Are you really tired of an old peeling bathtub that just makes you sick? Enamel has long lost its luster, and in some places has worn off and become covered with cracks? Is the rust ingrained in such a way that nothing can be removed? How to proceed? Buy a new bathtub or enamel an old one? Let’s figure it out.
First of all, you need to really assess the condition of the bath. If the enamel has become rough, chips and cracks have appeared, the color is by no means white, but dirty-red, then it is quite possible to breathe a second life into such a bath by enameling it again. If we are talking about cracks and deformation of the bath body, chips at the drain or the size mismatch of the new pipes with the old drain hole, then the bath will have to be changed entirely.
Now let’s look at the financial side of the matter. We offer for comparison two tables, one of which shows the minimum prices for new bathtubs, the other – the cost of enamel.
The conclusion is obvious: enameling an old bathtub is much cheaper than buying a new one. After all, this requires only one can of enamel for a maximum of 300 rubles. The work of the master both when restoring an old bathtub and when installing a new one will cost about the same. In addition, in order to install a new bath, you must first buy and bring it, then break down the old unit, which will inevitably entail the replacement of tiles, pipes and other additional costs.
Of course, the industrial enameling process is different from the “home” one. In production, the cast-iron bath is heated red-hot and powder is sprayed on the inner surface with an even layer. Under the influence of temperature, it melts and spreads, turning into enamel. But the production enamel has already served its legal 15 – 20 years, and the cast-iron body of the bath has not yet. So it’s just a pity to throw it away. Maybe it’s really more rational to cover it with new enamel.?
1. Mechanical cleaning of the bath surface
2. Degreasing the surface
3. Removing the degreasing agent
4. Application of the first layer of enamel (primer)
5. Application of the second layer of enamel
Today there are three options for “home” bath enamel. You can, by purchasing enamel, apply it with a brush yourself. You can turn to the services of professionals (this also refers to the method of applying enamel with a brush). You can find firms that apply the enamel by spraying. But before we consider each of these options, a few words must be said about the main stages of enameling a bath, because for all three cases they are the same..
1. First, the inner surface of the bath is cleaned of old enamel. To do this, a cleaning powder of the Pemolux type (but not a chlorine-containing composition) is applied with a brush or a washcloth, and a thorough cleaning with an abrasive stone is performed directly on the powder. Then the abrasive grit and soap film are washed off with water..
2. Brush away rust and unevenness, and thoroughly degrease the surface.
3. Fill the bath with hot water for 5 – 10 minutes, then drain the water and wipe it dry with a lint-free cloth. At the end of the preparatory work, the bath should be dry, smooth and slightly dull..
4. After that, prepare the working composition (mix the hardener and enamel).
5. Apply the first layer of enamel (primer).
6. Allow to dry.
7. Apply the second layer of enamel.
That’s all. The whole process takes 3 – 4 hours.
Bath care after enameling
The newly enamelled bath cannot be washed with cleaning powders such as Pemolux and Komet. It is not recommended to use products containing acid, for example, “Silit”. It is best to clean the bathtub with soapy water – detergent or dishwashing detergent applied to a sponge or soft cloth. Do not let spray on the surface of the bathtub, including hairspray. You can soak laundry in a refurbished bathtub, but preferably without bleach.
Now let’s figure out what are the pros and cons of those three enameling options that we talked about.
Self enamel bath
At first glance, it is not difficult to cover the bathtub with new enamel on its own, and in principle, of course, it is possible. As a rule, the instructions for enameling are detailed on the enamel jar – read and do. But, as in any business, there are subtleties here. After all, the new enamel does not just “paint over” the old one – it should be applied only to a well-prepared degreased surface! Otherwise, the enamel will simply not hold.
So you have to be patient, with waterproof sandpaper or an abrasive stone, and methodically, centimeter by centimeter, clean the old enamel. If you apply enamel with a brush, it must be done very carefully – the durability of the enamel will depend on how smooth the surface is. The composition is applied in two layers with a flat bristle brush. The first layer takes no more than half of the enamel. The second layer is applied after 10-15 minutes.
But keep in mind – smudges and bubbles are not allowed! Otherwise, the new enamel will begin to peel off immediately after it dries. And keep in mind that the enamel must be prepared with pharmacy precision, and not by eye! That is why entrusting your bath to a professional is still easier and safer..
Hence the conclusion: starting to enamel the bath on your own, you can, of course, save money on the work of the master, but you have to spend a lot of time and effort cleaning the old enamel and trying to gently apply a new one. Moreover, it is not yet known whether it will be possible to do it the way it is necessary: this requires special tools and skills.
In general, it is theoretically possible to carry out the enameling on your own, but in practice it is quite difficult to do it qualitatively.
Professional bath enamel
Here, too, not everything is so simple. From my personal experience, I can say that difficulties arise literally at the first stage: it is very problematic to find a reliable company that performs such work with high quality and is responsible for what it does. As it turned out, phone calls to firms do not give any result: their employees somehow very vaguely answer questions, obscure and evade. Why’s that?
