There comes a time for many homeowners when it's time to draw a line and decide not to renovate any further. As a Realtor, I often caution seller clients against over-renovating. That is, renovations that cost more than the owner can hope to recuperate from a sale. Obviously, if an owner plans to stay in a home for years, there must be some consideration of the value of their own enjoyment of their renovations, but for someone (like us) who planned from the beginning to move again in a few years, it is best to draw a line sooner.
For us, that time came two years ago when we installed new flooring. At that point, we had renovated the kitchen, replaced the flooring and upgraded all the electrical and plumbing. I knew that if we continued, we would not see a huge difference on resale and so we stopped. This was very difficult, since we really wanted a perfectly finished home but I followed the same advice I would give to my clients.
We had some original built-in vanities in the washrooms and I changed the pulls and painted them to spruce them up but changing them would have been a larger job (think, replacing tile underneath) and would have involved a full bathroom reno. I would have LOVED to have done the bathrooms but they were in pretty good condition so we painted walls and vanities, changed the mirror and light fixtures, used accessories to make the colour scheme look as if it were "on purpose," and added a waterfall faucet purchased for a song on ebay.
Despite all our work, I couldn't get over the chips in our sink but a replacement would have meant replacing the counter and that would mean the rest of the vanity and then the tiles... you get the picture. I know they always say not to attempt reglazing on your own, and I would agree for a large scale project; but for a couple of little chips, I prefer the DIY route.
Here's my step-by-step guide to how the magic happened. Although, I go into detail, trust me when I say that this is easy and probably takes about 40 minutes... once you get home from Home Depot and put away the new tools your boyfriend just bought. :) I can't stress enough that you shouldn't be afraid of this. I have ZERO hand-eye coordination and yet I still managed to pull this off. I seriously doubt that you could ruin your sink by trying this so you really have nothing to lose!
You will need:
- Porcelain filler and a tinted glaze
- Medium to fine and fine sandpaper. I used 240 and 320 grit
- Paper towels
How I did it:
- I wandered into Home Depot with Corey looking for some sort of "reglazing substance." I think I embarrassed Corey with my naivety and I must have sounded ridiculous trying to explain the mythical substance I was looking for. To Corey's disbelief, I was vindicated and I am actually very proud because I insisted that they must make something for people who want to reglaze their own sinks. In the end, I was right. I will gloat about this forever because usually, Corey is the one teaching me this kind of thing.
- They sell this stuff called PORC-a-FIX (below.) I wish I had more details but I threw out the box. I do recall that for deeper cracks, you buy a filler and then you buy a tinted glaze for the top. This is what we did.
- If your crack is shallow, they say that you can get away with just the glaze. They come in over a dozen shades and they all look like white. We ended up buying 6 and returning 5 after taking them home and lining them up by the sink.
- These photos are taken after the filler but before the top coat. You can still see where the cracks were. In these photos, we're touching up areas around the flange (which we decided not to change when we realized it was pretty stuck to our sink) but we touched up small cracks in other places as well.
- First, remove the drain cover so that only the metal flange is exposed. You may need to sand away some rust at this point, depending on the condition of the cracks. Then wash the sink and dry it well. When you think it's totally dry, dab a fresh paper towel around the flange until it is completely dry. Trust me, it will really screw you up (and by that, I mean that it will be so annoying and you'll need to start over) if there is still moisture in the sink!
- Now spread a coat of the filler (or glaze, if your cracks are shallow) and paint it on like you're doing your nails.
- Let it dry for 25 minutes.
- Now sand, beginning with the medium-fine paper (I used 240 since that's what came out of the bag of sandpaper that Corey happened to have in the front closet. Yes, we have lots of goodies around here.)
- When the surface is even, switch to the fine paper (320 in this case) and buff it using a circular motion. If this is the filler layer, make sure you sand enough that there is a slight negative space for your glaze layer to fill.
- If you just used the filler, wipe the dust with a damp cloth and dry the area again. Be thorough, like your life depended on it.
- Now it's time to paint the glaze (hopefully, you selected the right shade) over the filler. Again, it's exactly like applying nail polish.
- Now dry, dry, dry and sand, sand, sand.
- Clean, clean, clean and pop your drain cover back on.
Presto! You now have a presentable sink which cost about $30 and less than an hour of time!
Corey has found a discrepancy with my Home Depot story and I don't want to end up writing a retraction so I would like to clarify a couple of things:
1. Corey thinks the reglazing was actually his idea.
2. This did not remind him at all of applying nail polish.
3. He is ALWAYS right about this sort of thing. ;)