Bathtub Refinishing Cost
Cost to Refinish a Bathtub
The typical cost to refinish a bathtub is about $560. While bathtub refinishing can range in price from about $420 to $700, a high-end project can cost up to $880. The total cost of your project will depend on the condition of your tub, the type of finish material you choose and labor costs in your area.Table of Contents:
- How much does it cost to refinish a bathtub?
- What is bathtub refinishing or reglazing?
- What is the bathtub refinishing process?
- What is the cost difference between bathtub refinishing and bathtub replacement?
- When is refinishing your bathtub a bad idea?
- When is a bathtub liner appropriate?
If your tub is stained, cracked or peeling, your bathroom may look and feel dirty no matter how much you scrub. If that’s the case, you may want to consider refinishing your tub — also known as bathtub reglazing. This process can bring a clean, fresh feeling to your bathroom and tends to be more cost-effective than replacing your tub.
Most of the time, this is not a home improvement project you’ll want to do yourself — given the chemicals involved and skill required, it’s best to hire a bathroom professional.
What is bathtub refinishing or reglazing?
Refinishing a tub and reglazing a tub are two of the names for the process of applying paint to the porcelain surface of the interior of the tub. This refinishing process is also sometimes called tub re-enameling.
While you can purchase a kit to do this yourself, it can be an intensive process that requires some skill. A professional bathtub refinishing company will have professional tub reglazers on staff who will wear protective suits and ventilation masks for the job, as it can involve some noxious chemicals. If you try to reglaze your tub and add a new finish yourself, you’re not likely to get a perfectly smooth surface and the finish won’t last as long.
Does bathtub refinishing last? That depends on the quality of the job. A DIY job typically lasts about two years, whereas a good professional tub reglazing can last 10 to 15 years.
- A professional will prep your bathroom for tub reglazing by masking floors and fixtures with heavy-duty plastic to protect them.
- Your contractor will either sand down the finish of your bathtub or bathe it in hydrofluoric acid, roughing up the tub surface so that the new coat of paint will adhere smoothly.
- The contractor may next search for any rust, cracks or chipping. If these exist, he or she should repair them with a glazing putty.
- The contractor will apply primer to the tub and allow it to dry.
- The contractor will apply several layers of the refinishing coat, or a new finish, which may be an epoxy, a polyurethane or an acrylic polymer.
- Finally, your contractor should apply a topcoat or sealing coat to the tub.
While you can purchase a new, basic bathtub for very little, there are several additional costs associated with replacing a tub. You’ll likely need to hire a professional plumber to disconnect the old bathtub from the drain assembly and plumbing lines. Most of the time, you'll need to pay tub removal fees so it can be taken to a dump or recycling center. Finally, a hired professional can also make sure that the subfloor is level, connect the drain to your plumbing system and secure your new bathtub to the floor.
With all this work, the typical cost for replacing an old bathtub with a new tub is often more than $3,300. Considering that the cost of refinishing a tub is just a fraction of that, you may decide it’s worth it to keep what you have. On the other hand, if you’re doing a full bathroom remodel, you may want to consider simply replacing your bathtub for an entirely new style.
When is refinishing your bathtub a bad idea?
If your tub is very badly damaged, refinishing it may be only a temporary solution — and one that may need to be repeated relatively soon in the future. A professional should be able to help you determine whether your tub is a good candidate for reglazing, based on its condition. If reglazing doesn’t make sense for your tub, you could consider a tub liner instead.When is a bathtub liner appropriate?
If your bathtub is not a good candidate for reglazing — which may be the case if it is rusted, cracked, scratched or dented — you may want to consider purchasing a tub liner. These are acrylic inserts that can be placed in steel or cast iron tubs. Tub liners are usually a more expensive option than refinishing, but are less expensive than the average cost of replacing the tub.
A big potential downside of tub liners is that if they are not properly installed, or not a proper fit for the tub that they cover, water can get caught between the liner and the tub, which can lead to leaks, bad smells, the growth of mold and mildew, and ultimately the failure of the liner. For proper installation, it’s important that the installer removes the old finish from your tub. Another downside is that liners slightly reduce the inner size of your tub.
Note: Costs are estimated at the U.S. national level. Variations depend on factors such as the quality of materials, type of products installed and labor costs. The typical range is assumed to be between the 20th and 80th percentiles. The high-end and low-end costs are the maximum and minimum, respectively. Costs assume that the homeowner manages the project and hires subcontractors as needed. They include a subcontractor markup of 10% for materials and labor. Costs can be higher if a general contractor is managing the project. All numbers are rounded.
Source: 2019 Houzz Remodel Costs Database