Bathtub refinishing and bathtub painting are often confused because of the meaning of the word refinish. In the automotive Industry if you have a fender repainted they will call it refinishing. However, in the bathtub refinishing industry the word refinishing has always been meant as the integration of a new surface into the old surface. This is further confused when a consumer goes to the local home improvement store and sees the DIY Epoxy paint refinishing kits. Some are spray cans and some are quart containers. It will show a picture on the box of a painted bathtub and It makes sense that the average consumer ... or in all fairness even a house painter will think this is an easy way to make an old tub look pretty good!
Refinishing is not Painting
I think it's always a great idea to have a basic understanding of how things work. Even though It is just something you may be planning to have a professional do, It still helps to understand the 'why' involved. When someone says refinishing kits don't work I would hope you would want to know why. If as home owners we didn't ask the 'why' ... then, we could easily be misled on every part of home improvement. I ask the why question when I read on the DIY epoxy cans of a 3 day cure time. Why does this epoxy take 3 days to cure ... when anyone that has ever worked with epoxy paint, epoxy glue or the epoxy paste knows that epoxy will set up so quick it usually involves a quick prayer of "Please give me a few more minutes". To me this prolonged drying time sounds more like oil based paint. Also, because I have refinished thousands of surfaces over the last 23 years (since 1992) I have another question. How does one keep airborne dust particles and possibly loose hair or animal hair from sticking to a surface that takes 3 days to cure? Now, please know when I first started refinishing in 1992 all we had was Epoxy paint. It was mainly used for apartments and it had a rough textured "painted" look to it. It would dry in less then 1 hour. It would last about 6 months to a year... which was ok with the apartments because that is a lease term and they were ready to 'turn' the apartment after that. With this being said, I don't understand why epoxy would dry in 1 hour after mixing it.... but this DIY Epoxy is in a spray can and is simply ready to use! It is worth mentioning that professional refinishing technicians (at least the ones I know of) never use epoxy anymore. It was an inferior coating and technology came forth with better coatings. It's like comparing a computer from 1992 to a 2016 computer. Technology has made them better. I use synthetic porcelain, which is made specifically for bathtub, tile, shower and vanity refinishing. It is also worth noting before this coating is applied in over 5 coats the surface is etched and prepared with a molecular bonding solution that is hand rubbed into the etched surface. This allows the New surface to fuse into the old surface and is chemically welded into, not on top of the old surface. Bathtub Refinishing Dallas