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Bathtub Refinishing Costs in 2019

bathtub refinishing costs
by Badeloft | April 13, 2018

After many years of loyal service, your bathtub is looking a bit worse for wear-it’s cracked in spots and the paint or finish is flaking all around. Perhaps it is time to consider refinishing your bathtub and breathing new life back into it. On the whole, refinishing a bathtub is a good alternative to just buying a new bathtub outright as it will be much cheaper with the average cost being around $400-500 dollars. If you are inexperienced, you can also hire a contractor to do this for you with a general rate of roughly $100/hr for an overall rate of $300 dollars, though this will vary from contractor to contractor.


When should I consider refinishing my bathtub?

You should consider refinishing your bathtub when there is noticeable wear and tear on it such as multiple cracks, scratches, un-patched holes. Also, if you notice a general color change in your bathtub, such as discoloration.

Why should I refinish my bathtub?

At the end of the day, refinishing your bathtub is a matter of preference and time. There are positives and of course negatives with choosing to refinish your bathtub, though much of it will largely depend on your time and monetary budget.

The benefits of refinishing your bathtubs

Cost Effective– Whether it is using a DIY repair kit or hiring a contractor, the cost will ultimately be much less than purchasing a new bathtub outright.

Less Hassle/Simplicity– Since many bathtubs are installed in your homes already, simply hiring a professional to handle the process and finish within a few hours is much simpler than having to pull out your existing tub and go through the hassle of dealing with plumbing and re-installation.

The negatives: 

Dated look-While many bathtub materials can be refinished, some may look a bit dated compared to the rest of your bathroom, so it may not be for every bathroom project as an outdated bathtub can easily stand out against a more modern looking bath space you’ve built.

Not all materials-While it is simple and inexpensive, not every material can be refinished, so make sure your bathtub can actually be refinished in the first place

Toxic-Though a repair kit is fairly inexpensive, it is highly recommended you hire a professional for a refinishing job as there are a few steps that can go wrong. The stripping agent used to remove the finish is highly toxic and if you are inexperienced with fume management, please consult a professional to avoid any unfortunate incidents.

Which Bathtub materials can be refinished?

Most bathtub materials can be refinished. Here is a list of the most common materials:

Acrylic– Yes, though acyrlic is non-porous so a bonding agent must be applied so the finish will ultimately stick.

Porcelain– Yes, porcelain is non-porous so a bonding agent must be applied so the finish will stick.

Stone Resin-Yes, stone resin is also non-porous so a bonding agent must be applied so the finish will adhere to the surface.

Fiberglass-Yes, fiberglass is porous so it will adhere to the finish coating

In short, bathtubs with porcelain, fiberglass and enamel coatings can refinished, but they will require a bonding agent before applying a new coat as non-porous material do not give a good substrate for the new coating to attach to. And in the case of stone resin in particular, the initial finish is durable enough that it will usually not need to be refinished over the course of its life time.

How long does it take and how much does it cost?

Professional-Hiring a professional is the easiest and most recommended route for refinishing your bathtub. As the process of removing the initial finish is highly toxic, this job is better left in the hands of an experienced individual. Also, the process is fairly quick, no more than a few hours and saving a few hundred dollars is not worth the hassle that comes from DIY.

DIY/repair kids – DIY refinishing bathtub kits come with either an epoxy or acrylic coating. Though they appear to accomplish the same job, make sure to get acrylic coatings where you can as epoxy is outdated and eventually will deteriorate much quicker over time. Also, ensure that your kit isn’t simply just spray paint as some kits are and that you have the correct coating for refinishing. All refinishing kits are highly toxic so take care to properly ventilate and protect yourself before starting the process.

How to refinish a bathtub?

Here is a step by step overview of how to refinish a bathtub with a kit/DIY:

  • Site preparation ventilate your area properly as there will be strong odors and toxic chemicals from the kit. The odors will dissipate within a few days.
  • Sand down the old finish-Start by removing the old finish in your bathtub, the existing finish must be stripped and sanded down to create a smooth area for the new finish to bond to.
  • Repairing surface damages-After sanding and removing the old finish, there will be small imperfections such as cracks, rust or chipping, make sure to patch these before applying the new finish.
  • Primer and top coating– Apply a generous layer of primer onto the surface and allow to dry. Then proceed with multiple layers of refinish coating after the coating has dried. Finally, use a sealing coat to finish the process. Depending on the kit you purchased, it will take upwards of 2-4 days before everything has set properly.


At the end of the day: Is it worth refinishing my bathtub?

This question will largely depend on the state and quality of your bathtub, but generally, refinishing is a great way to restore some life into an older bathtub. Though, down the line, the benefits of higher quality material such as stone resin is that the finish does not wear or deteriorate over time, giving you more incentive to invest in a better bathtub down the line.

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