Compare Bathtub Refinishing and Reglazing Costs
The average cost of refinishing a tub is $528 when the tub is stripped, prepared and reglazed. When the tub is covered with an acrylic lining, cost averages around $1,275 for a company like Bathfitters to come in, measure and fit apply the acrylic lining.Last Updated: Wednesday, January 12, 2022
How Much does it Cost to Refinish or Reglaze Your Bathtub?
$75 – $460
Average Cost Estimate
$475 – $950
$1,000 – $2,000+
|Prep Work||Low to Average||Average to High||N/A|
|Materials Quality||3 – 4 Stars||4 – 5 Stars||3 – 5 Stars|
|DIY||Yes or No||No||No|
|Professional Labor||Handyman||Handyman or Specialist||Specialist|
|Unit Rating (Quality)||3-4 Stars||3-5 Stars||4-5 Stars|
Overview of Bathtub Restoration and Refinishing
The porcelain glazing on cast iron tubs becomes chipped, scratched and stained over time. The iron eventually shows through. Without refinishing the tub, the metal will begin to rust and be much harder to restore.
Reglazing is the right choice when you want to maintain the classic appearance of a cast iron tub. This process is also called recasting or casting the tub. If refinishing is not an option, check our bathtub replacement costs for installing a precast unit, or shower tile costs to see what it costs when replacing with ceramic tile.
When an update of the tub’s appearance is preferred, consider installing an acrylic liner over it and optionally over tile shower walls too. After many precise measurements, the acrylic liner is molded to precisely fit your tub and walls. It is installed in sections – one for the tub and one for the walls.
Though an acrylic tub liner costs more than refinishing the tub, it has these advantages:
- Modernizing the appearance of the tub, and changing colors, if desired
- Restoring a tub in a condition that is too poor for reglazing
- Pricing about 50% less than tub replacement, which ranges from $2,800 to more than $4,500, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association
- Updating the shower walls too, not just the tub, and saving the hassle and cost of replacing ceramic tile
This Costimate explores both options, cost factors and prices. We’ve compiled tub refinishing costs from estimating sites to allow you to compare prices from sources with a track record for accuracy.
There are costs from homeowners who have completed this project too. And you’re invited back to share your tub refinishing price for the benefit of other readers.
Refinishing Supplies Cost
Retail Price Factors
Here are factors affecting prices for the two tub refinishing approaches.
- Which Tub Restoration Solution You Choose – Glazing is the more affordable option. An acrylic liner involves more labor cost and material cost. It comes down to two issues: 1. Do you want a traditional look with glazing or a contemporary appearance with acrylic? 2. When tile walls need replacing too, covering the entire tub and tile with an acrylic liner can be a cost-effective choice, though pricing will still be above $2,000.
- Bathtub (and Tile Surround) Size and Shape – With either approach, the more area there is to restore, the higher the cost. Also, a free-standing tub has much more exterior surface area than a built-in unit, so tub resurfacing cost is higher.
- Condition of the Tub – When reglazing, the more prep work there is such as sanding and filling, the higher the cost. If the tub is in very poor condition, covering it with the costlier acrylic liner approach might be your only option short of replacing it.
- Thickness of the Layers – If the tub has been recoated in the past, a common practice, without being fully sanded and refinished, the sanding process will take longer and cost more.
- Features of a Liner – If you choose a liner for the tile surround, adding features like a soap dish, shampoo shelf, towel rack or grab bars will increase cost.
- Quality of a Liner – They vary significantly from cheap to premium, usually reflected in cost, so do your homework in comparing liners before selecting a fabricator/installer. Lining that fits snugly and has good durability is quite expensive.
- Faucet and Plumbing Changes – While not included in the cost estimates here, keep in mind that old tubs mean old faucets, drains and possibly corroded iron or lead pipes. Changes to those features could add several hundred dollars for just a faucet to more than $1,500 if plumbing must be replaced too.
Cost of Supplies
Products and kits are available for DIY reglazing. The process involves:
- Removing all caulk
- Sanding the porcelain and thoroughly removing all sanding dust, and/or using an etching cream to remove the glossy surface
- Using filler in chips and deep scratches
- Taping off or covering everything that isn’t the tub
- Applying an epoxy glaze
There’s more on DIY tub casting below.
- $8 – $15 | 100 & 200 grit sandpaper and a sanding block
- $25 – $40 per quart | Etching cream, which requires less work than sanding the tub
- $7 – $20 each | Chip and scratch filler
- $25 – $140 | 2-part epoxy glaze
Cheap glaze like Rustoleum Tub & Tile Refinishing Kit lasts 2-4 years if properly applied. Better products like Ekopel are an 8-15 year fix. You get what you pay for.
Permits, Inspection, and Installation Costs
You don’t need a permit to refinish a bathtub. However, if you alter the plumbing, a permit and inspection are required.
- $50 – $100 | Plumbing permit for minor plumbing changes, if needed
Professional Refinisher Cost
As we’ve discussed, you have two options for professional bathtub refinishing.
- $285 – $950 | Reglazing a tub to restore its original appearance.
- $750 – $1,400 | Installing an acrylic liner over the tub. When a tile surround is included, cost will rise to $2,000 to $4,000 based on size and features.
Bathtub Refinishing Time
Here are time-frames for both methods of refinishing your tub.
- 1 – 2 Days | Traditional reglazing. Most of the labor involves sanding and prepping the tub. Once glaze is applied, it will take 24-48 hours to cure depending on humidity conditions.
Installing a Liner:
- 1-2 Hours | Measuring for the liner
- 2-4 Weeks | Wait time to have the liner manufactured
- 1 Day | Installation of an acrylic tub and/or shower liner.
DIY or Hire a Pro
Refinishing a tub using traditional methods can be hard work, dusty and tedious. But homeowners and property managers successfully do it with results that last for years. A friend of ours reglazed their porcelain tub a decade ago using high-end epoxy glaze, and the tub still looks new. Some use cheaper brands for a quick sprucing of the tub before putting the house up for sale.
We recommend these tips:
- Like our friend did, choose the best glaze you can find
- Remove all caulk – a razor blade is useful – and thoroughly clean the tub
- Watch online tutorials like those on the Ekopel brand YouTube channel
- Follow all instructions carefully
Acrylic liners are obviously not a DIY job since they must be fabricated in a shop. Retailers we’re aware of sell the liner and installation as a package.