Affordable Remodeling Options: When to Refinish vs. When to Replace

Refinishing can be a quick and affordable way to update your home.

As the real estate industry continues to recover, homeowners find themselves in an increasingly competitive market. In order to stand out from the crowd, more and more consumers are turning to remodeling. Not only does remodeling help homeowners put their own stamp on their new pad—it also gives them a leg up on the competition if they are eventually planning to sell.

But remodeling your home can be expensive, and replacing old fixtures, countertops and more can add up. That means homeowners are turning to alternative—and affordable—options like refinishing. The industry is booming as homeowners look to update their homes in a less expensive manner.

Miracle Method, the largest kitchen and bath refinishing company in the nation, boasts over 135 franchisees across the country. The company specializes in the restoration of outdated tubs, countertops and ceramic tile, using their proprietary product to refinish homes.

Longtime Miracle Method franchisee and construction industry veteran Ted Fisher says refinishing is a great option for homeowners looking to update their kitchens and bathrooms, the rooms that “sell a home.” But refinishing can also be utilized for other tiled areas of the home including fireplace hearths or entryways.

For the large territory spanning parts of New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts that Fisher’s Miracle Method’s serves, the bulk of their work is on outdated kitchen and baths as clients looking to bring their space from the 1970’s to modern day.

In suburban Boston, many would-be swanky condos are covered in pink, green and brown tile, which were all popular in the 1970’s when development in the area was booming. Now, homeowners are looking for a more neutral color tones without the expense or inconvenience associated with a large, traditional remodeling project.

Fisher says that when many of these homes and condominiums were built, tubs and showers were installed as one-piece units. Now, in order to replace the carefully in-laid tile or tub, remodelers would need to use a jackhammer to cut into the wall. That then means re-installing multi-piece units, which leaves more silicone joints exposed and more places to get dirty. Instead, refinishing can add 20 to30 years of use to your countertops, tiles or tub.

When it comes to foregoing the refinishing option in lieu of complete replacement, Fisher says it rarely happens.

“There aren’t many cases where I would say homeowners can’t utilize the option of refinishing in their remodeling projects. The only reason we would recommend not to refinish a tub or tile is if it’s in such bad shape that it just needs to be replaced,” he shares. “If the tile or tub is really damaged, that’s the only case where we would not recommend refinishing.”

As for the best time to take on a refinishing project, Fisher says that the right time is when the client is motivated. That often happens before the holidays when homeowners are entertaining and before the busy spring and fall home selling seasons.

Refinishing is all about adding value to your home, making your space your own and getting the highest possible return on investment. Fisher says the biggest obstacle in the industry is people not knowing about refinishing services. But as the housing market gets more competitive and savvy, homeowners are doing their research and growing the business.