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Surface Specialists - Tub Repair and Refinishing Experts

Frequently Asked Questions

Tub Repair, Bathtub Refinishing and Acrylic Liner Questions

Perhaps the most frequently asked question we receive is, "What is the process of "painting a tub" called?" This service is commonly referred to as refinishing, reglazing, resurfacing or renewing. For a lasting finish, however, there is much more involved in the process than simply applying paint and it should only be completed by professionals using top quality materials and full safety equipment. Please contact your local Surface Specialists franchise with any additional questions and for pricing.

Refinishing Questions & Answers
Bathtubs, bathbays, countertops, cultured marble, showers, tile, spas and swimming pools are the most common surfaces we repair and refinish.
The tub is scraped, washed and solvents are used to clean it. Then the tub, if steel or cast iron, is completely etched twice with hydrofluoric acid. Other tubs are prepared with non-etch coatings. Tubs are then neutralized and sanded. Solvents are again used. An undercoat is applied and then two or three coats in the color of your choice are applied. The finish coats are not baked on porcelain or epoxy, but an extremely hard catalyzed material.
For most refinishing we use an acrylic urethane system. Counter Effects coatings vary based on the specific application being used and may be water or epoxy based. Some coatings are also available in a lower VOC formula.
We can refinish your surfaces in virtually any color! In addition to our color chart which is based on the Bemis Color chips, if you provide us a sample item or swatch, our manufacturer can custom make our coating to match your items.
Both coatings are equally as tough and wear the same. Urethanes, however, are much more colorfast and abrasion resistant. Epoxies do have a higher adhesion, but whites will yellow in 4-6 years.
If proper cleaning procedures are followed, your newly refinished item will look beautiful for 8-12 years.
Wall tile that is refinished should last indefinitely.

Your new finish can easily be cleaned with a mild, liquid cleanser, such as Dawn dish soap.

In general, any product that is approved for use on acrylic surfaces should be okay to use.

You can also use vinegar & water or a mixture of 10% bleach to 90% water.

DO NOT use any abrasive or bleach containing cleaners such as but not limited to: Soft Scrub, Ajax, Comet, Tilex, Clean Shower, Bon Ami, bleach or lemon cleansers.

Refer to your local franchise and their warranty for any additional recommendations or guidelines specific to the services they provide.

Nine out of ten people will not be able to detect a repair. Generally, you will still detect it because you know where it was.
Most of our franchisees do provide warranties on their refinishes and some repairs. Since they are independently owned and operated, however, they do vary from franchise to franchise. Contact your local franchisee for specific information.
In general, tubs should not be used until the following evening (Approximately 30 hours). Countertops should not be used for 48 hours. However, some coatings do have a shorter cure time. Refer to your individual franchise location for specific cure times.
No, it is as durable if not stronger than the original surface. Whether or not any surface will chip is dependent on the angle at which the dropped item hits the surface. A glass bottle can be dropped and not chip a surface, however, a plastic bottle can be dropped on the same surface and chip it.
Each of our franchisees sets their own pricing, so you will need to contact the franchise location in your area directly for an estimate. Most refinishing projects can be quoted over the phone.
Please visit the Bathroom Refinishing page on this website or contact your local Surface Specialists franchise. For information on franchise opportunities, visit our Franchise Opportunity website.

Acrylic Liner Questions & Answers
It is a new ¼ inch thick acrylic bathtub custom-molded to fit directly over your existing tub. Through pictures and measurements taken by our qualified technicians, your tub liner is made by thermo-forming the acrylic sheet directly over an existing mold of your bathtub model, ensuring a perfect fit to your tub.
The liner is cut to fit tight against your tile and all the way down to the floor by our trained installers. Adhesives bond the liner to the tub, and once it is set in place, a special 100% silicone sealant is used around the entire tub. Extra adhesives are also applied around the drain and overflow areas to ensure a water-tight seal.
A standard 4½, 5 or 5½ foot tub liner that is set into three walls, a new chrome drain plug and overflow cover, a molded slip-resistant bottom, the initial call and installation.
We also offer a three piece wall system which is designed to go right over your existing tile. It extends from the floor to the ceiling in one piece. We remove and reinstall your existing plumbing fixtures and install a flush mounted soap dish made out of of the same material as the wall. Other color matched caddies and accessories are also available for an additional charge.
No, a one piece system is NOT better. For example:
  • Not all existing tub walls are the same dimensions and they can vary quite a bit from builder to builder, house to house, bathroom to bathroom, etc. Therefore, the same one or two molds will not fit every tub surround in the country.
  • Most likely a one piece system will either either have to be forced into place or lots of additional adhesives may have to be "built up" behind the system to fill in the gap between it and the wall.
  • Additionally, in terms of caulk, as long as you have a separate tub and wall system, you will always have at least one caulk line between the tub and the wall system. Therefore, even with the one-piece wall system you do not eliminate the caulk line.

With our three piece system, each panel is measured and cut to fit EXACTLY over your existing wall and ensures the best fit possible.
You can purchase a new bathtub for anywhere from $100-$800 depending on the quality and style. The added expense is when you consider the removal and replacement of the old bathtub. In most cases, one or two rows of tile must be removed to get at the tub lip for removal. Should one tile crack or break and you cannot match the tile, you are looking at replacing the tile walls, too. Most importantly, you need to be able to get the old tub out of the bathroom and the new tub in. Our liner weighs approximately 40 pounds and can be carried in upright and set into place.
Liners are available in White, Almond, Biscuit, Gray and Sandbar. Walls are available in these standard colors, as well as several marble/granite acrylic liner color options. Simulated Wall Tiles are also available in 4x4, 6x6, 8x10, 12x12, Subway, Windmill and Diamond patterns in several colors. Though you may view sample colors on-line, the true effect and beauty of these samples is best seen in person during an in-house presentation.
You should use Dawn dish soap and water, Formula 409, Vinegar and water, or a mixture of 1/2 cup Clorox Bleach per Gallon of water as a disinfectant. Use a soft wash cloth. Always review individual cleanser's instructions. Always rinse thoroughly after cleaning.
Do NOT use anything that is not safe for Acrylic! Do not use abrasive or bleach containing cleansers. Do not use any product that is “left on” the acrylic. Do not use: aerosol propellants (Scrubbing Bubbles), Ammonia-D (some Windex products), acetone (nail polish remover), Clean Shower, Soft Scrub, Scrub Free, Lysol disinfectant, Lestoil, or numerous other products containing any of these components or characteristics, scouring pads, powder or crystal drain cleaners. These will VOID your warranty. Please refer to your local franchise for additional care and maintenance guidelines and ways to protect your warranty.
A consultation will be scheduled within 7-10 days from your call to take pictures and measurements. Your custom-made tub and wall system will be installed 4-5 weeks later.
It will take less than a day to install and you may use it once the silicone caulking sets, usually within three to five hours.
Each of our franchisees sets their own pricing, so you will need to contact the franchise location in your area directly for an estimate. Though rough estimates can be provided over the phone, due to the customization of the tubliners an on-site visit prior to ordering will be necessary for color selection, accessory selection and for photos and measurements to be taken.
Visit the Acrylic Tubliner page on this website and/or call your local Surface Specialists Franchisee. If you have considered a homebased franchise or think a bathroom restoration opportunity might be right for you, please visit our Franchise Opportunities website.

Franchise locations are Independently Owned and Operated.  They may not offer all services shown.   Contact franchises directly for services provided & estimates.