Thursday, May 10, 2012

Contractor Review: Baths from the Past

Ok... so I am a little behind on posting this... the tub has only been installed for about a year now... I am a little behind on posting in general lately.

When we purchased our house 7 years ago, we were ecstatic to have found a house with its original clawfoot tub - even if it had suffered some horrific refinishing attempts in the past. At one point the entire tub had been painted with wall paint - including the inside!

When we renovated the bathroom the first time 5 years ago, we attempted to refinish the tub. We found a electroplating company to chrome plate the tub feet and Dave sandblasted the old paint off the outside of the tub and re-painted it with a black marine enamel. Then we hired a contractor to refinish the inside of the tub with an epoxy enamel product. The process involved acid etching the surface then applying a layer of epoxy enamel and was done with the tub in place in the bathroom.

After three attempts, Dave and the contractor were unable to agree on the quality of the finish (the contractor refused to fully remove the old chipped finish before applying the new finish) and the contractor kindly offered to fully refund our money so that he would never have to hear from us again. Needless to say the finish on the tub did not last more than 6 months.

When we began this renovation, we did an extensive amount of research into refinishing clawfoot tubs and decided that a shop-applied baked porcelain enamel product was the answer. Our research also led us to Chuck at Baths from the Past. Baths from the Past has been refinishing tubs for over 10 years, provides a 5 year written warranty and, best of all, Chuck promised to remove ALL the old finish before applying the new coating.

The porcelain enamel process is much more extensive then the epoxy enamel process. First of all we had to haul the tub out of the house to the shop. At the shop, the old finish was removed with an industrial strength stripper and lots of sanding.

Then the surface was acid etched to prepare it to receive the new finish.

After the etching, the tub was sanded one more time and a primer applied.

The new enamel is sprayed on over the primer and baked for 48 hours. After the new enamel is cured, they sand and polish one more time before applying a final clear protective top coat. The whole process takes about two weeks so you have to be prepared to live without your tub.

We couldn't be happier with the tub. It is so shiny and perfect! Even a year later... much more then could be said about the original epoxy system.

Chuck was fantastic to work with. Constantly emailing us progress photos and being available to answer any questions we had before, during and after. He even provided us with a little gift basket to enjoy with our new tub - a loofah, bath salts and tub cleaner. 

There has already been one *tiny* chip, hardly 2 mm wide, due to a screw driver being dropped while installing the shower curtain. We were able to fill it with American Standard porcelain touch-up paint that we found at Home Depot. You can not even see where it has been touched up and we have had no further problems.

We would be happy to recommend Chuck at Baths from the Past to any one looking to restore a clawfoot tub.

For more details on the refinishing process, check out:



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