Bath Resurfacing, A Brief History

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Bath Resurfacing, as a professional service, is a relatively new industry, dating back decades rather than centuries. The oldest company in the UK that is still resurfacing baths is in its 4th decade.

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However, once bathrooms were pretty much ubiquitous, different industries and services came to be built up around them. One of these was Bath Resurfacing.

Bath Resurfacing itself is an off-shoot of the car refinishing trade. In fact, in America, the usual term used to describe the trade is “Bath Refinishing”; not “Bath Resurfacing” or “Bath Re-enamelling”, both of which are the terms mostly used in the UK. At The Bath Business we describe what we are doing as ‘Bath Resurfacing’ generally. We feel it best describes what is actually being done to your bath.

Although there are quite a lot of companies that do Bath Resurfacing professionally, and each of these may have their own system or materials they use, the one common denominator is that all of them spray on the new surface. And the techniques and methods used have been derived from the car refinishing trade. Bath resurfacing has been around long enough now that many who do it may never actually have sprayed a car (I’m one of them) but this doesn’t change where the industry itself sprang from. And fortunately as materials and techniques improve in the car industry, the benefits of this can be used when resurfacing a bath.

Many of the tools, equipment and techniques would be fairly familiar to anyone who has spayed cars, although there are some differences due to the fact of where you are working and what you are spraying.

Many of a car sprayers’ tools will be run by compressors. In other words, they are air driven. Not just his spray gun but other things such as polishers, sanders, etc are all air driven. But compressors are bulky, heavy items, even small ones; so for mobility purposes, most bath resurfacers will use electrical sanders and polishers.

Again, the primers used by a bath re surfacer will often be different as the surfaces he is spraying onto are not the same as a car sprayer. The Bath Business uses a primer or bonder that has been designed specifically to adhere the new surface to the enamel bath. Without this special bonder the new surface would not adhere, or if we did do something to make it adhere of the bath then chipped there would be a problem. Our special primer ensures that if you chip the bath at some point the surface is adhered so well that no water can then reach under the new surface.

The car industry is the major mover and shaker in the development of spray paints and systems. For example, in the mid 90’s BMW unveiled its development of a water-based, coloured base-coat with a clear lacquer sprayed over it. At the same time, other companies were spending a lot of money doing research and development of water-based systems for cars. A lot of bucks have been spent on this. And the result of all this is that today cars are sprayed with a water-based coloured coat with a clear lacquer on top.

These developments trickle down to the Bath Resurfacing industry.

The idea of putting a new surface onto a bath is, however, not a new one at all. In fact it probably pre-dates the cast iron enamelled bath itself.

The first enamelled cast-iron baths began to appear in the late 1800’s, around 1870 and 1880. (Interestingly, one of the figures credited with its development was David Dunbar Buick, who is much better known for going on to found the Buick Motor Company in 1903. The success of this company [although not run by  Buick himself by this point] went on to fund the formation of  General Motors.)

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Prior to this the baths most people used  were made of galvanized metal. The kind of thing you see in a western movie where the hero is soaking in a tub with his hat on, smoking a cigar. Once he’d finished, the water would be tipped out and the bath hung back on the wall.

These galvanized baths began to get painted on the inside. I came across one of these baths which had been installed into a bathroom. The old man who owned the property told me that when he was a child, the bath was painted once a year and he was the one sent to get the paint. I got the impression that there was a specific paint which was used. Very like the DIY kits you can get today, of which “Mr Tubby” is probably the best known. They can be covered in layers and layers of old paint. Stripping this off is definitely not a job for the faint hearted.

The Bath Business delivers a professional bath resurfacing service. We resurface bathroom suites, baths, sinks, toilets and shower trays. We also deliver a professional invisible chip repair service again to baths, sinks shower trays etc. So we don’t sell DIY kits. We do suply a chip repair kit to our past customers and we are looking at supplying our materials and system to other professional bath resurfacing companies.

When exactly painting galvanized baths started as a practice is something I’m not sure of, but is does seem to be the earliest example of Bath Resurfacing, and as I said, may even predate enamelled cast-iron baths.

Bath Resurfacing as a profession is, today, practised in many countries, but to say it is world wide would give a slightly wrong impression. It seems to be based mainly in those countries with a strong anglo-saxon culture or bent. America, Australia, Canada, etc. In a lot of countries, the idea of having a bath is somewhat odd and not really part of the culture. Hence, no Bath Resurfacing.

