BathFitter reviews to share?
March 3, 2011 9:29 AM   Subscribe

Ever used BathFitter? Give us your impressions and help us catapult our bathroom out of the 60's!

We bought a house built in 1964 and it came with this hallway bathroom - pink walls, seafoam-green tub, brown tiles.
Tub pictures here and here.

It's a neapolitan! That you poop in!

We want to update it. We're going for what will make the most visual impact with a middle-of-the-road kind of budget. I thought BathFitter would take care of the tub and its tiles in one fell swoop, but I'm concerned about the quality and durability. Seems like it might be ghetto.

Anyone ever gone with BathFitter, or had a friend that did, and have experiences/impressions to share?
posted by GardenGal to Home & Garden (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I think my old apartment had this or something like this installed. Our shower/bath never seemed like it was sitting snugly in place; if you ever shuffled your feet, the tub floor would rise to meet you. So there was always a vaguely unpleasant feeling when you stepped back down like you were going to sink into the abyss.

But I think that kind of thing would be avoided with a well-monitored install.

With a green tub, you may want to watch this.
posted by phunniemee at 9:54 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I work for a company that uses the same supplier as Bath Fitter. The prices are very high. You'll probably end up spending much more than you intended, or should, using them as a bath remodeler. And considering the age of your home, you might have to deal with rotten wood, replacing sheet rock, etc. Go ahead and get the quote from them, but also contact the competition, including Lowe's, Costco, etc.
posted by litnerd at 9:57 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I haven't ever used Bathfitter, but my impression of them is pretty bad--low quality, shoddy workmanship, future nightmares. And they're not that inexpensive.

I love the tub; replacing the tile wouldn't be very expensive at all. Tile is an easy DIY job. Painting is super easy.

Look at Apartment Therapy for some really cool vintage bathroom makeovers and inspirations for your neapolitan.
posted by Kronur at 10:01 AM on March 3, 2011

Seconding the above. I have a 70 year-old house, and we considered a similar company. For less than the price you would pay them, you could do a lot of the work yourself. It's less than the $8,000 i finally spent to have mine completely redone, but you'll pay again in a couple of years because it simply doesn't last as long.
posted by brownrd at 10:02 AM on March 3, 2011

Best answer: Yes, I've used Bath Fitter. I had a similar 2-tone pink bathroom scenario in a 1920s house. I used Bath Fitter to give the bathroom an updated look as I was listing the house for sale. In the month after I had it done, it felt cheap and I felt I'd wasted a couple thousand dollars that I could've put toward a real remodel, or that I should've just skipped it altogether. The corners never seemed to fit exactly right, and I didn't like the inexact way joints covering the vinyl edges were dealt with in the corners.

I think you should either rock the Neapolitan as others suggest, or look into the tile covering enamel (like a paint, maybe it is actually a paint?) that I've seen in a couple of houses. I think it's a spray application, and probably not something you could easily do yourself without specialized equipment. It goes over ceramic tiles and grout, but the appearance of the tiles and grout are still there. It's like a thick layer of icing is put over them. Not sure if this can be applied over tubs or not.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 10:09 AM on March 3, 2011

Best answer: Omigod I love your tub right now.

However, I rent an apartment in which the bathroom was obviously done by a similar service - that is, the tub I stand in is pretty obviously just a shell over something underneath it. As people mentioned above, when you step around in the shower, you can feel the shell move up and down with you - you'll step down and feel the shell go down an extra centimeter, or feel it come up with your foot for the same. All in all, it isn't that big of a bother. And it actually looks pretty nice and is really easy to clean.
posted by CharlieSue at 10:20 AM on March 3, 2011

Best answer: Redoing the tile is well within the DIY abilities for anybody with two opposable thumbs. Pick up a home improvement how-to book at Home Depot and go for it. And please, in this world of homogenized white and off white bathrooms, please think three times before you replace that glorious tub.
posted by COD at 10:22 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

You can even change the color of your bathtub. There are companies that do this. Some friends had their old white tub turned dark blue.
posted by mareli at 10:22 AM on March 3, 2011

Like phunniemee's clip; I don't hate a colored bathroom.

