How much does it cost to refinish a bathtub?
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Bathtub Refinishing Cost Guide
Updated: September 21, 2022
Refinishing your bathtub is a cost-efficient way of bringing back the shine of this center bathroom piece. It’s not as extensive and costly a process as a full bathroom remodel, but it gives the whole bathroom a newer, updated look. Aside from this, refinishing your bathtub solves issues with bacteria, limescale, and soap scum that may have gotten stuck in some inaccessible areas and potentially cause health issues. It’s also affordable and efficient for getting rid of the small dents, scratches, or fading that may appear on the tub over time and affect its appearance.
The national average cost to refinish a bathtub is between $350 and $650, with most people paying around $500 to refinish a one-piece cast iron tub. At the low end of the spectrum, you can pay $250 to refinish a one-piece fiberglass bathtub. At the high end, you can pay up to $2,500 to refinish and repaint an antique clawfoot porcelain tub.
Cost of Refinishing Bathtubs
|Bathtub Refinishing Cost
|National average cost
Reglazing vs Refinishing Tub
Although often mixed, refinishing and reglazing are two different processes. Refinishing a bathtub refers to the process of restoring a bathtub with minor cosmetic issues. The old finish is removed, after which a new layer is applied to cover up chips, scratches, and other cosmetic damage. This process makes the tub and bathroom look new and updated without undergoing a full bathroom remodel. Reglazing, on the other hand, refers to the process of relayering antique cast-iron, enamel-coated tubs. The original coating of the tub is ground down to the rough surface, after which a new layer of enamel paint or a two-layer epoxy is added.
Bathroom refinishing is a great option when your bathtub has some minor cosmetic issues that you want to repair. However, it’s not as efficient as bathtub reglazing for bigger problems with the tub. When you reglaze a bathtub, pros and cons are part of the process, with the main one being the price. While it’s a more affordable process than bathroom remodeling, it’s more expensive than bathtub refinishing. This is why many homeowners opt to refinish their tub instead of reglazing it.
Bathtub Refinishing Cost by Bathtub Material
The cost to refinish a bathtub depends mostly on the material of the tub, with prices ranging between $250 and $700. The exact process and approach depend on the material of your bathtub and the finishing that will be used to achieve the wanted look. Some materials require a different approach and professional touch to refinish. Others can be refinished easier. Below is a table with the most common bathtub materials and how much refinishing them would cost.
|Cost (Labor Included)
|$250 - $600
|$300 - $600
|$300 - $700
|$350 - $650
|$400 - $700
Fiberglass Bathtub Refinishing
Refinishing a fiberglass bathtub is a project that costs between $250 and $600, depending on the size of the tub and the amount of surface damage. The refinishing repairs minor scratches and chips and may involve caulk removal and caulking. Some companies don’t offer fiberglass refinishing services as the material is fragile and cracks easier than other materials. Other contractors opt to install a flooring inlay before refinishing to improve the strength and stability of the fiberglass bathtub, so it doesn’t crack as easily.
Porcelain Tub Refinishing
You can expect to spend around $300 to $600 to refinish a porcelain tub. Newer porcelain bathtub models are constructed on a cast iron or steel base, which you can check by trying to stick a magnet on it. If it sticks, it has a cast iron or steel base. If the magnet doesn’t stick, it’s a solid porcelain tub. These models are more than 100 years old. If you want to refinish a porcelain tub, hire a professional that has the experience required to refinish this type of bathtub without damaging it.
Refinish Steel Bathtub
Refinishing a steel bathtub is a project that costs $300 to $700. Most steel tubs used today were produced before the 1970s and are referred to as “steel on porcelain” tubs. They were given this name because of their construction, where a thin sheet of steel is coated with a layer of porcelain enamel. Because they are older models, they are prone to cracking and chipping with age. Therefore, they require refinishing to bring them into an acceptable condition to be used.
Refinish Cast Iron Tub
The cost to refinish a cast iron tub runs between $350 and $650, depending on the size and condition of the tub. Refinishing a cast iron tub costs more than refinishing a porcelain or fiberglass tub, as good re-enameling ensures it will stay in good condition for 100 years. The process itself involves sandblasting the tub to remove the old paint, rust, chips, and signs of erosion and corrosion. After the removal process is complete, a new enamel layer is applied to bring the tub back to its original shape.
