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