I like the color of your tile. I was wondering if you could have the tub glazed to match or complement the tile?

There's a company called Custom Glaze that's around; maybe that would be worth investigating.
posted by AuntieRuth at 10:23 AM on March 3, 2011

I think I would repaint the walls to something that approximated the color of the tiles, replace the toilet and sink if necessary, and then see if the tub stills looks that bad to you. Maybe three hundred bucks total.
posted by Old Geezer at 10:23 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: We just did a bathroom remodel inspired by our harvest-gold tub and almost-matching fiberglass-panel surround. (the "almost" was the worst part!) We considered doing a liner-type solution, but after a few quotes (BathFitter was not one of them) and looking intently at some photos, decided that wasn't what we wanted - a little too plastic-bubble. As phunniemee says, there are often issues with the liner not sticking down right and being forever a little bit springy. One of the most subtly gross hotel bathrooms I ever stayed in had a lined tub with a little leak that squirted out muddy-looking water when you stepped in. Despite liner-installers assurances that this is just the result of a poor install and not the kind of thing that would ever happen when they were on the job, in the end I didn't want to risk it. Especially since our tub itself was a nice-quality cast-iron thing with just a color problem.
Instead we had the tub re-enameled (by Miracle Method, if that matters - it seemed that franchise quality was reliably fine, while local contractors could be better or much much worse, and we decided not to gamble) and knew we wanted a surround installed went back and forth between doing it ourselves or not, and in the end had the Miracle Method guys do it. Happy enough with the result. Enameled surface stood up to a month of remodeling and after 3 months of regular life looks like just a normal white bathtub.
Tip for re-enameling: No matter what your well-intentioned father in law's logic is about getting better-looking finished edges by installing the floor after the tub is painted, do the tub last, or you'll be terrified of scuffing it up by dropping tools on it or hitting it while installing baseboards.
posted by aimedwander at 10:39 AM on March 3, 2011

Best answer: Chiming back in to say that we used an epoxy-type Rustoleum product to re-surface our cultured marble sink in the master bathroom for about $20.00. (I absolutely hated the color, but wanted to save for a full counter-top redo later.) If you hate the color of the tub, the same product would definitely provide a fix until you can replace completely. I learned a lot from using that product, so if you go that way, me-mail me for tips.

(We used this product. You can see the countertop before and after, and I wrote about the process too.)
posted by Kronur at 10:50 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Agreeing with the "it looks cheap" folks. We have one that was done before we bought our place, and it's awful to clean plus the tub plug does not actually fit.
posted by JoanArkham at 11:54 AM on March 3, 2011

Response by poster: phunniemee that is HILARIOUS! Definitely going to have to look up more of that show. I love British TV.
litnerd I hadn't realized there was competition - good to know. We're already Costco members, too.
Kronur thanks for the links! I've been interested in that product and will be contacting you if we decide to go that route. :)

Thanks everyone else for the experience input. Sounds like your experience is exactly what I'm scared of - even those of you that didn't find it that bad. If I'm paying $2k I want it *perfect.* :)

And thanks for everyone who psyched me up about painting/redoing the tile the right way. I'm scared of retiling the walls because of having to remove and re-greenboard the whole surround after knocking down the old tiles, and the dire threat of what-if-I-don't-waterproof-right-and-the-house-rots-and-falls-down. It seems like a ginormously daunting project. But I'm very DIY and will probably end up going ahead and doing it right after all y'all's input! If nothing else, it will make for some amusing blog posts.

Also, I don't hate the tub color. I find it amusing. But I do hate the pasty brown tiles and the way they look with the tub. I had actually thought that if at least the tiles were white, we could rock the tub color with a border of seafoam glass subway tiles, or maybe a backsplash behind the pedestal sink we're going to get, or something.

