What I'm Seeing Now

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Have You Seen These Porcelain Refinish Jobs?

Have you seen these porcelain refinish jobs? 

I do all the time.  Only the jobs done most recently do not have problems.

Tubs, sinks, counter tops, ceramic tile - all these can be refinished.  And there are many companies and contractors who do this work.

The problem I see most often is peeling.  The other is over spray, which is just plain ugly.

Both of these problems are exceptionally common.

The peeling can be anywhere - on the floor, or sides of a tub, on the ceramic tile wall, on the edges of a sink.

Dropping something on the sprayed material can cause stress that eventually opens up to begin to peel.

And during installation, if bubbles are left they too will soon open up.

The spray materials are said to be "high tech," acrylics used with special bonding agents, and not spray paint, epoxy or enamel.

In this house both bathroom tubs had problems here at the drain.  That being so, I would have to blame it on the same installation weakness or mistake done around both tub drains.  I don't know what the problem was, just that it was consistent to both locations.

These bathrooms were both said by the seller to be "recently remodeled."  The word "recently" was not defined.

The refinishing companies say that the material lasts 10 - 15 years. 

As a home inspector I am unable to speak to that life span.  All I can say is that when I see it the problems are nearly universal.  I would NOT consider it to be a Best Practice.  It might be a valid stop-gap repair, however, and without over spray can be good looking, so buyers of houses with recently-refinished materials should be exceptionally aware.  This is not to say not to buy the house, just to be aware of what you are buying.

The word SINCERE comes to us from the Roman marketplace.  Marble was a commonly-used material.  Unscrupulous salesmen would sell marble where cracks had been filled with wax to fill and hide them.  The crack would not be discovered until later, when it was too late.  This shady practice got so common that buyers began avoiding marble!  So the honest sellers in the marketplace would put up signs with their product to advertise it as wax free! 

The signs read "SIN CERE."  Which means "WITHOUT WAX."

My recommendation:  as with everything, consumers need to check things out completely.  Certainly the skill and professionalism of the individual(s) doing the work counts greatly.  All remodeling and repairs requires due diligence and even skepticism, no matter what is done.  From this home inspector's point of view, there is a lot of snake oil out there.  Consumers, though, have to determine what they consider to be snake oil and what is not.  Caveat emptor.

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 21 commentsJay Markanich • March 28 2014 05:29AM

Comments

I have also seen this product stain within a year creating a dirty tub look. This is one of the tricks that Flippers like to use to sell homes, so best to get a knowledgeable Realtor and Building Inspector.

Posted by David Popoff, Realtor®,SRS, Green ~ Fairfield County, Ct (DMK Real Estate ) about 4 years ago

You're right David.  This is a favorite practice of the Flipper!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Hi Jay,

Talk about a safety issue. I have been cut on some of those crappy re finish jobs.

Nice find for the buyers.

Have a good day in Bristow.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) about 4 years ago

Jay, this is one of those posts that people should read, but they don't like the news. Bummer. I mistakenly thought that the refinishing might be something that works!

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) about 4 years ago

Jay, I see this reinfinishing as a means to extend the life of an otherwise good tub and if you are willing to redo it every 10 years it can be quite satisfactory for the cost.  Like you, I rarely find one that does not have issues after about 8-10 years---sometimes sooner.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 4 years ago

This material was both floppy and sharp Clint.  It always is.  I did not touch it - who knows what's going on with that stuff that I have no protection against!

It does Tom, for a while.  But it seems to me to be quite vulnerable to problems.

Charlie - that is exactly what it is intended to do.  Which is why flippers like it so much - cute and quick.  I think the problems happen much more quickly than the 8 - 10.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

You just turned me off from re-glazing my tub. Mine is chipping now, but I'll eventually be redoing the whole bathroom. Might as well throw the tub in there too. 

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) about 4 years ago

Which gives you the opportunity to get the tub you want Suzanne!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

I had both the tubs and tile reglazed in my parents old house.  We did not have any problems for the 4 years I owned it after it was completed..  We had the a heck of time getting out the old stopper thingie (techinical term) so it would not be sprayed over but the local hardware store had a tool that we could borrow to get it out.  Wonder if this one wasn't prepped right or they went with the cheapest bid?

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) about 4 years ago

I wouldn't know Cindy.  Both tubs have the same problem, so both tubs experienced the same techniques. 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Not only did I learn something today i also learned the meaning of a word I hadn't given much thought to.  Thanks

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) about 4 years ago

If you mean the word sincere, James, many of our words are contractions of Latin words that have specific meanings separate and apart.  And ALL words have etymologies and histories.  Language is fascinating.  Most people don't bother to look into it!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Generally, the reglazing works very well on walls. There are no warranties on floors (nor would I expect it to last long there) and I believe the warranties on tubs may be shorter (maybe 5 yrs).  Yes, this does look like it wasn't done well, and I'm sure standing water contributed to this (and perhaps poor drainage). - Debbie

Posted by Women of Westchester Working Together, Women helping Women get ahead (Women of Westchester Working Together) about 4 years ago

Perhaps Debbie.  It seems to me that a bath tub is intended to hold water, so any "remodeling" or "refinishing" should be able to handle that.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Warrented for 5 years???  Mmmm.  Is the warranty an insurance policy or is it with a refinish company???  That's important.

Otherwise that "warranty" is just "blowin' in the wind".

This matter gets so complicated that I don't even want to sell the house.  Where else has the owner compromised repairs when replacement is advised???

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 4 years ago

I don't think they would warrrant that refinish for five years Lenn.  I see failure nearly every time I see this stuff.  As such, I have to make a point to tell clients that they are buying it, when I see it.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

I on occasion see the same. Refinishing tubs here does not seem to be as popular here. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 4 years ago

It is a flipper favorite Jim.  Understandably.  And people get sold.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

It looks good for a very short time...dis color and peel...you bet....!

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (Keller Williams 414-525-0563) about 4 years ago

Jay, I have seen this on occasion also. I have always wondered what the actual lifespan of the refinish was.

 

Another popular one is the "refit" where they have liner that goes on over the existing tub.

 

Here is an example of one.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

It seems too S&D.  But by the time I see it, almost every time, it is a mess.

Don - I don't either.  Those refits are similarly hideous, but if they continue to stick to stuff they will last a long time!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

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