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Are you curious about the "Insight" tab name?

This page is for some comments. A blog of sorts!

The story behind this sink:

A rental. Not the most pleasant of places. A young couple was renting the place at the time these photos were taken.

I don't think it's a good idea to refinish a kitchen sink; these sinks suffer impacts, traffic a lot of water, and stay moist for long periods of time. But in the case of a sink like this being irreplaceable, maybe refinishing is a good idea. 

This sink had been refinished before. This is what they commonly look like when we arrive.

At the time of this entry, my only concerns are that the care info given to the tenant didn't go out her other ear, and that the owner is prompt with his check :-)

The finish we use and how it compares to others:

We typically use an epoxy primer and a polyurethane finish.

Of the materials that can also be used as a primer, acrylic or polyamide products are among the choices. They may work under certain conditions, but not enough conditions. That's why we use a specially formulated epoxy which was designed to offer excellent adhesion, serve as a barrier to moisture, bridge over certain kinds of contamination, and fill minor imperfections.

Today's refinishing materials include polyurethanes and epoxies. Both finishes are hard and attractive for the first months after application. However some epoxies can yellow, lose their gloss and/or develop fine cracks. Also, epoxies aren't as repairable. Polyurethane is more flexible, retains color better, is less likely to oxidize, and dries in a fraction of the time.

This tub is in a property in a low income neighborhood that had been rented, was given a quick rehab, and now up for sale. It had become dirty and rusty. The rust formed from two things: water puddling in an area by the drain and the fractured enamel. (You'll have to look very closely at the top photo.) The rust was accelerated by a strong cleaner that weakened the enamel. The rehabber was a regular customer of ours whose instructions were to do a "quickie" for his investor which is code for "just quickly and inexpensively make it pretty." 

It is possible to remove the rust and enamel where the puddling occurred. It's also possible to fill the puddled area so water no longer collects there, and instead flows to the drain. Both at an added expense.

That wasn't in the rehabber's plan.

If you've got a problem like this, consider changing the tub. 

How's this for looking artsy?!

This cabinet was installed new in the 1920s in a beautiful old building that overlooks Lake Michigan. 

You're looking at layers of paint that the handyman and homeowner tried to scrape away.  The condo owner was having a hard time finding an exact-fit cabinet and decided to keep this relic.

Removing the old paint required a chemical stripping, scraping, and sanding. 

This photo is the last photo of our work done in the city. Traffic. Parking. Crime. Permits. Ridiculous regulations. Even if someone offered to pay more. No more travel to Chicago.


Just out of the left side of the frame are pencil marks from when the surround walls were installed....10 years ago. This tub had not been cleaned guessed it...10 years. The lady told me she tried "everything."

I used a scraper and cleanser. It worked. Scraping and cleaning the entire tub took me around an hour. 

The second photo is not of the refinish job that followed. It simply shows that "everything" wasn't good enough and grandma's elbow grease technique still held true.

If you've got a problem like this, check out the "TIPS" tab.

Here's a creative way to replace the shower valve; cut the shower wall to get to it. The incriminating instrument of destruction was nowhere in sight. 

For some reason a nice, neat hole was in the plan. Forget that there was drywall that they could have cut through to change the faucet which would have been simpler. However sawing the tub sounded like a plausible option. Once into the job, he increased his pleasure by increasing the hole size another foot. 

I wonder sometimes if people who saw tubs like this are the kind who touch live electrical wires thinking they won't get shocked. 


This is one big tub!

The homeowner had begun having difficulty getting into the tub and making the trip to the basement shower. After a few high-priced remodeling quotes to have a shower installed in place of the tub, the family called us about the installation of the Clean Cut Step. Since the Clean Cut products only allow a certain amount of step-in height removed they wanted a deeper solution, something we offer.

This is more involved than installing a Clean Cut product but delivered the results they were hoping for. 


This little guy stayed long enough to pose for a photo 4-13-19 when I was cleaning the van. His presence in the sunlight reminded me of our similar needs: food, shelter, companionship and a love for God in this short life on the earth. 

We should do well with what we're entrusted and enjoy little moments like this!



Here's a pair of photos of a repair for a contractor who recently needed these holes filled. As you can see, the finished job looks flawless. For the contractor, this repair meant complications were spared as they had considered a replacement. 

Repairs like this call for expertise. The cost of this repair was a fraction of the cost of the other options, but not cheap. This repair is likely priced differently in different parts of the country.


April 21, 2021
A truly rare tub. They oriented the inside of the tub at an angle to offer more space for the user, and more surface area for bottles. Another interesting feature helps bathrooms have an airier feeling so a wall did not have to be built on the other edge of the tub. If this style was made after the late 1960s it would be news to me. Just to the left of the tub is a wall-hung toilet which helps with housekeeping.
This homeowner was ready to rejuvenate the tub & tile. The acid resistant enamel on the tub had become worn, and the speckled tile was unattractive to him. After reattaching the tile and the usual prep, he went with a color I call, "china white."
The job to the left prices around $750. 




This image shows something very commonly found when prepping a bathtub for refinishing. Since this tub was "avocado green,"the soap scum on it appeared as a waxy film to the casual eye. It is apparent at the edge of the dust pan. When rubbing a clean, dry finger on the area the finger comes away with a cloudy, waxy residue. In this case, there were dirt and mineral solids included which gives this a taupe color. This accumulation took several years.

For a durable refinish job, this must be removed. 

For a refinish customer who wants to keep the tub in top condition, keeping a clean tub involves removing the otherwise invisible soap residue with each regular cleaning. Not removing soap scum leads to the softening of the coatings and ultimately delamination.