There are some gaps in what’s been written here, and if anyone has some information that I’ve not, I’d really like to hear from you. Some of the things I’d like to know are: Where did Bath |Resurfacing originate as a professional service? When? What were the first materials and equipment used?

I’d guess that the answers to these are that it was North America, probably after WW II and that Epoxy Resin was what was sprayed. But there are guesses. If you know more about this, please e-mail me at thebathbusiness@live.com and I can include it here in this article. Thank-you.

If you want to know more about the services we provide at The Bath Business then please look at our website, http://www.thebathbusiness.co.uk

We operate on London, Edinburgh, Surrey, Kent, Brighton, Manchester, Birmingham,Glasgow and throughout the UK.

Services include: bath re-enamelling, bath chip repairs, bathroom suite, enamelling, bathroom renovation, re-enamelling, resurfacing, re-surfacing a bath, enamel repairs, chipped enamel, cast iron bath sales, bathtub refinishing,bath tub resurfacing,

A Bath Resurfacing project in Bridge of Allan

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05/03/09

I went to Bridge of Allan to do a job. The main thing the customer wanted was a chipped area of the bath repaired. Apparently it had just had a little chip originally, but one time he was in the bathroom,  the area around the chip just started flying off the bath until there was a large area that was just exposed cast iron.

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I went and had Lunch in Bridge of Allan itself. It’s not a huge town by any means. Just one street with shops and restaurants on it. Lots of restaurants. They were all very upmarket. I was quite surprised by this. I mentioned it to the customer and he said that Bridge of Allan had rail and road links to both Edinburgh and Glasgow, good schools and a rural location and as such was much in demand as a place for the affluent to live.Not fitting into this category I was unaware of this haven in the countryside. It certainly is a beautiful place.

It also started snowing again. I was planning to go to Helensburgh to visit some family after I’d finished work and wasn’t sure I was going to make it if the snow kept up.

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Snowing in Bridge of Allan.

The Customer and his wife run a company called Bouvrage. They produce all natural berry drinks from raspberries and European Blueberry. You can visit their website at www.bouvrage.com if you’d like to know more.

Got the job finished and did make it to Helensburgh. Scottish weather can be a bit unpredictable and annoying at times but it never got in the way of getting the job done and seeing the family. That makes a nice wee change.

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Finished job.

A day of work in Sheffield

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04/02/09

I travelled all the way to Sheffield today. It looks like they had had a lot of snow. We have employed a chap to cover this area specifically but I do like to do the odd job myself, especially when we are really busy. Sheffield is really rather nice.

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I got to the job. A very pretty roll-top bath from 1928 was the bath to be resurfaced. It was in excellent condition too. But the customer wanted the holes for the taps filled and that area to look like it had never had taps. He had the new taps coming in over the side of the bath from above. So I filled the holes and resurfaced the bath. Can you tell where the tap holes where? I hop not.

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The house was having a lot of work done to it; an extension being added and so on. One of the sparkies said something to me I didn’t catch. I asked him what he’d said. He laughed and said (refering to my Scottish accent), “Tha’ talks worst than ma!”  “Black”, “kettle”, “pot” and “calling” are some words which spring to mind. And most people think i sound American!

Heading back to the motorway from Sheffield, you pass a church with a crooked spire. I hope you can make it out in the picture. I am pretty sure the spire is meant to be like this.Quite a sight. Does anyone have any information on that Church spire?

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The Bath is back in Vogue

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The Bath is back in Vogue

Bath Restoration and Renovation in the UK

Yep, the latest buzzwords in the industry at the moment are ‘freestanding’ and ‘oversized’. The bathtub has made a comeback and here are the latest trends:

· Supersized and spacious

The latest baths are oversized tête-à-tête tubs or relaxing wells. Be warned: With some of these super sized tubs you may have to remove at least one bathroom wall or, ideally, build a spacious new bathroom in a larger room in order to house one of these new trendy tubs.Traditional double ended roll top baths are also still very fashionable.If you have a more traditional style double ended baths with large double washstands fit equally well in the current trends.

Focal point

Most designers treat these freestanding baths like works of art by placing them centre stage. Some even include drawings in their catalogues to underline the bath-as-a-focal-point trend.

