How do you repair a bathtub?

Bathtub repair services

Before we answer that question, ‘How do you repair a bathtub?’, let’s explore another question: “What would cause a bathtub to leak?”. A bathtub is relatively a solid piece of either metal or a heavy, thick plastic-type material, so what could make it leak? If one can leak, is there such a thing as bathtub repair?

First, there is such a thing as bathtub repair and refinish. It is common among older houses that are being restored to have a bathtub repair and refinished. What could cause a bathtub to leak, though? Well, there could be several reasons:

  • A Drain leak – the drain fitting, surrounding drain, and drain-trap piping could be loose and dripping water beneath the bathtub. These leaks can become silently serious because the water is hidden and causing mildew, mold, and wood rot.
  • Faucet leaks – any of the components for the water supply can wear out over time. The faucet spout, valve, the showerhead, or the connections for the water supply in the wall can develop a leak. The faucet or showerhead dripping isn’t an urgent matter other than it is causing an increase in the water bill and wasting water. The leaking pipes behind the wall are another matter, though for the same reasons we mentioned above.
  • Caulk and grout leaks – These are common leaks and happens when the caulk and grout wear away, developing cracks and gaps. The showerhead water and splashing from the tub infiltrate the walls, and mildew, mold, rot, and other issues take hold. If these cracks and gaps go unnoticed, the damage can be extensive and expensive, more than just bathtub repair, but structural repair too.
  • Bathtub Liners – this is not a common scenario, but it happens when the bathtub body develops cracks or holes, and water leaks directly through the body or sides and into the floor or wall. This is usually with a cheap acrylic or fiberglass tubs. Rarely does this happen with a porcelain or steel tub. In this case, a bathtub repair expert can do a bathtub repair and refinish to fix the problem. With the acrylic or fiberglass tub between a bathtub repair or replacement, replacement is usually the only option.  

Will a chipped bathtub leak?

It can depend on two factors:

  1. Where is the chip located
  2. How big and deep the chip is

A chip along the top edge of the bathtub won’t leak because it is not where water is held. A simple bathtub repair job for cosmetic purposes is all that is needed. You can purchase a kit at any local home improvement store and fix that yourself. However, along the sides and then in the bottom, yes, if deep enough, it can leak. While you can purchase a kit and supplies to do your own bathtub repair, you may need to consult with an expert, especially if a bathtub is a porcelain or enameled steel.

How do you reseal a bathtub?

This isn’t a difficult task, but resealing a bathtub is time-consuming. You want to do this when the bathtub won’t be needed for a day.  Following these steps will get your bathtub repair and resealed and looking good again: 

  • Remove old silicone: Using a utility knife, create two cuts, one at the top and one at the bottom edge. Using a screwdriver, wedge it up the silicone and gently pull, then using a scraper, remove the bits and strips that are stuck to the bath and/or tiles.
  • Use a mold remover or white spirit to clean the area, then allow it to dry for two to three hours. 
  • Fill the bath to give it the heaviest weight or bathtub repair and reseal will pull loose again. Using masking tape along the wall, create a straight edge to place the seal along. Then using a caulking gun, spread the sealant along, following the straight edge you created and work around the gap slowly. 
  • Next, with a wet finger, smear the sealant along the gap to smooth it out. Using a damp rag or paper towel remove any excess off your finger. Allow the sealant to partially dry then remove the masking tape when the sealant is slightly hardened, yet still pliable. Your bathtub repair and reseal is now complete!

How long after a sealing bath can I use it?

The curing times for sealant varies between brands and manufacturers. We always recommend it is always to read and follow the instructions. Sealants will often seem to be dry in just an hour or two, but the minimum recommended curing time is twenty-four hours.

bathtub against a stone wall inlay

Is a bathtub leak covered by homeowner’s insurance?

Homeowner’s insurance policies can be confusing when it comes to determining what it covers and what isn’t, and every policy is different. Because water damage from leaking pipes and other plumbing matters has the potential to become a disaster and cost thousands of dollars in bathtub repair, floor, and wall repairs or replacements. 

A snapshot and rule of thumb what type of water damage a homeowner’s insurance policy covers would be: If an accident like a busted pipe, the insurance will help with damage repair. Water damage because of general wear and tear or from poor maintenance, such as water pipe that has been leaking or if there is flooding from outside, the homeowners will not cover. 

The bathtub is an important part of your bathroom, and it holds a significant amount of water. Even a shower uses a large amount of water. If there is a leak in any of the areas discussed here, from the smallest crack or gap in the caulk to an actual hole, the damage that water can cause can be a major expense if not addressed.

When you need bathtub repair in West Los Angeles, CA, dial (310) 454-2010 to get started with our experts!