This was another special refinish job. Around 20 years ago the property where this tub resides was acquired to serve as a rental. The tub was simply worn and needed some "make-up." In the day Tubs N' Stuff was using a quality epoxy primer and finish. The primer was very expensive and slow to dry before the finish could be applied. What makes this so special? It held very well despite the mismatched paint on the floor; it did not delaminate except where there was physical damage.
What does this mean to this refinisher? The scrapes can simply be sanded 
without the concerns that come with re-coating over novice work.
And if it was a poor refinish job last time? Refinishing over poorly adhering finishes can result in immediate or prolonged delamination.


Ever wonder about replacing your bathtub? Many people we have spoken with who have plastic or fiberglass tub damage had ended their search for high quality replacement tubs, mostly because they don't know where to look. Some said they found enameled steel tubs but didn't like their looks. By the time Tubs N' Stuff gets a call, the regrets are looking very expensive due to the repair cost of the flimsy tub they chose.
First of all, cast iron tubs are still available! You can find them at the major home centers and plumbing supply whether in stock or available by order! You'll see major manufacturers' names. You'll also be surprised by the selection if you do some deeper digging. This is an important step because enameled cast iron tubs are the most durable.
You can also find enameled steel tubs. Before 2020 they were readily available. You should expect limitations on styles. They are still a good, suitable tub.
What people commonly find in stores which arereadily available are the plastic and fiberglass tubs. There are actually three versions:
Plastic construction: molded acrylic, supported by polystyrene foam, varying quality, prone to stress cracks, easily scratched, yellow with time. (pre-2000)
Plastic and fiberglass construction: molded acrylic, backed with fiberglass, floor supported by various material, varying quality, prone to stress cracks, easily punctured, easily scratched, can stay looking new with very good care.
Fiberglass construction: molded polyester resins, supported with wood and cardboard, varying quality, shows impact damage, less prone to scratching, loses gloss in time, better service life, can look good with very good care.
Tubs N' Stuff's recommendation? Cast iron. Pay extra to buy it. Pay extra to install it. Enjoy it for 50+ years. 

Been there? During a quiet evening on the patio I thought I'd look up bathtub refinishing. 
I can't believe the techniques some of these people are using! 
First, hire a seasoned professional!
Secondly, if you won't do that then be ready for trouble. Here's why.
One channel whose owner was using a GoPro trusted the cleaning lady's work. The same guy said he was preparing a textured surface but left most of the surface truly unprepared. That's a recipe for short term failure!

Many YouTube channels like the one I'm referring to are posts from slick, click seekers without enough experience and knowledge to be a worthwhile resource. YouTube doesn't care about any credentials because they're also in the game for money. So how can you do a good job yourself? 
One way is to learn from knuckleheads. Search out DIY failures. Search out DIY work after the work has been in service. Maybe you can learn from the prep, material and application that failed.
Another way is to consult experience. Try a veteran painter or a trusted paint shop. 
Here are some basics to painting anything that can be painted: 
Choose trusted, quality materials suitable for the job.
Import well-qualified help.
Be patient with the help and the materials.
Be prepared to pay extra for excellent work.
Excellent surface prep.
And if your DIY experience fails, it will cost you more to have it removed so a proper job can be performed as well as it can be.



In April of this year I had my hardwood kitchen floor refinished. A contractor who had done other work for me was too busy, so I hired a reputable flooring shop. After waiting 3 weeks for the appointment, their FIRST crew did a sloppy job having rushed coats and left major defects in the finish. The SECOND crew applied a material over the top of the first work which wrinkled. The THIRD crew did a novice-looking job stripping and refinishing. In all three cases the workers demonstrated only functional knowledge of the trade, weak communication skills, and were in a hurry. My house was without a kitchen for 3 weeks because a flooring contractor had low-skilled help. It's common today that good help is retiring, good help is choosy, good help is worth the wait, and good help will cost more.  

75% OFF!!!
Wow! Sounds like a great price on the drumsticks!
Or maybe their price is 75% of its usual price which would be 25% off.
Whichever the case, isn't it interesting why retailers or service providers offer such eye-catching deals? 

You already know why. They had already inflated their price, then offered some eye candy to help close the deal. Did you know that many retailers need to walk away with roughly 60% of the purchase price of the products you purchase from them?
In order for major retailers to attract you they bargain behind the scenes by presenting a target retail price to the manufacturer. As bargainers, they pressure the manufacturer to cut costs to help the retailer meet its target retail price. This can drive down the quality of the product which may be immediately noticeable to the consumer. Social, political, moral and ethical issues may also come into the mix.
Let's talk about bathtub faucets. Let's just use a fictitious company called ABC Manufacturing that makes these faucets. Because they covet the exposure and volume of the major retailer, they agree to their pricing target and find ways to make it work. They may overlook the social, political, moral and ethical issues to keep their production costs low so they can deliver the product John Q. Public saw on the shelf. Their strategy also helps them easily absorb returns when the customer returns the product. However, when the family plumber looks at the product on the day of installation he sees the passages through which water flows are noticeably smaller which results in a weaker shower or a slower tub fill. Then with some years of this faucet in service, the homeowner notices the finish degrading on the handle, spout, shower head and escutcheon plate. BUT the homeowner saved around $20 by purchasing from the major retailer instead of through his plumber who uses a plumbing supply wholesaler whose products are FIRST quality and are also made by ABC Manufacturing. In the end ABC landed a great retail deal and saved some money by selling a lower quality product at the major retailer, and made the same profit through the avenue the plumber sources his parts where there are nearly no returns. There's more to it than that, but this is worth some thought. 
How about a service company's discounts? Are their technicians now of lower quality? Are they less reliable and less qualified? Did they acquire a bad reputation? Are they planning a big price increase soon? Can you talk with them after the sale? Did they drop their insurance coverage?!

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