Sometime in the process of preparing your house or apartment for sale, the question of replacing tired old fixtures like basins and baths may rear its head. With the cost of replacement baths and basins so low, you might imagine that replacing that old bathtub is a money-saving option. You’d probably be wrong. House stylists, who spend their days working through home staging problems, have other ideas about where you should spend your money.

Old baths are, first of all, usually of much better quality. They are constructed of heavy cast iron. Today’s models at the lower end of the price scale are made from fibreglass or other composite materials that are much lighter, and far less sturdy. Yesterday’s bathtubs are deep and wide, just made for soaking. Today’s replacement bath may only cost you a hundred and change, but it’s a cheap substitute for what may already be in your bathroom. They tend to be narrower and shallower – not at all fitting for a long stay with bubbles and a glass of wine.

The same is true of basins. Generally speaking, particularly if yours is an older structure, the basins of yesterday, like baths, are heavy and meant to last generations. Replacing them can mean not just the purchase of the new fixtures, but also disposal fees and reinstallation costs. If you’re a handy person, that may not mean much, but when you change one fixture in a bathroom, it often makes the others in the room look more outdated.

In addition to all of that, there is something to be said for keeping as much of your house “stock” as possible. Most especially if yours is an historic home, you owe it to your bank account to keep it as authentic as possible. What may feel like an upgrade to you, can be seen as an eyesore to prospective buyers who value historic integrity.

If the whole existing fixture package is looking old, tired, cracked, or stained you have options. Refinishing an old bath can be done professionally or even as a DIY project, and with the addition of new, handsome tapware can make your bathroom a primary selling point.

If you’re planning to refurbish fixtures in your bathroom, we suggest some thought. While there are very good kits available today at your local home-improvement store, the process can lead to misfortune. If this is your first run at refinishing a basin or bath, we suggest starting with a laundry sink or a powder room where your learning curve won’t be so very obvious. Practice, as we all know, makes perfect. (Here’s an idea. Offer to refinish your mother-in-law’s bathtub. She’ll be thrilled, and you’ll get the necessary practice before you tackle your own.)

Perhaps the better part of valour would be to call in a professional. According to house stylists we know, the cost to have a set of fixtures refinished professionally isn’t a monumental one, and the overall effect will be superior to even a slightly flawed DIY job. These craftsmen have not just experience, but also specialised tools and materials to do it up right.

Finding a professional bath refinisher is just like hiring any other contractor. You’ll want to do your due diligence. Get quotes, check references carefully, and be very clear about what you want done and when it is to be finished.

It may be useful for you to be out of the house before the work takes place. It means the bath will be out of service for two to three days, giving time for the different layers to dry and cure. This can, of course, be problematic for a family with children of any age.

Your staging company will be a wealth of information on the subject of refinishing your bathroom fixtures. Not only will they have approximate prices, they will probably also have a list of reputable contractors who can do the job for you. For bathrooms and kitchens, where so much of the buying decision is made, it’s best to do all you can to improve the product. Refinishing old baths and basins is one way to make an old bathroom sing again.

Photo credit: Image courtesy of Original Style.

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