Joy of St Croix

Tub Repair & More

reliable and affordable solutions for bath, liming, & more

challenging colors require bold choices

You can dramatically change the emotion of the bath by altering color schemes and renewing worn out surfaces with options not available by the manufacturers. Even faux finishing and artwork can be successfully painted on bath surfaces like counters, tile, and bathtubs by adhering to the science of the process, thus freeing the homeowner and designer to pursue changes in fashion and expression.  All of this with the tub, tile, or counter in place and limited construction debris.

The Refinishing Process

Your health and home are serious investments that require serious attention from the people you hire. Quality craftsmanship is not cheap, quick, or easy; it’s learned and developed through years of purposeful hard work and dedication, and executed with competence and pride.

Paint is an amazing technology…if you follow the steps.

The Refinisher who understands the reasons for the steps – the science behind it – will predictably and reliably produce a product that will live up to expectations. The Customer who understands the process will be more equipped to screen Refinishers for competency.

Below is the standard process for refinishing a bathtub in a residence.
The 2017 standard retail price is $750

pros and cons

Customer – research
Research the general process and examine ours to determine if we meet your needs.

Homewyse – Bathtub refinishing cost calculator.

Costhelper Home & Garden – Article on bathtub refinishing cost. – Discusses getting a quality job & cheap pricing results.

prepare a checklist

Customer – planning
Estimate the price of your project in the SHOP:

If your tub was painted previously it will need to be stripped.
Are there are structural problems to the drain or overflow?
If you are refinishing tile, are there cracks or missing grout?
Are you refinishing tile walls, a standard bathtub, a clawfoot bathtub interior or exterior?
Will you be wanting a non-slip texture?

place your order in the shop

Customer – ordering
Place the order through the online SHOP with a 50% deposit to secure the material and labour. The remainder is due on satisfactory inspection of the completed project. The online ordering gateway will ask some important questions for the refinisher’s preparation, e.g., where do they park, is the tub upstairs or down, is there water and electricity, are there pets or children onsite? Taking the time to fully prepare helps to ensure a professional result and allows less chance for miscommunications that waste time and money.

techs arrived prepared

Refinisher – day 1
arrive fully prepared
The refinisher will leave the shop with all tools and material necessary to complete the day’s scheduled work.

tech will confirm scope of job before starting

Refinisher & Customer – day 1
greet and review scope

With the information supplied by the customer during the online checkout, the refinisher will introduce himself, review and verify the scope and pricing, and assist the customer with any adjustments that need to be made.

apply masks

Refinisher – day 1
protect work area
The refinisher will protect finished areas from work areas by masking floors and walls. The bathroom will be turned into a temporary spray booth along with an exhaust tube directed outside the property.

tech removes drain and overflow

Refinisher – day 1
remove drain & overflow
The refinisher will remove the old drain shoe and overflow cover. One of the keys to our success in refinishing a bathtub is to protect the edges of the paint from water infiltration. The paint needs to extend beneath the drain and overflow, the only way for this to be done is to remove it – however, the refinisher is a painter, not a plumber, and we cannot assume liability for plumbing. If the drain pipe is old, it may break and you will have to call a plumber – this rarely occurs, but you should be prepared.

removing bathtub caulk

Refinisher – day 1
remove old caulking
The caulking holds the same importance to the success of the coating as the drain shoe. The refinisher will remove all of the caulking, and completely clean out the voided area.

tub must be perfectly clean prior to painting

Refinisher – day 1
remove contaminants
An often ignored step in inferior processes is the removal of  soap scum to allow acid full contact with the glaze. It cannot be simply wiped down with lacquer thinner (as some suggest), the layers must be mechanically agitated, emulsified, and rinsed away to remove all of the contaminants that can interfere with the bonding of the coating. For those refinishers who don’t use acid but rely on “wipe-on primers”, this step is probably the most crucial.

etch enamel porcelain bathtub

Refinisher – day 1
mechanical bond
Composite bathtubs can be sanded to create a mechanical bond, but bathtubs with porcelain coatings need to be acid etched to “break the glaze”, that (somewhat) non-porous layer of glass that makes porcelain smooth. A new trend in bathtub refinishing is the use of a silane bonding agent (silane is the bonding chemical in superglue) to replace acid etching, but the need of a mechanical bond cannot be stressed.