· Shower feature

Many baths are now topped with a shower head, either directly above (ceiling fitted) or freestanding (floor-mounted on the side).

· Mosaic

Mosaic detail remains as popular as ever in bathroom decor.

· Wood

Baths and basins made of wood is another hot bathroom trend, often in combination with exquisite mosaic-clad walls and floors. These products are inspired by traditional Japanese baths used for long soaking sessions to arm the body and relax tired muscles. The advantage of timber is that it is warm to the touch and an excellent insulator.

· Equilibrium

The concept of the bathroom as a luxurious emotional sanctuary has clearly reached new heights. Design, functionality and a tranquil atmosphere should be combined to create an environment where true equilibrium is possible.

Beautiful Baths – The Bath Business

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Back in the day, a bath in a home was considered an item of luxury and was only found in hotels and the homes of the rich and famous. But today, a bath tub is an integral part of most homes, so much so that many homes have more than just one. In addition to being highly functional and allowing you to be clean, it also makes for a wonderful place to relax. They come in a variety of types to suite every home.

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Built in Baths

These are very popular in most homes and come in various shapes, sizes and materials. They are enclosed onthree sides and open only on the front side. Drop in baths are built into the floor and are at ground level. Another example of a built in bath is a corner bath.

 

Freestanding Baths
As the name suggests the bath stands freely in the bathroom and works best in a bigger bathroom. The taps are usually mounted onto the side on the bath or on the wall. The most popular types of freestanding baths are Clawfoot and Pedestal.Freestanding baths generally are very versatile. They can be placed in the middle of the room or against a wall. There are also a variety of styles both modern and traditional, although, most people commonly think of a traditional roll top bath when they are thinking of a free standing bath.

Shower Baths
Shower baths are typically found in smaller bathrooms as they combine the two functions while saving the homeowner space. Some large freestanding baths could also have a shower hood attached to the bath. This is called a canopy bath. These baths generally were fitted in quite large properties and could be quite an impressive centre piece to a bathroom. They are rare now but are still found. We have restored a few of them.

Speciality Baths
A spa bath or jet bath will help turn your bathroom into a sanctuary of health and relaxation. Tension and stress is melted away by jets of water massaging your body and in turn reduces muscle and joint aches and pains, therefore relaxing, mind body and soul. In recent years, spa baths have become more affordable, with more manufacturers of the product encouraging healthy competition. Spa baths are available in various shapes, sizes and number of jets, so be careful to check these when comparing prices.

Types of Baths
Bath tubs come in an assortment of materials with unique properties that affect the distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Acrylic: Fibreglass is used as a reinforcement material to the vacuum-formed acrylic sheets. This makes the finished product resistant to cracking. They can still get chipped or even look like dents have been taken out of them. However these can be repaired. Acrylic baths are lightweight and relatively inexpensive.

Cast Iron: These baths are among the most expensive baths on the market. Cast Iron baths are made by pouring molten iron into a mould. They are impervious to most chemicals and are almost impossible to dent or scratch.The enamel however can be chipped and if chipped badly the client can be left with an unsightly spot where the original iron is showing through. This can be repaired by a reputable company

Cultured Marble: are not made from marble at all, they are made by mixing limestone with a polyester resin and then finished with a gel coat. The finished product resembles natural marble in appearance. Cultured marble baths are less expensive than cast iron, but more expensive than acrylic.

Solid Surface: Solid surface materials have been used for years as an alternative to natural stone, such as marble and granite, but only recently has it gained popularity in the manufacturing of baths. The material has excellent thermal properties and will maintain the bath water temperature for longer than most other materials.

The trend is towards squared-off basin design, but for baths the bigger the better, try for a bath size of at least 1 700mm.

If you enjoy a bath for two install the bath taps on the wall next to the bath, in this way two people can share the bath comfortably. As the bath is the largest fitting in the bathroom, choose a bath in a design and style that complements the rest décor in your home.

The Bath Business – Restoring Baths to Beautiful Standards

Services include: bath re-enamelling, bath chip repairs, bathroom suite, enameling, enamelling, bathroom renovation, re-enameling, resurfacing, bath re-surfacing, enamel repairs, chipped enamel, cast iron bath, bathtub refinishing, bath tub resurfacing,

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