Refinish Acrylic Bathtub
If you want to refinish an acrylic bathtub, you can expect to spend $400 to $700 for the project. An acrylic bathtub loses its shine and looks dirty and damaged after years of use. The color and shine may fade away, which means it requires refinishing to bring its old look back. Many acrylic bathtubs are installed before the wall and flooring, making a replacement costly, so homeowners opt to refinish it.
Average Cost to Refinish a Bathtub
You can expect to pay between $200 and $400 for labor costs to refinish a standard bathtub. The remaining part is the cost of materials used in the process. This means that from the average cost of $350 to $650 to refinish a cast iron tub, between $150 and $250 are the costs of materials. The biggest factors that affect the cost of the refinishing are the material and the size of the tub. This determines the approach the technician will take to refinish it and the time it takes to complete the project.
Bathtub Refinishing Process
Refinishing a tub starts with cleaning the tub to ensure all soap film, mineral deposits, and oil remains are removed. Then, they continue to completely remove the current finishing and fill in any cracks and chips that may exist on the tub. Once the cracks and holes are filled, the contractor applies a new layer of coating with a sprayer that gives the tub a shiny, updated appearance. The finish is available in several colors, giving homeowners the option to customize the tub’s appearance to their taste.
The whole process typically takes two to five hours to complete. The tub will be ready to use within 24 hours, 48 at the most. It’s always advisable to hire a professional to do your bathtub refinishing to ensure the results last longer. Some contractors offer a warranty, so you will have the added protection that the refinishing will last for a specific time. This is especially important if you have an antique porcelain tub that requires a specific approach to ensure the tub will be treated properly during the refinishing process.
Clawfoot Tub Refinishing Cost
The cost to refinish a clawfoot tub ranges between $500 and $1,300 depending on if you are refinishing only the inside surface or both the inside and the outside surface. Clawfoot-style bathtubs were popular between the 1889s and 1930s. There are models produced today with their traditional look, giving the bathroom a vintage look. Because most models were made several decades ago from pure porcelain, they are easier to chip and require special attention to refinish. Porcelain makes the tub heavier, making the refinishing more challenging and more costly than other bathtub models.
Clawfoot tubs come in various sizes between four and six feet, with the most common one being the five foot tub. They can be made of different materials such as acrylic, cast iron, fiberglass, and copper. Most old clawfoot tubs have a porcelain layer inside and exposed cast iron outside of the tub. Reglazing will make the tub usable and look new, allowing you to use it for an added 10 to 15 years after refinishing it.
Bathtub Refinishing Cost by Company
Several companies on the market offer a wide range of bathtub refinishing services for $250 to $650. Currently, the most popular bathtub refinishing companies are Perma Glaze and Miracle Method. Both companies use trademark chemicals and processes in their reglazing process that separates them from similar resurfacing companies. Below you will find how much you can expect to pay to refinish a tub through them and what the package includes.
|Bathtub Refinishing Company
|Cost (Labor Included)
|$250 - $650
|$400 - $600
Perma Glaze Bathtub Refinishing
The average cost of bathtub refinishing with Perma Glaze is $250 to $650. Perma Glaze is the name of the company and their special synthetic porcelain that is applied to the surface of the tub to create a new, stronger finish. The company specializes in refinishing bathtubs, countertops, ceramic tiles, porcelain, showers, sinks, appliances, metal, fiberglass, cultured marble, and more. The bathtub refinishing process uses a blend of polymer resins to resurface the materials and takes only three to four hours. The finish of the tub can be matte, gloss, or satin and in different colors.
Miracle Method Bathtub Refinishing
The cost to refinish a bathtub through the Miracle Method runs between $400 and $600 for a single coat of white over a standard bathtub. The cost can be higher depending on the type of tub you have and the number of layers needed to refinish it. Miracle Method is a company founded in 1979 that offers bathtub, countertop, and ceramic tile refinishing in 140 locations across the U.S. They offer refinishing services for several bathtub materials: porcelain, fiberglass, acrylic cultured marble, and clawfoot tubs. In their refinishing process, they use a special proprietary bonding agent that bonds the old and new surfaces to maintain the old durability and quality. This process eliminates the need to use harmful chemicals that may damage the tub, ensuring it will look new and maintain its old quality at the same time.
