Care and Maintenance
Most bathtubs and tile are regarded as permanent fixtures. This, we know not to be true as the life of these surfaces is directly related to water quality and the way it is cleaned & maintained. Research, manufacturer recommended cleaning procedures plus many years experience, has shown us that whether new or refinished the useful life of the fixture may be extended many years if specific care is taken during
cleaning and maintenance. Below are the most common wear problems.
Incorrect cleaning procedures.
The greatest area of bathtub abuse occurs in the cleaning process.
Never use steel wool, abrasive pads or applicators on the bathtub. These will cause immediate damage to most bathtub surfaces.
Never use abrasive substances on sanitaryware. It is very tempting to try to remove marks with these substances but greater damage is always the end result.
The most important substances to avoid are abrasive powders and creams.
Considerable damage can also be done to the bathtub by using acids or other chemical substances such as drain cleaners.
Of these, chlorine, pool acid, bleach, vinegar, toilet cleaner and lemon juice must strictly be avoided. Most of these substances will remove stains from a bathtub, but the surface glaze layer of the bathtub will also be permanently damaged in the process.
The damage that these products do can be described as follows. They clean the surface by “scratch” cleaning the dirt off. This leaves tiny scratches on the surface which gets filled with dirt each time the bathtub is used, so you scrub harder to clean them off creating more scratch marks. Each time you clean the bathtub it will become harder to clean.
This cycle eventually leads to a complete breakdown of the surface of the bathtub. In effect you are gradually removing the enamel from the bathtub and the ultimate solution, if this cycle continues, is that the tub will need to be resurfaced.
In some areas, domestic water contains unacceptably high proportions of “foreign objects” which, in time, may either stain or scratch most surfaces.
Contaminants, such as vegetable colloids and iron oxide, will stain the surface. Even new bathtub surfaces are often stained as well.
In areas where the water contains a lot of lime, a sediment often builds up around the waste and below the faucets. It is important to ensure that dripping faucets are attended to and water is not allowed to remain in the bathtub.
Damage caused by dripping faucets over a period of time causes considerable damage to surfaces. Not only does it waste water but it eventually breaks down the surface. We have seen many bathtubs worn right through the enamel, especially below the dripping faucets.
The first sign of damage is the staining of the enamel surface. This stain is usually green or a faint brown.
Often dripping faucets eventually cause rust around the outlet. Whether a metal bathtub is resurfaced or
new and the faucets continue to leak, rust will re-occur.
Most bathtubs are susceptible to chipping. Below are a few causes:
Damage during installation.
Heavy metal plugs.
Objects dropping off shelves or window sills above the bathtub or basin.
It is important to attend to damage as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
Extremely hot water causes any bathtub to expand and contract. Sudden changes in temperature can cause
cracks and other damage. It is advisable to periodically check the temperature of the hot water.
A temperature not exceeding 65 degrees Centigrade / 149 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended.
Initial installation. top of page
Poor installation of a bathtub can lead to pooling of water on the top and bottom edges of the bathtub.
Water left to stand on surfaces for a long period of time will eventually cause damage. This is often the same damage caused by a dripping faucet. High levels of chemicals in the water supply will only add to this
Another reason for rust appearing around outlet is that water is unable to drain away because the outlet is
sometimes higher than the bathtub surface. This causes a “pooling” effect.
Correct installation of acrylic, fiberglass and cultured marble bathtubs is critical, as severe flexing may result
in the bathtub cracking.
Non-slip strips or mats.
It is unhygienic to leave rubber bath mats in the bathtub. Always remove the mat from the bathtub after use.
Mats left on the bottom of a bathtub trap water, becoming stained and unhygienic from mildew and soap deposits.
Water left to stand on bare surfaces for a long period of time will eventually cause damage.
Stick-on non-slip strips can cause problems when the edges start to lift off and depending on the method of removal, can cause damage to the surface. Once the edges have lifted, they are also unhygienic.
Cigarettes can seriously damage many types of bathtubs, especially acrylic, fiberglass, and cultured marble surfaces. Although most surfaces can be repaired economically, some damage is costly.
Vitreous enamel (porcelain) surfaces are not easily
damaged by cigarette burns.
Poorly installed wastes can lead to water lying around the waste and not draining properly. Water left unattended will eventually lead to corrosion.
In acrylic and fiberglass bathtubs, the effect of water will often stain the surface, requiring severe cleaning methods which often remove the shine and can damage the surface.
Soaking of washing.
The dyes and residues from clothing left to soak in a bathtub can stain the surface of all types of bathtubs. This can be difficult to remove with acrylic and fiberglass bathtubs as the stains impregnate the surface.
Strong detergents in washing powders will eventually cause damage.
Soaking washing in a bathtub will eventually stain a bathtub and could also remove the shine.
Hair dyes contain very powerful chemicals which will stain most bathtub surfaces. It is advisable not to use hair dyes in any bathtub.
Nail varnish often leaves marks on bathtub surfaces. Nail varnish remover contains chemicals which cause damage to fiberglass and acrylic bathtubs.
Many soaps contain caustic soda which, in time, bleach many enamel pigments. Soap should not be allowed to stand on a bare enamel surface for a protracted period of time. The use of soap rests or soap dishes is strongly recommended.
The frequent use of deeply colored substances such as bubble baths and oils could also permanently discolor most surfaces.
The constant use of colored disinfectants and soaps in bathtub water can result in stains which can only be
removed with a specialized polishing process. In some cases the stain penetrates the surface and cannot
There are a few unavoidable causes of surface deterioration.
The most common of these is the supply of discolored water which often leaves a yellowish brown stain. Unfortunately, bathtubs in these areas will show rapid signs of staining and discoloring, especially below dripping faucets.
A second unavoidable factor is the effects of a cast iron or mild steel hot water system. These systems also tend to produce discolored water which eventually stain the sanitaryware.
We hope that these paragraphs have been both helpful and informational to you. If you still have some questions, please do not hesitate and contact us. We’ll be more than happy to answer your questions or concerns.
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