I have been reading with interest the discussions posted here about Bath Fitter and how to redo a bathroom. We have had experience with re-glazing (painting) ceramic tiles and have recently begun looking at having Bath Fitter and Re-Bath redo a bathroom.
Our experience is that we would not re-glaze ceramic tile again. We had two bathrooms done this way by a very good craftsman. Now, 10 years later, the tile outside the shower still looks great, but the shower is peeling. Most people find that they get much less time than this. Our guy prepped the surfaces very, very well and did a quality job. I have no complaints on the job, but this is basically painting your tile. If its going to get wet repeatedly it won't hold up for long. Most people I've talked with get 2 to 3 years before it starts to peel, sometimes a lot less if the person did a poor job of prepping the site.
We had both Re-Bath and Bath Fitters come to give us an estimate on our current project - covering the shower that is peeling so badly. Re-Bath's estimate was almost 2x what I was expecting. However, two different people I work with have had them do bathrooms for them and they are absolutely thrilled with them.
Bath Fitter also gave us an estimate and it was about $2500 less than Re-Bath. Each of them told us how their product was better than their competitor's, and both salesmen were very courteous and professional.
We checked references and called the Better Business Bureau. Re-Bath had no complaints in the last 3 years, Bath Fitter had 4, with 1 still unresolved. Both companies have been in business here for over 15 years.
We visted both company's showrooms. Re-Bath's finished product looked wonderful. Bath Fitter's showroom didn't have any finished samples. Specifically, the edges of their surrounds are finished with a trim piece. Their showroom samples were missing these pieces. They said it was because they needed to mount doors onto these samples so that they could transport them to shows. Otherwise, their products also looked very good.
Fortunately, Bath Fitters gave us the name of a woman in our neighborhood that they used for a reference. She invited us to come see her bathrooms (she had two done). She is very happy with them and has had them for several years.
The bathrooms still looked like they had just been finished - i.e. the acrylic is still very nice and shinny. She said she only cleans using KaBoom, a recommended cleaner.
However, when we looked at the trim finish around the edges of the surround we were very turned off. The workmanship was very poor and, even if it had been done well, it still would look like plastic trim pieces around the shower or tub area.
Basically that visit clenched it for us. We are calling Re-Bath on Monday to schedule our bathroom. The downsides with them are the cost and an 8 week wait (compared to 2 weeks with Bath Fitter). However, we do not think we would be satisfied with the finish of the Bath Fitter units.
I will try to follow-up with this post when ours is installed in mid-September. My wife and I did a lot of research on having the bathroom redone, so if you have some specific questions on things we found please email me and I'll be glad to share our experiences. I'm not a home repair expert, but we have done a descent amount of remodeling on a few homes.
I guess my parting recommendation is to thoroughly check out the local companies. That seems to be a big key in whether or not they do a good job. If you don't mind the plastic trim, Bath Fitters might be the deal for you. In our area they are much less expensive.