Cost to Refinish Tub and Shower
If you have a tub and shower you want to update, you can expect to pay $500 to $1,200 for the refinishing project. Sometimes, the shower and the tub are joined, which means that they have to be refinished together to achieve the desired look. The shower refinishing cost is cheaper when done along with the tub as the technicians won’t have to be careful about affecting other areas.
Bathtub Refinishing Pros and Cons
Refinishing a tub comes with its pros and cons. The main one being the price you will pay. Refinishing costs far less than a full tub replacement or bathroom remodeling, saving you a significant amount of money. You can also use bathtub refinishing to update the look of your bathroom by choosing a different color or shade. Aside from this, refinishing the tub increases its longevity, allowing you to use it for another 20 years without needing to buy a new one or repeating the refinishing process. Everything takes only a few hours to complete, so you can use your tub normally after a day.
On the downside, once you reglaze a tub, you will have to take extra care and maintenance. This means that you shouldn’t use harsh chemicals to clean it and only use mild, non-bleach, and non-abrasive cleaning products. Finally, remember that refinishing your tub won’t change its look completely. It will only bring it to a “neat new” look. If you’re looking to achieve a new look, you can only do that by completely replacing the tub.
Bathtub Refinishing vs Replacement
Bathtub refinishing is a great way to update your bathroom and refresh it without paying for renovations or bathtub replacements. Moreover, replacing a bathtub requires a great deal of time and labor and comes with the risk of the workers damaging some other part of the bathroom. It’s a great solution when your bathtub only has minor cosmetic issues or small dents and cracks that need fixing. However, if your tub has major damage, refinishing it may not be an option, which means you would have to replace it and install a new one.
Refinishing is an efficient way of removing stains from a bathtub and a good way to remove rust from a bathtub. If your bathtub paint starts peeling, you can refinish it for the second time. However, the second coat of finish has a far shorter lifespan, usually lasting between three to five years. Keep in mind that you only have to use mild cleaning products to ensure the tub looks refreshed for longer. Using anything too strong causes the tub to lose its glossy finish faster and reduces the number of years you can enjoy the tub.
How to Renew Bathtub
If you don’t want to refinish your bathtub, a few alternatives are available. For instance, if you have a fiberglass, acrylic, or plastic tub or shower, you can install a bathtub inlay instead. The inlay takes around 30 minutes to install. It will repair cracks and prevent leaks. Another option is a bathtub liner. A bathtub or shower liner is a one- or two-piece unit that fits over your existing tub and covers it. The bathtub liner cost ranges between $1,600 and $3,200. However, it doesn’t solve the damage on the tub because it’s still there but hidden behind the liner. This process gives your bathroom a clean, new look without the expense or time of a full bathroom or shower remodel. Many cast iron tubs have an enamel coating that chips and cracks, so this coating can be sanded down and a new layer applied. The cost to re-enamel a bath is usually $350 to $600. Aside from making the tub look updated, the enamel can also be painted in a color of your choice.
Cost to Refinish Tub and Tile
Refinishing a bathroom tub and tile costs between $1,000 and $1,200. The ceramic tile refinishing cost can be higher than this, depending on the size and type of tub and tile you have installed. Refinishing is an efficient method to make your bathroom tiles look new, change the design of your bathroom, and increase the durability of the materials for 10 to 15 years without having to do expensive remodeling. Refinishing the tub and tile at the same time will be cheaper than doing both things separately because the technicians will do everything at once without having to come multiple times.
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
The cost to change the color of a bathtub ranges between $200 and $800. You can refinish steel, fiberglass, and cast iron tubs with an entirely new color or use the same one. Aside from updating its appearance, painting the tub allows you to customize the look of the tub and make it fit in your interior. However, keep in mind that the layer of paint applied can easily chip and peel, which would require repeating the refinishing process.
