Relining a tub is cheaper than installing a new one

Q: The finish on my bathtub is badly deteriorated, and I've been thinking of having a tub reliner installed. The price is pretty steep. Are tub reliners worthwhile?

A: Tub reliners are an effective way to refinish an unsightly bathtub. A tough, custom-fitted acrylic liner about a quarter-inch thick is glued in the tub with waterproof adhesive. The liner is trimmed and caulked around the edges and a new overflow cap and drain plug are installed.


A liner for a standard 5-foot tub costs $525 to $600. The price is often a bargain when compared with the cost of removing an old tub and installing a new one, which can require tearing up and refinishing the bathroom walls and floor.

Ben Angeli, a salesman with Bathtub Liners of Pennsylvania, said his firm's liners come with a lifetime warranty against peeling, cracking or chipping. He said liners are available in white, almond, gray, black and a new smoked-marble finish. The tub can be used about five hours after the installation is completed.


Critics of tub liners say liners can crack if they do not fit perfectly, and that they must be perfectly sealed or mildew and mold can develop under the liner and cause odors. Liner advocates say fitting and installation techniques are so sophisticated these problems rarely occur.

Bathtub Liners of Pennsylvania ( [800] 942-8827) is a franchised dealer associated with American Bathtub Liners Inc. of Mesa, Ariz. For names of dealers in other areas, call American Bathtub Liners at (800) 528-9876.

Q: I have a poured plastic floor in my kitchen that is at least 30 years old. It has worn very well and I'd like to renew it, but can't find anyone who knows anything about it. Removing this floor is out of the question. Can you help?

A: Materials are still available for poured or seamless floors. A source is Dur-A-Flex Inc., Box 280166, East Hartford, Conn. 06128 ( [800] -253-3539). Seamless floors, which were popular in the '60s, have an extremely durable, no-wax surface.

To make a seamless floor, a liquid-plastic base coat is poured over the floor, a small section at a time, and spread with a roller or brush. Decorative vinyl chips are scattered over the wet plastic. When the first coat hardens, one or more clear topcoats are applied.

A worn seamless floor can be renewed by sanding the old surface and applying new coats of Dur-A-Flex liquid and chips.

Seamless-floor owners who want other flooring don't have to nTC remove it. It can be covered with a number of other popular types of flooring, including sheet vinyl or vinyl tiles.

Q: I'd like to know how to retouch a worn area in the center of my hardwood floor. The worn spot is about 3-by-3-feet. Would it work to sand the worn spot and apply satin varnish?


A: It is very difficult to touch up a large worn area on a varnished floor. If you try it, be sure to remove all wax from the area to be refinished, or the new varnish will probably peel. You will probably also have difficulty in matching the sheen of the existing varnish and in feathering the edges of the patch so the new and old finishes blend together.

Probably the best bet is to remove all the old finish by machine sanding, and refinish the entire floor.

Q: I am trying to locate a manufacturer of synthetic roofing that resembles hand-split cedar shakes. I have real cedar shakes that are splitting and decomposing, and would like to try the synthetic kind. Can you help?

A: A manufacturer of synthetic shakes is Eiger Building Products, Box 380220, Miami, Fla. 33238 ( [800] 453-4437). EigerShakes, the brand name, are made of plastic in 20-by-40-inch panels that are easier to install than individual shakes. About 50 percent of the plastic used is recycled from discarded material. EigerShakes are designed to resist splitting, mildew and high temperatures.