Here’s the point. As I said, the main condition for the durability of new enamel is the correct preparation of the working surface. Or rather, its thorough degreasing. The lack of such preparation most often leads to disastrous results: the enamel will begin to flake off within a few months. Alas, not all firms do such high-quality processing..
And those companies that work conscientiously are extremely reluctant to give information about themselves. In one quite successful company, not the first year with the success of the restoration bath, when asked about the composition of the enamel and the order of work, they gave me a turn from the gate: “Sorry, but we can’t tell anything. The Ministry of Defense does not allow us, because we use space technologies. ” That’s the kind of thing. Almost a state secret! Therefore, the phones of trusted firms are passed from mouth to mouth. In order to collect the necessary information, I also turned to my friends and acquaintances. After a month of annoying reminders, someone remembered that someone’s aunt knew the phone number of the “trusted” company I needed. I called her, she called a neighbor in the country, she asked someone else, and finally, I received the long-awaited phone number.
The company explained that the order is carried out according to the following scheme:
1. You call the company and agree in advance with the master about the time of arrival and the desired color of the enamel. Usually, it takes 4-7 days from the call to the appearance of the master in your apartment..
2. The master works for 3 – 5 hours. The bath dries for another 48 hours, but it cannot be used for another 5 – 7 days.
3. Payment is made after the end of the work. As a guarantee, you will have an act of “delivery – acceptance” of work, which is valid for a year.
Some companies apply the enamel by spraying using spray bottles. This method is considered more reliable, but in reality it is not always the case. Experts say: the composition for enameling must be necessarily two-component (base and hardener), and there is no hardener in aerosol cans with enamel. In addition, with the illiterate use of spray guns, smudges and uneven spraying may form. To make the coating even and smooth, you need not just a spray gun, but a powerful compressor. As for the time, when working with a brush, and when working with a spray gun, it is about the same.
So, the most important thing is not to make a mistake when choosing a company. It is necessary to find out how carefully its masters degrease the base, how many years the company has been working on the market and how long the guarantee gives for its work. You also need to ask how to care for the bathroom and what absolutely should not be done with it..
If you are offered spraying technology, ask if the master will bring a special compressor with him. Only in this case can this method be considered reliable. But in any case, a conscientious company must give a guarantee for its work..
Two-component epoxy paint “Reaflex” of the Finnish company “Tikkurila” is intended not only for repairing old bathtubs, but also for enameling new pools..
You can do this yourself by preparing a new concrete pool surface as follows: remove the cement adhesive from it by sanding, sandblasting or diluted hydrochloric acid (one part strong hydrochloric acid to four parts water). Rinse the etched surface with plenty of water and allow to dry. After all these procedures, the concrete surface should be free of dust and foreign inclusions. Then mix the components of the Reaflex paint. It must be remembered that the prepared mixture must be used within 4 hours, therefore it is prepared immediately before application to the walls and bottom of the pool. The paint is applied with a brush or mohair roller in 2 – 4 layers, depending on the surface to be painted..
The paint must dry at + 23 ° C. The surface is ready for use in 7 days.
But, as it turned out, enameling is not the only way to restore an old bathtub. Another option is to install a new acrylic liner in the old bathtub. Surprisingly, with great difficulty I managed to find only one company in Moscow – Moskvichstroyinvest LLC – which is engaged in the production and installation of such inserts.
Acrylic liners are made to order – any color and even shape
Optionally, you can close the “new acrylic” bathtub with such panels (right)
According to its technical characteristics, acrylic is a universal material. This polymer is heat-resistant, sealed, shock-resistant, environmentally friendly, easy to clean with ordinary soap. If you have old pipes in your house, then you should not be afraid that rust will eat into the coating – unlike enamel, acrylic does not turn yellow.
Inserts are made to order – any color and shape. The finished liner is simply inserted into the old bathtub, the drain holes are connected and “adhered” to the bathtub with a special adhesive, which has already been applied in a thin layer on both surfaces. The edges of the insert squeeze the edges of the bath tightly and completely sealed. The whole work takes 2 hours. Liner service life – 20 years.
Of course, this “delicate” work can only be done by specialists. And it will not be very cheap. But acrylic bathtubs are generally expensive (by the way, all whirlpool baths, which we commonly call jacuzzi, are made of acrylic). And even buying not a whole bath, but only its thin shell, you will have to pay for installation. As a result, the acrylic insert, together with the work, will cost from 1,430 to 1,800 rubles. And further. Although the thickness of the acrylic insert is small – only 4 mm, it will still reduce the usable space of your “native” bath. But on the other hand, your old well-worn cast-iron “old woman” will look very beautiful and modern in acrylic clothes.
Hence the conclusion: whichever of the following methods you choose, any of them will be easier and cheaper than installing a new bath.