Cheer up. When budget constraints make it impossible for you to do all the upgrading projects you’d like to tackle while staging your home to sell, look for alternative ways to get the job done for less.
One big item on the wish list of many is replacing bathroom fixtures like the bath and basin. These items can be costly, so we find ourselves hoping that prospective buyers won’t notice the chipped porcelain in the tub or the rusty spot near the drain of the basin. Today, however, there are DIY kits to actually refinish bathtubs and basins, giving you a brand-new look for as little as $25.00 – the cost of the kit.

This DIY project will require you to follow instructions to the letter, paying particular attention to drying and curing times. If you have been known to hurry your projects along in the past, you may wish to consider bringing in a professional surface refinisher. The cost for a professional refinish is more expensive, but it’s better than a botched job. With that caveat in place, here’s how to refinish your fixtures yourself.

What You’ll Need: Vacuum cleaner, paint brush or sprayer, drop cloth, plastic sheeting, two-part epoxy filler, putty knife, sand paper and/or orbital sander, masking tape.

Remove Hardware: Take off the chrome fittings and hardware including taps, drains, and overflow plates.
Clean it: Clean the fixture using an industrial strength degreaser – Tri Sodium Phosphate or TSP is a good, all-around cleaner. Also be sure all old caulking around the tub and around hardware is totally gone before you proceed.

Repair Chips: Using the epoxy filler and, following the instructions carefully, fill in any chips or cracks in the fixture. Use a putty knife to scrape away any excess filler. This will cut down on sanding later.

Smooth the Finish: After the epoxy hardens, smooth out the surface. Using sandpaper or your orbital sander, grind down any rough spots on the tub. Any dents or dings will show up on the finish after you’re done, so take the extra time to be certain the surface is flawless.

Scrub Again: Go over the bathtub’s surface with steel wool to be sure the surface is perfectly clean and smooth. In our experience, staging your home to sell will always require more attention to detail than you ever imagined. To that end, we recommend that you do this three times to be on the safe side, vacuuming out all the dust and residue between cleanings. Dust will also show up if it is left behind, so be extra careful.

Note: Don’t skimp on cleaning and sanding. The quality of the finished product will depend on the time you spend making sure the tub’s surface is totally smooth and without blemish.
Paint: Using a paint sprayer is the preferred method for painting the new finish on the tub. These sprayers can be purchased at your local hardware store or can be hired. If you don’t have a sprayer, use a paint brush according to the instructions on your refinishing kit. Particularly if you are spraying on the new surface, use the plastic sheeting and masking tape to carefully shield and protect the area surrounding the bathtub.

Follow the instructions on your kit and, if you are using a spray method to refinish your fixture, don’t forget to wear a protective mask. Open windows to ensure good ventilation. Using a circulating fan is also a good idea.

Always allow 15 to 20 minutes before you attempt to spray on another coat. Allow the paint to cure for the appropriate amount of time as recommended by the kit’s manufacturer. If you fail to allow time for this curing process, the new finish could wrinkle and sag, leaving it looking far worse than it was in the beginning.

Staging your home to sell can be a balancing act where you should always consider the project cost against several factors. If you do it yourself, you may not get the results you hoped for. If you call in a professional, it might cost more, but will produce an overall better effect. Consult with your home stager to find the perfect solution.

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