FOR HOTEL OWNERS, THE DECISION TO REFINISH BATHTUBS AND BATHROOM TILE is often even less of a no-brainer than determining whether to repair or replace furniture, particularly when the true costs of a bathroom fixture replacement are calculated.
George Tanner, president of Bathtub King Refinishing Ltd. of Toronto Canada says, "When you tear out a tub you're forced to remodel at least half the bathroom." Removing a tub can seldom be done with surgical precision. Usually there is damage to the floor and wall. On average it costs $350 - $400 to refinish a tub, about the same cost as a new tub, but that's not considering disposal of the tub or replumbing and retiling, which wind up elevating the cost of that replacement to $2,500, the national average of replacing a tub.
The big advantage of refinishing for commercial accounts, says Tanner, "is that it saves them a lot of money, and they have minimum downtime so they can rent the room out rapidly." The company is usually called, says Tanner, when hotels start having "cleaning challenges" or fixtures start looking scruffy. The company is sometimes called for aesthetic reasons, to correct the no-longer-in-vogue colors of yesteryear, such as harvest gold avocado.
Most tubs can be refinished or restored. "It would pretty much have to be destroyed for refinishing not to be an option," says Tanner. The company can refinish a tub to any color, but 95 percent of the time, says Tanner, people request white, bone, or almond.
When refinishing a tub, hotel owners have two options: an acrylic liner that is placed over the existing tub or refinishing the enamel or porcelain.Take a look at the liner we removed for one of our clients that we had to remove and refinish. At the present time we are removing 125 liners and refinishing them with great results, the Interior decorator for the client said that " they will never recommend liners again for future clients". Seeing how nice the old tub look and the improvement that the refinishing created to the appearance of the bathroom leaving not a square box but a beautiful tub.Tanner says that liners are more expensive than reglazing. Seeing that the reglazing is giving about 10 years service where the liners are lasting approximately 8 years.
The surface is cleaned, then etched, a primer is applied, then followed with three coats of top coat. The curing process can be hastened by using heat lamps. Compounds used are not odor free, "but they're safe enough that we've done work in hospitals," Tanner says.
One person can refinish three tubs in a day, says Tanner, adding that the company has worked with just about every hotel chain imaginable.
Sinks and toilets, because they're easy enough to replace, are generally not worth refinishing, says Tanner, unless it's a sink attached to marble or cultured marble top.
The company refinishes ceramic wall tile, using a similar process to that used on tubs, but it is not advisable to refinish floor tile, says Tanner, because of the wear. When wall tile is refinished, grout line becomes obscured (although an outline on the tile still shows), but Tanner says many people end up preferring that because it creates a low-maitenance surface and eliminates worries about mildew grout lines. Because wall tile generally doesn't wear, most of the jobs are done for aesthetic reasons, to hide an out-of-fashion color or to unify a repair job when built-ins like soap holders and toilet paper holders are removed.