Before & After: A Demo-Free Bathroom Renovation

I know there are those among you for whom the classic pink-tiled bathroom is a national treasure worth saving at any cost. And while I admire your commitment to preservation and in theory agree with you, in practice I know better — six years ago I bought a pre-War apartment with two pink tiled bathrooms and that turned out to be two too many for me. Check out how I completely changed the look of this bathroom without tearing out a single tile…

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Even though I hated the pink, other than a few seriously cracked tiles and some ancient and totally useless built-in soap dishes (I still don't understand why you'd need two soap dishes by the sink) even I had to admit that the tile job was beautiful and had really withstood the test of time. I also didn't have the money for a complete gut rehab, which is what this and it's twin bathroom across the hall would really need since the tile wraps the whole room.

Thankfully, my mother-in-law suggested something I had never even heard of — tile refinishing. We were already planning on refinishing the tubs and I was pleased to discover that most tub refinishers will also do the tile, too. The cost is about 10-15% what redoing the tile in the bathroom would ultimately cost and it usually only takes about one day.

A refinisher will come to your house and prep the tile, filling in any cracks or replacing any really damaged tiles. He then will spray a special proprietary paint using a high-pressure sprayer evenly over the whole surface. It usually takes only a day or two to dry, depending on humidity. Be forewarned, however that the process is a very stinky one — it's best to do this when the weather allows you to open the windows for ventilation.

An unforeseen bonus to the refinished tile is that the grout is painted over, too, so you never have to worry about mold and mildew again!

All in all, I'm very pleased with the results and even more pleased with the money I saved. It's like I have a brand new bathroom!

Has anyone else refinished bathroom tile? Would you recommend it?

Images: Bethany Adams