Damage to fiberglass shower units and fiberglass tubs can be very common. Often, the cause of this issue is insufficient shower/tub base support. Sometimes, the seal between the drain and the bottom of the shower is broken, allowing leaking. When this happens, you need to stop using the shower and fix the problem immediately, as the leaking water can cause more complicated and costly problems for you.
When dealing with the leaking shower pan, you are going to have a choice between replacing the entire shower unit, which often includes the walls of the shower, or doing a repair. Some issues that arise when considering repairs are:
- discoloration of the shower unit or unwanted color.
- cracks or holes that need repair
- insufficient base support
- seal between the drain and shower or tub is lost
REINFORCING THE BASE OF THE SHOWER
If the shower pan is failing, chances are you are going to need a fix for the support underneath the shower. Our method is to reinforce the bottom by injecting foam underneath which which expands and hardens like cement to support the bottom.
REMOVING DISCOLORATION OR CHANGING COLOR
If the shower unit is deeply discolored and stained, it’s possible to recondition the unit if its simply discolored from use.
It is also possible to entirely change the color of your shower unit or tub with reglazing. This is still a much more affordable option than replacing the entire fixture. Your best option is to have a professional service do it. If you want to attempt a recoating on your own, you will first need to remove all the oils and soap scum on the surface of the shower unit. Unless this step is performed thoroughly, the coat will not adhere properly. Next, you must sand the entire surface of the shower to prepare it for the new coat. It’s very important that you take the proper precautions, use a respirator and work in a properly ventilated area. Next, a special coating must be used. You can only use professional grade coatings to make sure it performs well. In order to ensure a smooth surface, a primer must be applied.
COMMON REFINISHING MISTAKES
Some possible issues that may arise when the fiberglass shower is coated improperly are bubbling of the coating or peeling of the material. This can happen when the surface of the shower is not prepared the right way before the coating is applied. This is why it is important to choose a qualified professional for your refinishing job. You don’t want to put your money “down the drain” and then have to replace the entire unit on top of that!
Sometimes it is possible to repair or replace a worn down coating. Even if you or an unqualified professional has done a poor job refinishing the tub, we may be able to fix the situation. In some cases this is still more cost effective than replacing an entire shower unit (this can cost you from $1500-$3000 at best). A full recoating by a specialist usually runs from $300-$500 and can last you years.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you are choosing to resurface your shower, you must refrain from using abrasive cleaners or leaving metal containers on the surface, as that can damage the coat. However, even in case this happens, small repairs on the coating are still cost effective, and overall your professionally refurbished shower should hold up well and give you lasting value.
CRACK REPAIRS: DIY OR PROFESSIONAL?
DIY tub repair kits for repairing small cracks are available in most big home improvement stores. These can be tempting because they run only $30. Typically these kits only contain enough material to repair very small cracks, 4 inches or smaller. You are not likely to be able to match the color of your unit effectively, and the repair is likely to be very visible. Unless you prepare the surface correctly by sanding it down and removing the oils and dirt, it is also likely to fail. Using a kit is fine if you have a very small repair and you do not care that much about perfect appearance or texture. Remember, if the base of the shower has insufficient support, it will not be enough to prevent further damage. Another issue when trying to repair the damage yourself is that the materials dry out quickly and require you to work fast, something that can be an issue if you are not prepared.
A more extensive crack and hole repair will require a special filler to repair the fiberglass surface, buffing and sanding, and a good color match for surface of the tub. If you want the surface to appear smooth and seamless, a professional can help you do an expert color match. It will be much more pleasant to look at and touch, and will ensure a better, long lasting seal. However, if you do not care that much about the appearance of the tub, you can attempt the fix yourself.
It is hardly necessary to replace an entire costly shower or tub unit over a small crack or chip repair that can be made to look seamless.
WHEN IS REPLACING YOUR SHOWER UNIT NECESSARY?
In some cases you will need to completely replace your shower unit. Rarely, the material of the shower or tub unit is not fit for sealing or recoating. A tub recoating expert can evaluate the situation for you. If there is very bad damage caused by water leakage underneath the shower, you may also need to replace the unit. This is why it is important to evaluate the situation as soon as you notice any damage!
Good As New is a fiberglass shower repair specialist in Los Angeles, Orange County and Ventura. If you have any questions about repairing your shower stall, write us a quick note over the Contact form, or give us a call at +1(800)434-9882 and we’ll give you advice and offer a quote for free!