It happens all the time. We get calls from people who are obviously shopping around for the lowest price for bathtub refinishing.

This works for new cars, electronics, and tangible products where you know you are getting the same product everyone else has.

It may even work for some services such as building a stone wall, or clearing a clogged drain.

It does not work for bathtub refinishing. Even jobs which may appear to be identical after they are completed may not hold up the same over time. Skipping steps may not impact the appearance of the final product, but can impact the longevity of the job. What’s worse, if a poor job needs to be fixed, you are not only out the money you paid for the job, and the money to redo the job with a reputable refinisher, you will have to pay the reputable refinisher extra to remove the work of the first guy. It is always more work to redo a job, than to do it right the first time.

Consider the below table. A customer calls a bunch of refinishers and opts to go with the cheapest one to save $50. Later she is not happy with the result, or the coating fails. She calls a reputable refinisher back, and his price is now $450 — $100 extra — because he must remove the previous guy’s work. So in an effort to save $50, she ends up spending a total of $750, or $400 more than if she had gone with the reputable refinisher in the first place!

Inexperienced Refinisher Reputable Refinisher
Base Price $300 $350
Strip Cost $100
Total $300 $450

Now, we know you are probably thinking this is just smoke and mirrors and this really does not happen. It does. We encounter it least once a month. When we tell people this, people wonder why the customer doesn’t simply call the refinisher and have him correct the problems. There are three reasons that this doesn’t happen:

  1. The home owner or contractor is so fed up with the refinisher, they simply do not want to deal with him again. Reasons we’ve heard is that the job is so bad, they know he can’t fix it; he damaged other things in the property such as counters, or didn’t properly protect vanities and mirrors from overspray; even that he was rude to them or inconsiderate.
  2. The home owner or contractor does call him back, and the problem isn’t fixed to their satisfaction.
  3. The refinisher simply refuses to come back.

Now before we go any further, there is a caveat to all this. It is important for customers to know that no refinished tub will look perfectly new. A bathroom is not a professional dust-free spray booth, and a human does not have the flawless movements of a robot. Some imperfections will be present on even the very best refinished tub. We have a 90% rule. The tub should look 90% new, and the average person who walks into the bathroom and stands over the tub after it is done should think it is a new tub.

That being said, we recently completed a bathtub where another company did an absolutely horrible job. The general contractor allowed this person a second opportunity to fix the problems, and he was unable to do so to his satisfaction. So the GC called us, and was understandably very wary. He checked our accreditation with the PBRA, asked us for samples of our work, and checked our references with other contractors we’ve worked with.

Not only did the first refinisher do a job that looked horrible, but there’s no way it would have withstood the test of time. While we were prepping the tub for our coat, his coat started peeling off in multiple areas. Adhesion was very poor. Take a look at the photos below that show this job in detail

  1. Lumps At Bottom – The bottom was not cleaned well prior to spraying. So this is coating that is sprayed over dust particles.
  2. Drips At Top – Poor spray technique. This is a bad “run”
  3. Orange Peel At Bottom – Minor texture is normal, and is sometimes necessary to maximize adhesion in some cases. However, this is excessive.
  4. More Drips – This is inexcusable. No refinisher should walk away from something that looks this bad.
  5. Poor Adhesion – We started to sand this guy’s work, and it started coming off in chunks. He didn’t prep it good at all.
  6. Fixed – Unfortunately we forgot to take a proper “AFTER” photo so the photo of our completed work still has the masking attached to the walls. The tub’s problems are all fixed. Adhesion has been improved, and all the visual imperfections have been addressed.

This is a good example of why it is important to do due diligence before selecting a refinisher and why it is a bad idea to select based on price alone. The prices we charge aren’t the cheapest, and aren’t the most expensive. We feel we provide the best value on the market for the services we provide.

Lumps At Bottom

Drips At Top

Orange Peel At Bottom


More Drips

Poor Adhesion

Fixed