally posted by @Steve Babiak :

If it is really fiberglass, and you think it will be a problem to rent as is, then I vote to replace it. I don't think the bath fitters will be as durable as a new tub, and I think you will find them expensive - they try to appeal to those needing a turnaround in a day, and you pay a premium for that. 

But will it be a problem to rent as is? 

Oh, I think you are flipping this - replace. New kitchens and baths sell. 

 @ Steve,  thanks for response.  Its a rental in a class B area so I will do better with a stainless tub...it  may rent perhaps for less so in the long run my be worth fixing problem.   You are spot on as to bath fitter - at least per my research.  In agreement with your comments. 

Originally posted by @Arlen Chou :

@Katherine Theuri I am going against the grain on this one.  I have done 7 tubs over the past year and a half and I have had no problems with them.  These are all rentals that I currently hold.  But you have to do it right...  There are kits that you can buy online and even at HD.  The key to this like any paint job is the preparation.  But make sure you use a REALLY GOOD respirator if you are going to go this route.  If you go with a pro they will knock a tube out in no time, but your other trades won't be able to enter, or at least they should not, for at least a day.  

But always remember... your mileage may vary!

 Yeah I did my research I see many people who have done it themselves and as you say details matter.  Good to know you've had 7 successes via this route.  Utlimately the mileage is biggest success determinant. Lot's to think about.  Thanks for feedback!

Originally posted by @Matthew Paul :

There are guys that come and prep and spray the tub.  Mine at my house has held up for 8 years with 2 boys , still looks good . Look up tub glazing .  Forget bathfitters  , first they "required " both me and my wife be there for the est , ( told them I was single)  second just to put a liner over the tub , not the walls they wanted $3000.  yes three grand . I laughed at the salesman and threw him out .  The guy glazed the tub for $ 275 .  

 This is my first time hearing tub glazing.  I will definitely look that up see what I come up with.  Looks like you've had some really good results.  Thanks for you response.  

Originally posted by @Russ Brantley :

In 2012, I used a company in Georgia called Miracle Method to repair a fiberglass shower in my master bathroom. The house was built in 1989. The shower is an almond/beige color. The floor of the shower was cracked. They drilled holes and sprayed foam under the shower base, rebuilt the shower pan, and painted it. They only painted the shower pan, not the whole shower. They matched the color perfect. It looks great. 3 years later it is still holding up great. This shower is in the rental house that I own. I paid $465. Worth every penny to me. If I would've have replaced it, I would have spent much more money and time to rip out the shower, purchase a new shower, install, repair drywall and tile around the shower. The company was in and out in one day. They would've sprayed the whole shower if I wanted them too. They also would have painted it a different color, but I wanted it to match the tub and sink. 

 Hey Russ,  

Clearly there are companies that can do a good job with long term results.  I checked out that company, unfortunately not in Alabama.  But good to know thye are out there and wil definitely do my research. Thanks for your input.

Originally posted by @Curtis Yoder :

@Katherine Theuri I typically have my rental tubs glazed for around $350. I have had a couple nearly ten years with no signs of giving up. Before replacing try having it painted professionally, as with any painting the devil is in the details. Most professional tub sprayers will give you a several year warranty as well. Good luck!

 @Curtis Yoder _   Your the second person to mention tub glazing.  I like the warranty piece of it too.  Will definitely look this up.  Thanks for feedback.

We are located north of you in Hartselle, AL. We had a tub issue like yours, as well as with a crack. We had a professional from Cullman who refinished the tub/repaired crack for us for $550. They did a phenomenal job, the tub is as strong as ever, and I didn't have to rip out and replace all of the items that go along with a new tub install. If you'd like his contact info send me a message and I will be glad to provide it. Or perhaps he knows someone in your neck of the woods. 

Originally posted by @Sara Oubre :

We are located north of you in Hartselle, AL. We had a tub issue like yours, as well as with a crack. We had a professional from Cullman who refinished the tub/repaired crack for us for $550. They did a phenomenal job, the tub is as strong as ever, and I didn't have to rip out and replace all of the items that go along with a new tub install. If you'd like his contact info send me a message and I will be glad to provide it. Or perhaps he knows someone in your neck of the woods. 

 Hey Sara,

 Yes! I would appreciate if you gave me his contact.  Sounds like you are still reaping benefits of his good work.  Thanks for responding. 

Katherine

I did a renovation on my first rental and the tub was in a bad way. We ended up getting a re spray that came with a guarantee. It cost about $250. With a new floor down and  the shinny new bath tub it looks like the whole room has been done. Worth every penny. We did it in our second one as well.

Originally posted by @Katherine T. :
Originally posted by @Allen Denham:

everyone so far appears to be against the paint option, what I have found from my experience is you can paint metal tubs with no problem as long as you remove the drain and paint under it when reinstall it, if they tape around it which most of them do, it will begin to peel from there, what I would like to know is what is the best cleaning chemical to remove the stain, as far as painting a fiberglass tub I have no experience with that, hope this helps. let us know what you end up doing because I also hate spending money I don't have to.

I wish I knew the best stain remover then my problem would be solved.  I have you tubed and tried most chemicals out there.  Its insane that a  good stained tub  can cause me so grief .... 

Katherine:  Did you say this was an enamel/porcelain tub?  If so my son brought some very caustic chemical over for my tub that had  a terrible rust or water stain? or something stain that no one was able to remove and the stain came right off.  I will ask him the name of it.  It removed it in a minute.  Of course if it is a fiberglass tub perhaps that would be another problem.

You are also correct about the painting of enamel?  I had that done in another apartment and it looked very good but they did not remove the drain cover and just taped it and that was a really bad idea.  Most of the companies do not remove the cover but if you can get them to do that it would last much longer as you said.  If it is Fiberglass does that make a difference when you paint it.  Is this a flip?

I used a franchise company called "Mr Ugly" to refinish a cast iron/ porcelain tub last year.  it was brown and they refinished it white.  There are several do it yourself kits but its pretty nasty stuff to work with and I wouldn't recommend doing it yourself. The tech wore a full body suite and respirator and it took 2-3 days for the fumes to dissipate when he was done.  They also refinish fiberglass tubs and kitchen counters. You might want to look up the local franchise before you replace just to compare the cost.  If its  within a couple hundred $ I would just replace it. 

Good luck

Adam

I've done both resurfacing/reglazing & replacing a bath tub.  The resurfacing started to peel up in my primary residence after a year or so. I just had that one resurfaced while moving out and preparing it as a rental.  If I didn't get that done for free I probably would've just replaced the tub.  Resurfacing costs around $300-$400 per tub and it can start peeling up if not done properly or if your tenants use cleaners like Comet on it.  We use Mica Magic at work for this purpose and they do offer a 5 year warranty so at least there's that.

We just replaced a tub in our a new house and my husband was able to do it himself.  Bath Fitter I believe has a lifetime warranty but it's incredibly pricey.  Good luck with whichever method you choose!

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