The 90s era cultured marble bathtubs all around America are dying to be refinished or replaced. Refinishing a bathtub is an affordable way to modernize an outdated fixture.
What is Bathtub Refinishing
Bathtub refinishing, also known as re-surfacing or re-glazing, is a home improvement painting technique that can refresh a dated bathtub or one in disrepair. It is possible to refinish very old tubs that are stained or damaged to bring it new life. It’s also possible for tubs that are in good condition but are outdated. The exact process that we opted for was an epoxy refinish which is essentially a special, durable paint that is waterproof finish.
Why You Should Considered Refinishing Your Bathtub
Bathtub refinishing is a great alternative to replacing a tub. If you have a tub that has minor flaws and is in otherwise good condition, a painted tub is a great budget-friendly option to renew it. When we renovated our bathroom we considered replacing the bathtub altogether but once we priced out the cost of a new tub, demo, and installation it was much more cost-effective to try a painted bathtub because the tub itself was in good condition. Had the tub been in disrepair we would have pivoted but this was a great solution for the time.
Professional v. DIY
Should you try to DIY this project or hire a professional? You absolutely can DIY this project. There’s a ton of great tutorials on the internet if you want to give it a go but it’s a messy job and epoxy fumes are no joke. We ended up hiring this job out. We had our garden tub and two vanities refinished in the same bathroom. At the time we used our tub rather infrequently so we thought it would be a good chance to try refinishing a surface before we did the more heavily used vanities.
Something to note: hiring this job out means that you don’t have to deal with the fumes as much as if you were to DIY it. The dry time is rather long. It’s recommended that you leave the windows open and have fans going for a full day after the job is done.
How Much Does it Cost?
If you are feeling up to a DIY project you can grab a tub refinishing kit for less than $35. Once you buy supplies including a respirator you can probably do the job for under $100. The cost for a professional to come and refinish your bathtub will vary depending on location. I can share that we paid $750 to have our bathtub and two vanities refinished. According to HomeAdvisor the average cost to have a tub professionally refinished is $479.
How Long Does It Last?
Bathtub painting is considered a short-term solution lasting about 15 years as long as the tub is properly cared for and cleaned with non-abrasive products. To lengthen the life of the painted bathtub I am careful to clean the tub and vanities with a sponge and dish soap. It’s recommended not to use any products that contain bleach or ammonia. 15 years is a decent lifespan for a couple-hundred-dollar update. With the average homeowner living in a home 13.3 years, according to ValuePenguin, the tub refinishing will last longer than the average family.
Three Year Review
By the time we sold our house we had the tub refinished for three years. After three years both the bathtub and the vanities were in perfect condition. The first year or so after the tub was refinished we didn’t use the tub too much. About a year in our girls started taking them baths in the “big tub” so it began to get regular use. With every other day’s use, the painted bathtub has held up exquisitely. I’m really glad we opted for bathtub refinishing instead of replacing the tub altogether. I don’t think we would have gotten our money’s worth at the end of the day.
When we did our bathroom renovation, we contemplated both replacing and refinishing our bathtub. Budget constraining we decided to refinish our bathtub instead of replacing it. It ended up being a really great choice for us at the time. The refinished tub held up really nicely and we got the look that we wanted overall. I would absolutely make that choice again.