I can totally dig a white/seafoam bath. But my designer-fu is FAR to weak to pull off a Neapolitan.
posted by GardenGal at 12:03 PM on March 3, 2011

Nthing the re-enamelers here. That tub is a nice shape and looks to be roomy. I don't mind the tiles (even though they may make your eyes burn and water) and they look to be in great shape for an almost 50-year-old house. And paint the walls. You're not far from fabulous.
posted by Work to Live at 12:05 PM on March 3, 2011

After reading the above responses, I must have had the greatest Bathfitter installer in the U.S. I had a 1910's era home with a smaller than average sized bath tub that couldn't be replaced. The tub was shot along with the walls. I contacted Bathfitter and the man came out and took all the measurements of the tub and the surrounding walls. After a couple of weeks, he returned with an exact replacement of the tub along with the surround. He installed it in one day, no muss, no fuss.
This was done approximately 10 years ago.
posted by JohnE at 12:18 PM on March 3, 2011

Best answer: I have no personal experience with BathFitter, but I have some relevant info. For some unknown reason, one of our incoming phone lines at my part-time job occasionally crosses with the customer service line for BathFitter. The phone numbers aren't similar; I don't know why this happens. But once or twice a month, we get noxious phone calls from very irate people complaining about their new bathrooms.

Assuming that only a tiny fraction of their incoming phone calls get misrouted to us, there are a lot of very unhappy BathFitters customers out there.
posted by workerant at 12:25 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Love the green tub! Have you heard of Save the Pink Bathrooms? They are dedicated to saving not just pink but other unusal colors as well. I would err on the side of keeping it.

Consumer Affairs has a lot of complaints about BathFitters. I thought there were some on the Consumerist too, but I can't seem to find them now.
posted by IndigoRain at 6:12 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I love your tub also! I have a late Art Deco apartment that's mostly been sympathetically maintained, but the previous owner pulled out the pink bathroom and replaced it with an all white one. The new bathroom is sleek and modern, but I bet the old one could've been fabulous.

I really like the idea of white (or maybe off-white/cream?) tiles with a seafoam border tile. That should modernise the room whilst still keeping some of that great vintage feel. You could also do a pattern like this with tiny seafoam tiles at the joins.

IndigoRain, that site is great.
posted by Georgina at 6:55 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: All right, you guys have utterly convinced me. I'll keep the tub color and do the tile myself. Maybe in the same vintage pattern, even, but with glass seafoam and ceramic white. I love that pattern you linked too, Georgina - maybe for when we update the floor (blah beige-pink porcelain tile done in the 90's). IndigoRain, that's one crazy site! I got a lot of laughs. :)

I found this kitchen that really celebrates Seafoam (though theirs is more turquoise than mine): and I could see carrying through some of those concepts.

Thanks everyone, for saving me and my vintage tub from a bad decision!
posted by GardenGal at 6:28 AM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Got a 'new bath' through Bathfitter in 2009. Doesn't feel ghetto. We had to because a) our 1908 bathtub was leeching lead, making baths into lead soup, and b) our lovely 1908 subway tiled shower leaked gallons into the dining room.

First installer was not so great and created a new leak. Contacted them and they re-did it. Second installer was good, but there are still little spots where it could've been better. In hindsight, it feels like a lot of money for some plastic.

Also, they use a lot of perfectly color-matched caulk -- during the course of normal use, lint & crap sticks to it and you have to rub with a wipe to clean it. I'm always afraid I'm going to dislodge it.

My feeling about them is it's fine if you *have* to. I wanted our problems to go away quickly without me having to do it, and it fit the bill.

I think, if you're just wanting something prettier, you could do something cheaper yourself that would make you happier.
posted by MeiraV at 8:20 AM on March 5, 2011

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