If your bathtub looks like it has had better days, you should consider refinishing it to refresh the tired look. Resurfacing a tub can make it look like new without the need for a new one.
How much will it cost to refinish it? The national average to resurface a bathtub is $450. Most refinishing projects fall between $200 and $1,000, depending on if you DIY or hire a professional, as well as how much the labor will cost in your area, if repairs are necessary, and how much preparation needs to get done.
Replace or Refinish
Because refinishing a bathtub does not require alterations to the plumbing, walls, and tile, it is much less expensive than a new tub.
Installing a new tub could cost at least $1,000 to $5,000 or more. Cast iron, clawfoot, and jetted tubs cost even more. Replacing a tub requires a new tub basin, fixtures, plumbing, tile surround repair, and possibly flooring repair, making it an invasive and time-consuming project.
Refinishing could be a bargain over replacing. Plus, that old clawfoot could become the centerpiece of your renovated bathroom after refinishing. Plus, refinishing costs less and is a much faster process taking only a day or two.
Getting your old bathtub resurfaced means fixing any plumbing problems and doing some research on how long it will take, how long it will last, and whether you can get the color you want from a kit.
The biggest drawback to using a DIY kit is that it is unlikely you can get the color you want to match the backsplash, tiles, or overall color scheme of the bathroom. What’s more, if you do not have any experience doing these, the finish might not be as brilliant as you would like.
The first thing to do is to find a kit. Many of these only come with refinishing paint or epoxy, so you’ll want to spend some time looking around to get the best package possible. In the kit, you should get sandpaper, cleaner, primer, rollers, brushes, and tray, along with the refinishing paint. These kits typically cost $50 – $100.
Additionally, you should wear gloves, goggles, coveralls, and a suitable mask to prevent breathing in the fumes.
Start by protecting the surrounding areas, such as wall and floor coverings with tarps. Sand the tub thoroughly, repair the cracks, add the primer, paint, and a topcoat. Let each coat of paint dry 10 – 12 hours before applying another, and then let the tub dry for 24 to 48 hours before use. The better you prepare the old surface, the better the new finish will look.
Be careful to wait as long as possible between coats, or you might see roller marks or bubbling. When mars occur in the undercoats, you should sand it off and start over, or your finish will be rough. Keep in mind, a DIY kit is usually only good for two to three years.
Hiring a Professional
Hiring a professional will require less time, and the finish will quite likely look better. Plus, a professional refinish typically lasts five to fifteen years.
Professionals can usually mix colors to match whatever you want for your new bathtub. However, since this is not a common procedure, you should check references and even pictures of completed bathtub refinishing projects.
We suggest getting a few estimates to learn more about each contractor’s process and ensure you get the best price. In most areas, there are several professionals that specialize in bathtub refinishing services.
All pricing information on this page is based on average industry costs, and is subject to variance for project-specific materials, labor rates, and requirements.