Can Bathroom Tile Be Refinished? (Pros & Cons of Reglazing)

August 14, 2022

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Are you in the market for a bathroom tile installation in your home but are concerned about the price? In many cases, new tile is well worth that investment! One reason is that old tile might risk water leaks and resultant damage. Two, outdated tile might be slick and unsafe underfoot.

However, homeowners might still want to consider reglazing or painting rather than full-scale bathroom tile installation. Before you do, consider the pros and cons of this process. Next, discuss them with a tiling expert or renovation contractor near you. This will ensure you make the right choice for your home’s bathroom!

Can bathroom tile be reglazed?

First, note that reglazing is any “touchup” of a tile’s appearance, including painting, adding fresh gloss, and so on. Second, reglazing is not an option for chipped, cracked, or otherwise damaged and broken tiles. In these cases, it’s best to replace those tiles altogether.

Also, reglazing can improve the appearance of grout between tiles. However, it won’t correct worn and peeling grout and adhesive! If your tiles need more than just a touchup of their appearance, consider full-scale retiling.

new tile installation for a bathroom

Consequently, note that reglazing offers an updated look for tile that’s in good condition but simply outdated. Also, reglazing can also offer some extra waterproofing protection. As with many home improvement projects, you’ll need to consider some important reminders before diving in!

First, invest in an actual reglazing kit, or ensure you use paint meant for ceramic or other smooth surfaces. Second, you’ll want to keep the exhaust fan running, for proper ventilation. Third, the tile should be clean and dry before reglazing, so consider using another shower for a day or two!

Many reglazing kits include cleaning equipment and materials to prepare tiles properly. If not, you’ll probably want to sand the tile surfaces with a fine grit sandpaper. Next, scrub the tiles thoroughly and rinse completely. Ensure you’ve removed all grit and soap residues.

Lastly, allow the tiles to dry completely. You can take this time to apply painter’s tape to areas around tile edges as if painting any surface. Apply the paint, glaze, gloss, or other material per package directions and let dry thoroughly.

How do you refresh old bathroom tiles?

Before reglazing or painting tiles, give them a thorough cleaning! One trick is to coat them with thick toilet bowl cleaner and let it sit for several minutes before scrubbing. Two, try watered down hydrogen peroxide and spray this on the tile, to remove surface stains.

To address rust or hard water stains, try a cleanser designed for these in particular. When scrubbing, turn on the hot water and let the shower fill with steam. This can help loosen dirt and grime trapped in all those pits and pores along tile surfaces.

Also, consider removing dirty or moldy grout and replacing it with new grout. Bright, white grout can renew tile appearance quickly and easily. Additionally, you might consider repainting the rest of the bathroom. You might be surprised at how fresh paint can improve the appearance of surrounding tile!

Cost to resurface shower tile

As with any home improvement project, shower resurfacing costs depend on the size of the shower and materials chosen. In many cases, you can find kits for a standard-sized tub for as little as $100. Higher-quality paints, fresh grout, and other materials might increase those costs to over $1000.

Considering these costs, you might still be asking if reglazing bathroom tile is worth it. The short answer is yes! Reglazing or painting tile supplies a fresh new look for your bathroom. Also, paint especially can cover tough stains or discoloration. In turn, your bathroom will look cleaner and more stylish when you choose to reglaze.

Retile versus reglazing: Which to choose

While reglazing allows you to update tile instantly and affordably, it’s not always the right option! Instead, consider replacing broken, chipped, or otherwise damaged tile. Also, retiling allows you to pull out and replace worn-out and unsightly grout.

Additionally, remember that reglazing adds some waterproofing but doesn’t correct water damage. Removing old tile allows a contractor to repair or replace rotted framing, drywall, and other materials. Also, a contractor might want to add a new waterproof barrier behind that wall during this project.

Moreover, consider if you might sell your home sometime in the near future. If so, potential buyers might appreciate new tile rather than painted or reglazed tile. Advertising your new waterproof barrier and repaired framing can also make your home more desirable! Consequently, you might get back some of your retiling costs with increased interest from buyers.

In addition to retiling, you might consider a renovation if the tub and other fixtures are old and unsightly. Replacing that tub with a shower kit is an affordable, quick update! A bathroom contractor can also note if it’s time to replace fixtures and how to do it on a budget.

When is it time to schedule a bathroom renovation?

Sometimes retiling is a better option than tile reglazing, as said. In the same way, sometimes a full renovation is better than a few “touchups” in your home’s bathroom! Consider when and why you might schedule a remodeling project for your bathroom space:

  • A renovation might create usable, accessible storage. In turn, you can stay organized, keep things separate in a shared bath, and have items close at hand.
  • Damaged floor tiles create a slipping hazard in a bathroom. Consequently, your contractor might recommend replacing them along with any damaged subflooring. This ensures a safe surface for your home.
  • A full-scale renovation can include low-flow fixtures, LED lighting, and other energy-efficient features. In turn, you might save money on your utility costs while conserving water and energy!
  • New tile and paint, a new vanity, and other features can sometimes run into thousands of dollars. Consequently, you might end up paying almost as much for those “touchups” as you would a full renovation. In that case, talk to a contractor about your remodeling options.

Above all, remember that a bathroom space should work for you and your family and add value to your home. If any bathroom is extremely outdated and inconvenient to use, consider investing in a renovation!

Rhode Island Bathroom Remodeling is happy to provide this information about bathroom tile installation to our readers. Hopefully, you found it useful! If you’re ready for a change, call our Rhode Island bathroom remodeling contractors. We’ll schedule a FREE consultation and help you decide on changes needed to create the bathroom of your dreams.


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