The Tub that's Old is New Again


THE RAVENNA HOUSE I mentioned awhile back that we had the original bathtub refinished in the upstairs bathroom.  Well, it turned out amazing.  Like ah-mazing amazing!  Serious, have a look:

Wilder at Refinished Antique TubSide of Antique Tub After RefinishAntique Tub Refinished

Why is Wilder's pant leg up?  I don't know.  That look was big in the 90's right?  That and sagging your pants to your knees (you know who you are, Uncle C).  Ahem.

Anyway, here's the tub "before" - it's not a complete before picture since we had already finished the tile surround, but you get the idea.  

Bathtub Refinish - Before 2

The tub is gross right?!  It looks like someone embalmed a cat in there or something.

Well as crazy as it sounds, Garrett wasn't sold on getting the tub refinished.  According to him, it was functional and why spend money where we didn't have to?  And while I appreciate the sentiment, I put my foot down on that one.  The tub was getting refinished, come hell or high water.  Because it was nasty, embarrassing, and kind of scary.  And I wasn't about to bathe my baby boy in there any longer then necessary.

So I called in the professionals, the Seattle Bathtub Guys.  They came out to give me a quote last winter.  And by the time I got around to calling, their next available appointment was in May.  But once they got here, it went super fast.  I picked out the white color (I went with the not-too-cold-but-not-too-cream option, as opposed to white-white and creamy-like-a-chocolate-milkshake-creamy-white) and then took Wilder over to my parent's for the afternoon.  A little relaxing (for me) and a nap (for him) later and we came home to find the tub looking like this:

Antique Bathtub Refinish 2Bathtub Refinish

The tub looks brand new, right?!  Except it's better then brand-new, it's 88-years new!  Oh how this tub makes my heart full!  And proving Garrett wrong was just an added bonus. 

Seattle Bathtub Guys charged me $395 + tax.  I didn't shop around so don't know how this price compares, but I was really happy with the end product.  Sure, I probably could have bought a new tub for the same price - well at least half a tub - but that's just one of those things about an old house.  Sometimes you have to pay the cat-embalmer.  Or something like that. Anyway, why rip out a perfectly good tub that's proven itself worthy and beautiful for 88 years, when you can just get it refinished.

So a few things you should know about refinishing an old tub:

  1. The guys at Seattle Bathtub Guys are great!
  2. Remove all your loose items from the bathroom (scales, lotions, shower curtain, etc) or else they will before covering the room with a tarp.
  3. You'll want to leave the house while they're working.  Probably somewhere around 4 hours - at least that's how long it took Nic.
  4. It takes 12 hours for the finish to dry.  That meant no showers at night.  And bathtime was in the kitchen sink for Wilder.

Wilder in the Sink 2

He didn't seem to mind.

So you're probably thinking about maintenance.  Good for you!  Always thinking one step ahead.  Well here are a few tips for cleaning and extending the life of the refinish:

  1. Clean regularly with a non-abrasive product such as Scrubbing Bubbles.  What's regularly?  I say when it looks dirty or at least monthly.  Avoid products with a lot of bleach as it will discolor the finish.  And make sure to rinse tub thoroughly after using any cleaning product.
  2. Standing or dripping water will damage the finish.  So keep your beau busy on Saturdays by repairing any drips or drain clogs.
  3. Don't use anything with suction such as toys or non-slip pads that could pull up the finish.  It took Wilder a good week of bathing in the newly-refinished tub before he stopped slipping, so make sure to keep a hand on your kid until they get used to it.
  4. Don't store anything on the ledge of the tub like shampoo containers or a rubber ducky.  Water will get trapped below the container and eat away at the finish.
  5. Never bathe dogs in the tub (sorry Bubba) as they can scratch the finish.
  6. The Seattle Tub Guys recommended liquid car wax to keep the refinish looking fresh.  I haven't tried it yet, but you can apply it as soon as 7 days after refinishing.  To avoid slipping in the tub, do not put wax on the bottom of the tub or anywhere you stand!

So that's it.  All I know about refinishing a tub.  So little effort for such a beautiful product.  And goodness, it's satisfying to hire things out.  Oddly, oddly satisfying.

Bathroom Antique Tub After Refinish


p.s. We still haven't found a good cover for that pesky shower window (yup, it's till on the punch list).  I love the natural light that it let's in but would love a little more privacy (a steamy window just doesn't feel like a permanent solution).  Any ideas?

p.p.s. This had me salivating.  These guys have me impressed (cause I'm pretty sure traveling anywhere with a toddler is impressive...but especially Paris).  Jo has me excited  to see her new place in Brooklyn (finger's crossed that Emily decorates again).  And this mood board has me even more excited for summer in the great Northwest.

p.p.p.s. It feels like Garrett and I were fully inducted into parenthood last weekend when we sped Wilder to the ER.  Everyone's fine, but I'm hoping we don't have to repeat that one anytime soon...actually, ever.