Terminology, especially when starting a remodel or renovation, can often be confusing to customers. One common set of terms you will hear people use interchangeably are “refinishing” or “reglazing” in relation to tiles.
There really is no such thing as “reglazing” — it’s a misnomer. As This Old House once shared in a Q&A, unless you’re planning to “crank up the heat in your bathroom to 2,300 degrees for several hours,” you really don’t “reglaze” bathroom tiles.
The real term is a process called “refinishing,” but can also be called “resurfacing” or “surface restoration.” Many customers will call it “re-glazing:” they think you are re-glazing because the tiles look so shiny and new after the refinishing process is complete. Yes, your tiles look amazing by the time we’re done, but really, we aren’t re-glazing your tiles.
Refinishing is an affordable and faster alternative to remodeling – especially when you are happy with your existing bathroom configuration and your tiles are in good shape. In short, refinishing is a multi-step process of applying layered coats of primer and pigmented acrylic urethane. Once that’s done, we buff the surface area until it shines like a freshly glazed tile.
You can refinish surface tiles as well as your bathroom fixtures – provided they are in good shape. Porcelain, fiberglass and cast iron items are usually good candidates for refinishing.
While refinishing may seem like it can work miracles – and in the right situations we can – it is not a miracle worker. The raw materials – tiles, baths, etc – themselves need to be in good shape. If your fixtures are cracked or severely pitted, you may want to replace your items.
*See our decision-making guide article on how to determine if refinishing is a viable alternative for your situation.
An earlier version of this article ran on our sister site, hoteltubspro.com.
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Decisions, decisions: Should you remodel? Or refinish?
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