Ever since the discovery of porcelain, there have been various methods of restoring and repairing surfaces; and these techniques are arguably as old as Chinese porcelain itself. The word porcelain is derived from the old Italian word porcellana, which was once a commonly used slang word for a cowrie shell; this was due to its resemblance to the shiny surface of a seashell. Roughly, about 1,200 – 2,000 years ago porcelain was evolved in China then slowly spread to other Asian countries and then finally Europe in the 1700s. Due to its more rigorous manufacturing process porcelain was typically regarded as the most prestigious type of pottery due to its delicacy, strength (compared to other earthenware), and its distinct white color.
Although it has proven it can withstand the test of time, that’s not to say that porcelain is impervious to daily wear and tear. The first documented porcelain item that has been repaired is several thousand years old. Artisans would make these delicate repairs using glue made from discarded animal parts and riveting, and these are widely regarded as some of the first rudimentary restoration techniques. Since the 600s to present day it remains true that repairs to porcelain surfaces require great mastery and experience, because it’s almost impossible to recreate the translucence of the fine white porcelain.
In modern times, bathtub refinishing can be described as the act of spraying a coating over your existing tub to make it look like new, repair minor damage, or to completely change the color. The goal of this cosmetic fix is to update your bathtub quickly, inexpensively, and without replacing a thing. It can be a stand-alone service or part of a larger remodel depending on the unique needs of the clients. And most tub resurfaces are completed in under 3 hours with a standard 24 hr dry time.
The growing popularity of tub refinishing careers has lead to an ever-growing list of possible products to use, at varying price points. Unfortunately, some of these refinishing coatings (typically the more cost-friendly products) contain dangerous chemicals, like methylene chloride. Although the refinishing industry (and porcelain surface repairs in general) have come a long way, there are still improvements that can be made. As of November 22, 2019, the EPA has banned methylene chloride in paint strippers due to the health risks it poses, which is a good start. But you can rest assured that at Custom Tub & Tile we vow to never use products that contain isocyanates or methylene chloride because safety is our number one goal. Our tub casting system is not only environmentally friendly by contains no evaporating solvents giving it a near 0 VOC. The future is bright, thanks to innovative individuals, and we can’t wait to see how tub resurfacing, tub casting, and surface repair techniques will change over time.