THE REFINISHING PROCESS
Bath refinishing (sometimes called “reglazing”) has been around for many years with bathtub and tile being the primary application focus. Due to advances in chemistry and coatings knowledge, the refinishing process has now evolved into a highly effective, multi-layer coatings application. A wide variety of surfaces can now be effectively and efficiently refinished including bathtub, tile, shower wall and base, vanity, countertop, walls, floors, etc.
Refinishing is a cost-effective alternative to renovation and replacement of a bathtub, countertop or tile wall. HomeAdvisor, a well-known digital marketplace that connects homeowners with pre-screened, local service professionals to complete home improvement, maintenance and remodeling projects estimates that the average cost of a bathtub replacement is $2,800. Refinishing a bathtub typically costs a fraction of this and the consumer also avoids the mess and hassle of a renovation project. In most cases, refinishing a bathtub can be completed in one day, requires no remodeling and your tub is available for normal use in as little as 24 hours. Refinishing is also the preferred process over bathtub or shower liners where a molded plastic form is installed over the existing structure, simply hiding problems such as mold, leaks or other damage that may already be present.
The keys to a successful refinishing project:
- Coatings Quality
- The Refinishing Process
- Skill Level of the Professional Refinisher
1. Coatings Quality
There are several suppliers of refinishing coatings to the professional refinishing market, but not all suppliers or products are the same. Some suppliers are focused on other coatings applications like automotive, marine or general architectural. They may market the coatings for those applications for use in refinishing, but those products are not suitable for the refinishing process. Suppliers may also source cheap raw materials or employ questionable manufacturing (such as dilution with solvents) and quality control processes leading to inconsistent coatings quality and potential product failure.
Hawk Labs has focused exclusively on the development and sale of refinishing coatings and supplies to the professional refinisher since 1978. Our Research & Development lab is led by an industry veteran PhD Chemist. We have a robust quality process which includes quality control of all incoming raw materials used to manufacture our products and quality control testing of the final product before it is sold to the professional refinisher. We utilize only high-quality packaging to ensure the integrity of our products while they are being stored or transported to our customers. And we back up our products with industry leading Customer Service, Technical Support and Regulatory and Compliance expertise.
2. The Refinishing Process
There is no single, agreed application process which represents the “industry standard”. Like many craftsmen, individual refinishers tend to develop their own processes and personal preferences for refinishing projects. But care in preparation and attention to detail during the process separates the true professional from the pretender.
In general, the refinishing process can be broken into the following steps:
- Site assessment and preparation: staging materials and equipment, clearing the work area, setting up exhaust equipment, masking the surfaces
- Cleaning and surface preparation: several steps to ensure that the surface is clean and prepared to receive and bond to the refinishing coating
- Primer coating applied: the primer coating is sprayed in typically two or three layers. Standard primers or low odor/low VOC primers may be used depending on preference
- Multi-color coating applied: optional coating may be applied in typically two or three passes. Many colors and designs are available, depending on preference
- Top coat applied: the choice of suitable topcoat will depend on the application, desired performance and cure time. Standard topcoats or low odor/low VOC topcoats may be used depending on preference
- Clean up: remove masking, pack up equipment, complete any last clean up. Hawk Labs has developed specific refinishing processes for different applications. Please see the application pages for more details.
Like any trade, the professional refinishing market has a wide variety of skill sets and experiences. Hawk Labs offers our customers and potential new refinishers a comprehensive multi-day training covering all aspects of the refinishing process. This investment in training by the refinisher and by Hawk provides a solid foundation of the refinishing process enabling the refinisher to approach each project in a professional and knowledgeable manner. Hawk then backs up this training with technical and applications support, safety training and support, and regulatory advice and know-how. As with any project in your home, it is wise to do some homework - obtain references, enquire about experience and training and understand the source and quality of the materials that will be used on the project.