Repair Bathtub Drain Pipe
If the bathtub drain pipe needs repairing, your project costs increase by an additional $450 to $800, depending on how close the drain pipe is to your bathtub. If you want your bathroom working like a new one, replacing or repairing the bathtub drain pipe is another way of ensuring that the plumbing system functions properly. It also ensures that there won’t be any leaks that may cause mold or water damage soon after refinishing the bathtub.
The cost to recaulk a bathtub is $50 to $200, with the cost depending on the area you intend on recaulking, the number of beads, and the size of the leak. Caulking is an efficient way of sealing cracked and broken seals, preventing water damage and mold from forming around the tub. This also affects the appearance of the tub and causes it to age faster. It’s usually done at the same time as the refinishing, which reduces the cost you would originally pay to do both separately. The type of caulk and tub and additional needs such as mold treatment affect the cost. The contractor must remove the old caulk to apply new, solving any issues with leaks.
Refinishing a sink is a project that costs $200 to $400 for an average-sized bathroom sink. Homeowners opt to refinish their sink at the same time with the tub to make the whole bathroom look updated without renovating and lower the cost of the individual projects. The cost varies depending on the material of the sink, its design, and the surrounding fixtures. To refinish the sink, the contractor would have to remove all fixtures from the area and cover the backsplash, surrounding cabinets, and countertops with plastic to ensure they stay clean during the process. Similar to the bathtub refinishing process, the contractor first cleans the sink and removes the current finishing before applying the new one.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- DIY. You can buy DIY bathtub refinishing kits for a more affordable cost than what you would pay for a professional service. However, keep in mind that doing the process yourself won’t get you the same result and look you would get when a professional does the refinishing.
- Plumbing. Before refinishing your tub, make sure that the existing plumbing is in good shape or that you have purchased new plumbing. In some cases, it may need to be removed to finish the tub. If this is the case, your refinisher will let you know.
- Fumes. Epoxy, acrylic, and etching chemicals emit high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when applied and during curing. If possible, open a bathroom window or run a fan to help clear it out. Very sensitive individuals may want to use a mask or leave the house until the finish cures.
- Humid climates. High humidity levels make the finish cure more slowly, particularly in the summer months. This may mean the tub needs an additional day to cure or that you need a dehumidifier running in the bathroom. This issue is not typically a concern during the winter months.
- Cold climates. The weather plays a role in the efficiency of the process. Paint is harder to apply in cold weather and dries slower. If it’s possible, schedule the refinishing when the weather is warm and dry.
- Refinishing layers. Your new finish should last many years. However, your tub can only be refinished two times. After two times, it may require additional work to strip the older layers from the tub before applying the new finish. The second layer of finish will not last as long as the first one.
- Estimates. Before accepting the offer from a contractor, make sure to check with at least three service providers. This gives you a better idea of what type of service you can expect and how much refinishing costs in your area.
- Warranties. Some companies offer a warranty period for which they guarantee that the coating they applied will keep its original look. The warranty depends on the company and the type of tub you have, so make sure to ask your contractors about the type of warranty they offer, if any.
- Bathtub chips. A small chip can spread and increase, affecting the overall look of your tub. It’s important to take care of it as soon as you notice it. Repairing a bathtub chip costs between $100 and $300, depending on the size of the chip and the type of tub you have installed. However, if the tub has several chips on it, consider refinishing the whole bathtub instead of the chips only.
- Is bathtub refinishing worth it?
As the cost to refinish a bathtub costs 75% to 85% less than replacing it, it’s often more cost-efficient to refinish it instead of opting for replacement. However, sometimes refinishing is not worth it. If the damage is too extensive, the tub refinishing won’t be as efficient, so it may be a better idea to replace it.
- How long does reglazing a tub last?
If properly maintained, the reglazed tub can last 10 to 15 years. The second layer, however, will last about five years.
- Can I resurface my bathtub myself?
DIY resurfacing kits are available through different sellers. However, if you want the tub to look glossy and new, it’s advisable to hire a professional to do the job.
- How much does the miracle method bathtub refinishing cost?
The cost of the miracle method refinishing ranges between $400 and $600. The cost can be higher if you have a specific type of tub.
- How many times can you reglaze a tub?
You can reasonably expect to reglaze a tub two times. After this, the process takes a lot longer and lasts for far less because of the weakened properties of the tub.