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Tip #214: Better Than the Real Thing?

house in hands photoA clean bathroom is high on the wish list of just about every tenant. When its time for a bathroom overhaul, quite often it starts with the tub.

If you have one of those cast iron tubs that archaeologists will be digging up 1,000 years from you, youre faced with a choice: Tear it out and buy a new one, or have it refinished.

It’s more expensive to get a solid-feeling tub these days. And tearing out a tub is pretty serious stuff. Walls, tile, even floors may have to be torn up just to get that heavy old tub out. Sometimes you have to cut the tub in half to get it out. Ever try cutting a tub in half?

The first pro of refinishing a tub is pretty straightforward. Repainting a tub is lightning fast — usually just a couple of hours — so it is not very disruptive. You also can have the tile painted at the same time, eliminating ugly grout lines.

You can add extra texture on the bottom of the tub to reduce slipperiness, so your tenant wont need bath mats.

The surfaces can be painted just about any color you would want, including reliable white.

But there are some downsides to refinishing:

If you choose not to add texture to the bottom of your tub, it can be very slippery, potentially opening you up to unpleasant consequences.

Repainted tubs can’t handle bath mats with suction cups. That can tear the paint right off the bottom of the tub when theyre pulled up and probably voids the warranty. Opt to add the texture on the bottom, and make sure tenants know not to use the mats.

Tenants have to be told not to use common scrubbing powders on the refinished tub (although, to be fair, they shouldn’t be doing that on any tub.)

Another con: The odor! The retexturing paint exudes some of the foulest odor youll ever encounter. The good news is that the odor goes away within a few hours, and is pretty much dissipated after about 24 hours, but you wont want to use the bathroom while it is curing.

The tiniest dust particles can get imprisoned in the paint while it is wet, causing annoying little bumps. That means a lot of prep time in cleaning and hermetically sealing the room before the treatment.

See last week’s Landlord Quick Tip.

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