‘Safety is our top priority’

Surface specialists can help make tubs and bathrooms safer... at affordable rate


By Jim Palmer


Most people don’t realize it, but one of the most hazardous rooms in every home is the bathroom. Roughly 234,000 injuries are reported there each year in the United States. Is your bathroom as safe as it should be? Surface Specialists Mid-Minnesota has been helping people make their bathrooms safer since 1979.


Surface Specialists can take a regular tub (top) and convert it into a cutdown tub (below) and install an acrylic wall liner. This cutdown tub has a door, so the tub can be used for a bath or a shower. Safety bars were added, along with a textured bottom for safety, and the tub was refinished to match the rest of the bathroom. Contributed photo

“We can help make your tub and bathroom safer and easier to use,” said Mark Anderson, owner of Surface Specialists Mid-Minnesota. “We provide quality bathtub repair and refinishing products and services throughout the area, and we do it in a prompt and professional manner. Safety is our top priority.”


And of those 234,000 injuries, 43,000 involve children under age 18. And 53 percent of bath injuries involve people between the ages of 25 and 64. So bathroom safety is not just about keeping grandpa and grandma safer, it is about keeping everyone safer.


“Bath safety is not only about seniors or people with disabilities,” said Anderson. “Safety is for everyone.”


The Surface Specialist team takes pride in providing the highest quality both in products and workmanship. They offer a long list of services, most of which focus on the bathroom.


Safety Tub Conversion


Maneuvering over the side of the bathtub can be a problem for many seniors. Surface Specialists can convert any bathtub into an easily accessible shower.


“For people who have a hard time getting in and out of their tub, we can make it much, much easier for them,” said Anderson.


The process involves cutting down the tub so there is walk-in access. The cutout area is 3 inches off the floor. This makes it easier to step in and out of the tub and is tall enough to keep the water inside the tub during showers. The cutout area is then refinished to match the tub. For added security, a slip resistant texture may be applied to the bathtub floor and the newly created step. The process takes a few hours to complete and can be used about 12 hours after completion.


“We can convert a bathtub-only bathroom into a full-functioning tub/shower combination without the need to contact a plumber, saving the homeowner extra money,” said Anderson.


Mark has performed this conversion on many tubs, including a conversion for one very important person… his father.


“My dad fell down at the house and was knocked unconscious. He spent three days in the hospital. My parents’ home only has a bathtub on the main floor and a shower in the basement. It is quite difficult for dad to go downstairs every time he wants to shower,” he said.


Surface Specialists can convert your bathtub into a walk-in shower, making it safer and easier to use. Contributed photo

Mark installed a bathtub cutdown with a textured bottom in their bath on the main floor. He also put in a tub wall surround, grab bars, a handheld adjustable shower assembly and a new high rise stool.


“Now dad enjoys his new bathroom and is happy that I was persistent in getting these projects done,” said Anderson.


For many, the cutdown is the perfect solution — it fixes the problem and doesn’t break the bank.


“A person could spend thousands of dollars remodeling their bathroom with weeks of not being able to use their tub. Or they can spend a few hundred dollars to convert their existing tub to a walk-in shower and have it done in just one day.”


What if you want to return it back to a full tub one day? Just save the cutout, and it can be easily refit into the cutout space. And if you want both, they can do that too.


“We can put a door in the cutout so you can use it as a shower or a bath,” said Mark. “It works great in households where one person likes to shower and one likes to take a bath.”


Homeowners can choose from a variety of grab bar options.


“Grab bars range from the standard peened stainless to elegant designer series with soap and bottle holders,” he said. “There are also grab bar and adjustable handheld shower holders in one. Grab bars can be an attractive, functional component in any bath with the finishes and styles available today.”


In additional to residential jobs, Surface Specialists has performed cutdowns in many senior housing complexes.


Bathtub Refinishing


When a bathtub, shower or sink finish is worn, a color change is desired, or damage is scattered over the entire surface, refinishing is a great option.


“We complete bathtub refinishing in approximately four to five hours, and you may begin using the surface by the next evening, saving you a significant amount of time and money,” said Anderson. “All work is performed on site in the bathroom area with absolutely no mess for you to clean up and may be completed in virtually any color.


Surface Specialists can refinish any bathtub to the color you want. This tub and surrounding tile was switched from pink to white. See the before (top) and after (below). Contributed photo

The bathtub refinishing process involves scraping, washing and applying solvents to the surface, followed by etching, neutralizing and sanding. Solvents are applied a second time followed by the undercoat and two to three coats of polyurethane coating.


The refinished surface will have a high gloss and be as durable, if not stronger, than the original surface and easy to clean.


“We fix anything from small chips or scratches to large holes,” he said. “We replace cracked or broken out tub or shower floors with a new fiberglass panel that is formed into the unit to provide an invisible repair that looks like the original tub or shower bottom.”


Mark and his crew will also explain how other options can make your tub or shower safer and easier to use.


“We install acrylic wall liners, grab bars, nonskid bottoms and handheld shower assemblies to existing showers and tubs,” he said.


Other Services


In addition to the services listed above, Surface Specialists also offers bathroom repair, countertop repair, bathware accessories, jetting of bathtubs, whirlpool jet repair, glass scratch removal, vinyl window repair, spa and pool repair and much more.


Warranty


“We are committed to providing the highest quality both in our products and worksmanship,” said Anderson.


Surface Specialists offers a full warranty on all their work, including a five-year warranty on residential refinishing, a 10-year warranty on the door seal and a 100 percent customer satisfaction guarantee.


“We are the authorized warranty repair service for more than 30 manufacturers and also do work for plumbers, contractors and apartment management companies,” said Anderson.


And they are working hard to keep offering what the customer wants and needs.


“We hear great feedback and comments from our survey cards,” he said. “We give each customer a survey card as part of our quality control to ensure that we are providing the high quality service our customers expect.”


For Anderson and his team, taking care of their customers and giving them exactly what they need is very rewarding.


“When we do the same job for different customers every day we don’t realize how much of a difference we are making in their lives,” said Mark. “We help them remain independent in their own home. Sometimes it takes a more personal experience to put it all into perspective, and then we see what a difference we really make.”


If you would like to learn how Surface Specialists can help make your bathroom safer and more accessible, call 320-398-2015. To learn more about the services of Surface Specialists Mid-Minnesota, visit their website at www.surfacespecialists.com/KimballMN.htm.


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