I can't speak to the professional type service that you're asking about, but
a DIY is possible, has to be darn inexpensive, and can last for years.
Here's what I've seen:
Unbeknownst to me, when I bought my last house, the porcelain tub and
ceramic tile in the shower had simply been painted with a two-part epoxy
paint. A totally-groovy '70s looking tile pattern had been covered with a
reasonably acceptable (boring) brown color that matched the existing floor
At a glance, you really couldn't tell that it had just been painted.
Certainly under close inspection, it was obvious and as the house settled,
there were some spots at the corners where the tile had become stressed and
the paint had cracked. Some joints, also showed small signs of cracking and
blistering, but I'd bet that these were caused by the grout having been
dirty or wet when it was painted.
All in all, whoever did the original work, did a pretty good job and it had
lasted for at least 10 years possibly 15+. Ironically, in going through
some old junk that had been left in a garage storage cabinet, I found the
two cans that had originally been used; one clear epoxy and the other brown
paint. I stirred them up, mixed according to the instructions, and did
quite a bit of touch up. My work didn't look as good as the original. All
I had was a foam-type brush and when it dried, you could see some streaks.
A good painter with the right tools, could do this and make it look more
professional as had been done originally.
In short, the answers to your questions are yes, no and yes....here's why.
We had our 40-year old built in cast iron/porcelain tub reglazed about a
year ago. It was full of scratches and very dull. They came in and super
cleaned it (to the point where I realized that given the right cleaning
tools it almost didn't need the refinish) then sprayed it with some type of
refinish. It was guaranteed for 5 years and cost around $350. We couldn't
use it for three-four days but it looked beautiful, really like new. Several
months later the finish peeled and flaked off in several areas around the
drain, which they attributed to either a leak or improper cleaning products.
They came back in and stripped it again and we are waiting for them to
return and refinish it again (we are in the process of adding a new
bathroom, and want to wait until the new tub is ready for use before having
to relinquish the old one for several days.) So I can't say I recommend the
reglazing, though it cost less than installing a new tub and I don't much
like the look of the "refit" fiberglass ones. The list of cleaning products
that you can use on the new surface is very small and you can't use "clean
shower" or anything with bleach, which makes it difficult to clean the
surrounding tile since the product might drip into the tub and strip the
surface. We use bon ami cleanser ("never scratched yet.") I also have two
small boys who take long baths full of toys that may have scratched the
surface. In any case, since it's guaranteed they will resurface it again for
free and then we will commence using the new tub and hope the next refinish
job lasts longer than eight months.
Best of luck
Others' mileage may vary, but they have a poor reputation in the
remodelling industry. I've seen enough problems with resurfacing
that I will not do it in a remodel, I have to stand behing my work. A
new tub, new faucets and a tile surround is perhaps twice the cost.
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