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Dear Dale: : Choices Available for Updating a Tub

April 24, 1988|DALE BALDWIN

Question: My husband and I are considering selling our home and are looking into prices for remodeling it to get the best price. The house is about 35 years old, and the bathroom fixtures were pretty scruffy. As an intermediate step, we replaced the wash basin and toilet, and they look fine. But now that we've done that, it emphasizes how discolored the bathtub is. I know there are two ways to go: put in a new tub or reglaze the one that's in there. What would you advise?

Answer: I can't tell you what to do, but I can point out the things to be considered before making the decision.

A new bathtub will cost considerably more than reglazing, primarily because in nearly every instance, either flooring around the tub or walls or tiles must be removed or broken into to install a new tub. Of course, with a new tub, you have a product that will last a long time and, in most cases, gives you greater freedom in cleansers you can use.

Reglazing looks good and costs quite a bit less, but it can't be expected to last as long as a new tub. And in some cases, there's the risk of having a mess in your bathroom if the reglazing is done on the site. If the tub is removed, reglazed elsewhere and then put back in place, you'll have the same problem with the floor or tiles being disturbed.

Also, after it's reglazed, there's a waiting time (a day or two, as I recall) before the tub can be used.

You may want to consider still another alternative. There's a process called Re-Bath that's been offered in Southern California for about 4 years by L.A. Bathtub Liners Inc., 15121 Graham St., Suite 109, Huntington Beach 92649.

This company "molds a liner to fit your tub and then simply installs it over the existing tub," Jay R. Shachter, president of the company, says.

The liners are made of ABS plastic, co-extruded with a non-porous acrylic finish. They are available in white or almond only.

Here's the way it works: A sales representative will drive a mobile display unit to your house for you to see the product. If you decide to buy, the representative measures your tub and takes photographs.

Back at the factory, there are 380 tubs--"of nearly every brand and vintage," Shachter says--from which the mold will be taken and ultimately your liner produced.

Then the new liner is taken to your house and installed in about 2 hours, Shachter says. The firm doesn't do any internal plumbing, but will install new faucets, drain caps, etc., when needed.

The tubs look like new; in fact, the surface is new. And prices range between $400 and $500, Shachter says, depending on the size and shape of the tub and layout of the bathroom (touching cabinets that require cutouts and that sort of thing).

With the liner, just as with reglazed fixtures, however, only liquid, non-abrasive cleansers should be used.

Who knows? With all the work you're doing on your house, you and your husband may decide to keep it.

Q: I have a window at the foot of our stairs that is there just to provide light. It doesn't open. Actually it's some kind of plastic or simulated glass. I'd like to replace it with beveled glass or one with some character--perhaps a stained-glass. Where's a good place to shop for this?

A: There are many shops in the Southland that can provide you with beveled glass. Just check the Yellow Pages.

At a recent home-improvement show in Anaheim I saw some nice examples of glass at an exhibit of Fregeau's Glass Works, 622 A South B St., Tustin. "We will custom create anything in your imagination," the post card promotion says.

Another company well represented at the show was Emerald Mirror & Glass Manufacturing, 3960 Prospect Ave. E, Yorba Linda, Calif. 92686.

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