Bathtub Refinishing Cost & How To Guide

Refinish Bathtub Cost: Resurface and Refinishing Costs

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Bathtub Refinishing Professionals

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Nationally speaking the cost to refinish a bathtub can range from $200 and $977. The median or average refinishing or resurfacing project will generally come in around $475. Many homeowners opt for this route compared to a replacement due to the extra labor costs associated with replacement.

 Other Reported Refinishing Costs

When it comes to bathtub refinishing, your location can play a significant role in how much you’ll end up spending. The typical range for this process is generally between $328 – $603. Those figures end up averaging out at about $462.

For those who are planning to do the job themselves, the price expected for the project can be at or above $200, and this is for the materials. The materials can be bought separately or as a (DIY) kit. The products for doing the job is typically waterproof sandpaper, two or more painting components, a cleaner and a surface prep substance. You can also choose between using a roller, a brush or a paint sprayer.

On the other hand, a high-end, top-of-the-line refinishing project by a contractor can be as much as $900. This number is contingent, especially if you’re in a low cost area, or if you’re in a relative high-cost area. In other words, the specific local rates can fluctuate between different contractors and current location. If you’re going the contractor route, shopping around for estimates is your best bet.

The best way to restore a bathtub is to refinish it

When it comes to remodeling and renovation, the bathroom is one of the most popular topics and choices. Besides its basic layout and practical purpose, the bathroom has tremendous potential to be updated. Though it’s generally one of the smallest rooms in a house, homeowners have taken bathroom renovation to the next level. Of course, any restorative home project will have a price tag, but this is generally expected with anything that’s being restored. One of the objects to restore is the bathtub and if it’s done right, a restored bathtub can transform this room into a work of art.

One of the best ways to restore a bathtub is to refinish it. These square, oval or round shaped tubs are one of the most overused objects in the home. Whenever something is overused, it begins to wear-down. When something is worn-down, the general rule is to replace it. Fortunately, not so much in this situation. Bathtubs are similar to vehicles in a sense. You can take an old car then invest some money into new parts, paint and bodywork. The finished product can dramatically raise in value. The same thing goes for bathtubs. Stains, chips and outdated colors are the culprits, but all isn’t lost.

Is Refinishing a Better Option?

Refinishing A Tub:

Why Refinishing A Tub Can Be The Better Option

Most homeowners know that purchasing a new bathtub can be expensive, depending on the specific type of tub. The standard tub is about 5 feet-long, and it’s generally made out of porcelain. The cheapest 5 foot-long tub can run for about $140 at most home improvement stores. Since most homeowners have no construction/renovation skills, hiring a professional contractor is the only option and this is where the inflation begins.

Inflation?…Inflation, which means the ballooning effects of the total project costs. Removing a tub isn’t as easy as you may think. Depending on the contractor who actually put the tub in place, most tubs are screwed and bolted into their current position. Not to mention the copious amounts of adhesive glue that is underneath the tub itself. If you’re thinking about purchasing a new tub then you better factor in the separate costs of the contractor, the plumbing, demolition, removal, tilers and landfill fees.

On the other hand, many homeowners that have dealt with this specific situation have decided to reline or better known as (relining), the tub. Relining a tub usually comes from some form of damage to the tub’s physical structure. Relining is basically a cover-up of the problem, but the expense for doing so can be greater than refinishing the tub in the end. Liners aren’t really a bargain, especially when being compared to refinishing, but it is definitely a lot cheaper than a replacement.

*Did You Know that the estimated total costs for removing and replacing a bathtub is around $3,000? This was estimated and reported by the National Kitchen & Bath Association* 

So, What Actually Is Bathtub Refinishing?

Bathtub Refinishing, also known as glazing, re-surfacing or re-enameling, is the process of restoring or refreshing the tub’s surface, due to over-wear or damage. The actual coatings are the weapon of choice for these types of projects, which can come in:



Hybrid-Polyester Polyurethanes


Depending on the contractor or “do-it-yourself-er,” these special coatings may be rolled, sprayed or brushed on. The average (do-it-yourself) kind of guy can complete the task at hand by purchasing (DIY) kits. Even though the standard (DIY) kits can offer good results, these kits don’t posses the same bonding strength as the industrial products that are used by professional contractors. Either way you go, if done correctly, your bathtub should end up with a smooth finish.

The Process of Refinishing A Bathtub

So, you’ve finally made the wise decision to not replace your bathtub, and you’ve brilliantly decided to trash the idea of using a liner. It’s now time to set the process in motion and here is a step-by-step guide on how to successfully refinish your bathtub.

Prepare the Surface:

Preparing The Surface is the very first thing that has to be done. Instead of just prepping the damaged area, clean the entire surface area with a chemical cleaner. The chemical cleaner will remove dirt residue, will remove soap scum, and it will greatly improve the bonding agent.

Rinse & Dry:

Next step would be to thoroughly rinse and dry the entire surface area.

Marking off Area:

For marking off the area in question, tape plastic or paper over the surface that you do not want to paint/refinish. This notion is applied more so if you’re painting with a spray gun.


Now it’s time to use some form of sander. A gentle sander works great because it will roughen the surface area perfectly. This action will allow the paint material to bond with the surface much more easier.

This process is rather simple, but a good thing to know is that if your tub is made from porcelain, you should apply a bonding agent before refinishing. Just allow about 5 minutes for the bonding agent to dry, then proceed.

Here’s a second method of refinishing your bathtub when using a primer

Paint Pot:

Pour the suggested amount of primer into the “paint pot” of the spray gun then attach it right to the spray gun.

Finish Consistency:

For the possible consistent finish, you should paint the surface with a swift back and forth motion. You’ll be applying two coats of primer, but allow at least 30 minutes to pass in-between coats.

Acrylic Top Coat:

Next up, you should apply the acrylic top coat, which will be done in three coatings. Allow 30 minutes to pass in-between each acrylic coating.

Let stand for a couple days:

In conclusion, do not use the bathtub until after two days have passed.

There you have it. These are two of the most common forms of refinishing a bathtub. Both cases above can be utilized by the average “do-it-yourself-er.” The total amount of savings is dramatic, especially when being compared to fully replacing the bathtub itself. You’re new bathtub will look great, and it will feel very smooth, just like a brand new bathtub.

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