Refinish Or Replace: Which Is Better For An Old Bathtub?

Worker applying sealant on the bathtub

There are times when a replacement for an old bathtub is more economical while refinishing it will make more sense depending on certain circumstances. You could spend as low as $300 for a new tub, while refinishing may cost $460 on average.

If you live in Utah, the price of a new free-standing tub in Salt Lake City will vary according to your chosen size and style. Rates for professional refinishing will also be different. Whether you plan to replace or refinish a tub, do not take the first offer and be sure to shop around for rates or prices.

Hidden Charges

Home owners should be aware that $300 only covers the price of buying a new tub, which is mostly a basic retail type. If you plan to replace the old one, take note that there are ancillary expenses that are not immediately noticeable. This includes spending up to $150 for the removal of the old one, while you will also need to hire a plumber for reinstalling pipes that will cost around $300 on average.

The median price for a bathtub installation costs around $2,900, so it is quite obvious from these numbers that you may have to spend more than $3,000 for a tub replacement. This investment would be more justifiable if you plan to sell your home after a renovation, or when the existing one is damaged.

Cost Of Refinishing

Man computing his expensesIf you still have a functional tub yet want to improve its appearance, a refinishing project seems like a better option. This is a good choice especially if you have a custom-made tub, or simply do not have the money to buy a replacement at the moment.

However, this is not advisable for damaged tubs. You would have to repeat the process regularly, and you would not be able to use for at least 24 hours after every refinish.

Choosing Among Different Sizes

Those who decide to replace their tubs would have to choose among different sizes and styles. Some of the usual ones include the alcove and oval types. An alcove tub in a small bathroom should be positioned width-wise, preferably in between two long walls. The typical size of an alcove tub measures 4.5 to 6 feet long and 15 to 20 inches wide.

If you choose an oval tub, the two varieties comprise the drop-in or stand-alone types. These usually measure 60 inches in length and 41 inches in width. Drop-in types are more common in households with children. Have a professional take a look at the bathroom to see which is better particularly if you want to save space.


When planning a bathroom renovation, most home owners are inclined to choose the more affordable one particularly for bathtubs. A replacement for an old bathtub could be an option if you think that the associated costs are much lower than refinishing it, but there are times that keeping the old one makes more sense. Whichever you choose, consider hiring a professional for better results.

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