cleaned tub for refinishing

Refinisher – day 1
chemical bond
Once the surface has been sanded or etched to create a mechanical bond, the residue must be removed to achieve full bonding of the coating with the bathtub. Now the chemical bonding must be addressed. After a final deep cleaning, the “super-glue” silane adhesion promoter is applied to assist in the chemical bonding of the epoxy primer.

bathtub masked for painting

Refinisher – day 1
mask bathtub

When paint is sprayed it doesn’t all land on the bathtub; some of it is adjacent “over-spray”, and some of it hangs in the air. While the vast majority of it is vented out of the house through a filtered vent tube, some of it can land on the commode, the counters, and every other surface where the paint fog can reach. The refinisher will mask the entire bathroom and install ventilation.

tub masked for priming

Refinisher – day 1

Epoxy priming allows the topcoat to adhere much better than if it were used alone, and is mandatory if the material is not water resistant and will be exposed to the elements…like in a bathtub. It is not engineered to form a durable finished surface, but to have improved filling and binding properties with the material underneath through controlling it’s physical properties, such as porosity, tackiness, and hygroscopy.

Refinished tub curing

Refinisher – day 1

The primer has been applied and allowed to “flash off” for the time it takes for the solvent to evaporate enough so you can apply the top coat. The top coat is now applied in three coats to achieve the proper thickness along with the two primer coats.

porcelain enamel refinished bathtub

Refinisher – day 1 to 2

The top coat has been applied, and the paint machines have been cleaned out to give the topcoat time to flash off and begin to skin over. The refinisher re-enters the room to remove the masking paper and clean up the site – end of day one. The bathtub is allowed time to cure, usually 12 hours, before the beginning of day two


Refinisher – day 2
sand & polish

The sanding and polishing of of the topcoat is as crucial as all previous steps to the long term success of the finish. The painting process in such an uncontrolled environment can result in dry areas, drips, or other cosmetically unappealing areas. The entire bathtub is wet sanded by hand, machine polished, and then hand polished.

precision tools for repairs and touch-ups

Refinisher – day 2
touch ups

During the painting process, particles of dust can land in the finish; if someone picks at the dust bump and tears it loose, the top coat is now compromised with a very small chip. To prevent this from happening, all compromised areas are top coated by airbrush.

drain and overflow

Refinisher – day 2
install drain & overflow

Since removal of the drain shoe and overflow cover is mandatory to a proper finish, we see no reason to reinstall worn out parts. We provide a new, solid brass, chrome plated drain shoe – polished chrome is the only finish we provide.

techs clean up site after job

Refinisher – day 2
clean work area

Before asking the customer to inspect the bathtub, the refinisher will fully clean the jobsite and inspect the area for any additional work that needs to be completed.

tech will bring customer in for an inspection

Customer – day 2

When a customer first sees the level of quality that has gone into the project they can be so grateful that they don’t inspect the unit with a critical eye. The field refinishing process that you have just experienced would normally take four days in the studio. A refinisher could easily overlook something simple, like a piece of tape, or some overspray; the refinisher will not be offended if you point something out.

many ways to pay

Refinisher & Customer – day 2
finalise payment

Once the inspection is done and approved, it’s time to finalise the payment. You can pay in the same manner you paid the deposit, or choose another method. Either way, your final invoice will be e-mailed to you.

customer must keep the unit clean

Customer – cleaning
The one thing that will keep your painted surface sound is regular cleaning. It will also make you aware of any potential problems, like a chip or gouge. For general and regular cleaning, wipe excess water off the bath surface after using it, and clean with PineSol. Read our blog post on cleaning for further information.

client must maintain caulking

Customer – caulking
The caulking is important for keeping water from both the inside of the walls and the edge of the paint. An often neglected aspect of the maintenance of a bathtub, you can help to extend its useful lifespan through regular cleaning and wiping your bathtub down after each use. Plan on replacing the caulking every five to seven years.

client must mantain the finish

Customer – maintenance
Paint is not indestructible – it can be chipped, scratched, gouged, and otherwise damaged; if that happens, you need to take care of it right away or the finish will degrade. The good news is that damage to paint can be easily fixed if addressed early. If you ever have a problem, please call us and let us help.

…but wait – that’s not all –

registered clients with an account receive 40% off future maintenance repairs to extend the life of the finish, access to specials and sales, and more.

JSTX provides maintenance at reduced costs

Maintenance at a reduced price

Customers in good standing are extended a discount on maintenance costs to assist in getting the most longevity out of their refinished surface.

JSTX provides products

Cleaning Products

Customers in good standing are extended a discount on cleaning supplies.


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