Is tile reglazing a good option?

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Jul 01, 2011 | Steve Graham

umberto/stock.xchngWe love do-it-yourself home projects. We also love recycling and repurposing products. Therefore, we should be big fans of DIY tile reglazing, but we don’t recommend it.

Reglazing is the process of refreshing the surface of faded or aging tile to a shiny new luster.

Unfortunately, a poor reglazing job may end up looking worse than the dull tile you want to upgrade. Reglazing is best left to skilled and experienced specialists, and only where expensive, high-quality tile remains in fairly good condition and just needs a facelift. Otherwise, good new tiles are quite cheap. If any tiles are loose, missing or cracked, you are better off replacing the whole set than reglazing.

Here is a step-by-step guide to reglazing, but you should consider this a warning rather than a tutorial.

How to reglaze

1. Thoroughly clean the tile and grout. Also remove all caulk with a silicone digesting compound. Any remaining caulk can ruin the appearance of the new glaze. 

2. Etch the surface with acid paste. Be very careful when working with the acid. Wear gloves, long sleeves and eye protection, and work carefully to avoid spreading acid onto other surfaces.

3. Brush or spray on a high-quality epoxy primer. Make sure to evenly reach every part of the tiled surface.

4. Spray on the urethane glazing resin. The resin can be tinted in custom colors, but this means all your tile and grout must now be a uniform color. No more patterned or multicolored tile. The resin takes three days to cure, so the surface cannot be touched or used for 72 hours.

5. Add a final polyurethane clear coat.

If this all sounds daunting, you’re not alone. You are likely better off hiring an experienced professional. When hiring out the job, be sure to check references and, if possible, look at previous reglazing jobs.

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