Bathtub refinishing terminology gets confusing. In it's simplest definition it is the process of applying a new finish to the bathtub. Which also works of Porcelain, fiberglass, acrylic, cultured marble and plastic surfaces.
The problem with the definition is it fails to tell you how the new finish should be applied and what that finish should be comprised of. I have been in the bathtub refinishing Industry since my senior year of high school 1991. I went full time with my business in 1992 and I have seen the craziest things put onto a bathtub and the unbelievable reactions of people when those paints failed and peeled. (The video below shows the failure of a bathtub after less than 1 month)
The problem is the fact that this was actually considered bathtub refinishing but in all honesty it was bathtub painting and the two are completely different processes and materials. Bathtub painting can be accomplished with inferior coatings such as Latex paint, Epoxy paint, Acrylic Urethane paint and Lacquer paint just to name a few of the ones I have seen!
Most consumers don't know that the Professional Bathtub Refinishing Association has a set of guidelines when it comes to refinishing and very few so called Dallas bathtub pros follow.
First, they do not recommend using any type of paint. In fact it is a synergistic process that involves a combination of:
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Dallas bathtub pros at Dallas bathtub services does not use Methylene Chloride - that is a chemical quiet toxic that is the active ingredient in paint strippers. Back in the 1990's and early 2000's it was used to strip the paint off bathtubs, tile and showers. I have not used this product since around 1995.
I also do not use Hydroflouric acid to etch porcelain surfaces. This is an acid that has caused severe burns to skin and damaged flooring. I will not bring these toxic chemicals into your home.
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Why all refinishing in not equal
The sweet spot of being in business long enough to gain valuable experience and the negative impact of having to hire help and what that means for the consumer.
I have been a Dallas bathtub pro since 1991. So I bring my customers that experience to every refinishing project I complete. I still complete all refinishing myself. I refuse to hire day laborers and sub contract labor. Which is exactly what other refinishing professionals do.
I tried that back in 2004 and it was a nightmare. From them being late to jobs, to wanting to cut out steps they deemed not important to constantly needing loans.
The worst part was cutting out steps necessary for the refinishing foundation. These steps are not seen immediately. In fact it would take months before it was discovered these steps were left out which caused problems because like any good recipe It works great as long as the instructions are followed. (Flat Rate Sale Prices)
It was happening across the board too. Extremely well paid technicians that did not know I had put a uv dye that could only be seen with a black light into the molecular bonding agent. It was easy to see the problem was the synergistic process had been broken. Key ingredients in the recipe were left out and I cleaned house after fighting this issue for 3 months! It was better to do the work myself. This way I know it will be done right. I'm not saying I am better than any of these other people... I am just saying I follow each procedure with a firm understanding that it is a synergistic process that benefits the next step. My bathtub, tile and sink refinishing is completed with the process and coatings endorsed by the Professional Bathtub Refinishing Association.
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Integrating the new surface into the old making the surface a permanent part of the fixture.