First let's talk about what is restorable and what is not. A cracked toilet or any other plumbing fixture that is made of glazed china cannot be restored. Cast iron fixtures such as tubs and sinks can be cleaned up or covered over but rarely restored. When a cast iron fixture is manufactured the enamel finish is applied in a powder form and heated to hundreds of degrees, there are only a hand full of companies that can actually restore baked on enamel finishes and they must do that on their site, in their oven. I suppose that would be an option if you were fortunate enough to live near one of those companies. That being said let's talk about what we can do. Brass plumbing parts; faucets, drain trim and such, can be restored, finishes can be re-plated, washers and gaskets can be replaced. So, if an item is valued enough and you have the money, an old faucet can be made new again. Most people will usually opt to replace an old fixture with a new "retro" one. But more often than not what is usually wanted is to just make that great old faucet work well again. In most cases that can be accomplished for less money than replacing the fixture. It will often take some time and a little patience, but after all, it's a great old faucet.
Now we can talk about those special old bathroom sinks (lavatories, in plumber speak) that are paired as a set with faucets that are made to fit only that sink. When one of those sinks, or faucets goes bad you stand to lose both, and sometimes this means the whole bathroom can be affected. It can be a real budget buster to have to remodel an entire bath room because you can't live with new white pedestal lavatory next to your "Champaign Pink" one piece toilet. If the faucet on such a set is the problem, repair is usually possible, if the sink is broken or chipped badly, repair is not so likely.
You can probably see by all of this that if you live in a well preserved old house and you want to keep that Blue or Pink bathroom that is in such good shape, a little preventative maintenance is very much in order. So when the faucet starts to drip, or the toilet begins to run a bit, move quickly. This can be the difference between replacing a washer and replacing a bathroom.
Smith Brothers Plumbing stands ready to help you, wherever you may find yourself in the whole "old plumbing fixture" adventure. Repair, replace, restore or remodel, we have you covered.