Buy a New Bathtub or Refinish the Old One?

If you still need some help deciding which option is best for you, look at these two scenarios […]

Deciding what makes sense for you

As the bathtub is a focal point of most bathrooms and an old, worn-out tub can really make the space seem uninspiring. Obviously, installing a new bathtub is an excellent way to transform a room, but refinishing an existing model can also provide impressive results. By exploring the steps required for each scenario, we can determine whether refinishing is an option for you, or whether you would be better off starting from scratch. 


Installing a new bathtub

While every house is different, and every renovation project is different, the basic process of installing a built-in bathtub remains the same. You must first demolish and remove the old tub before replacing it or upgrading some of the nearby pipes and flooring. You can then install the tub itself and replace some, if not all, of the tub surround. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have a standalone tub, this process is notably simpler. 


Choose whatever style, shape and features you want
Match the tub to other bathroom renovation additions
Enjoy a product that can last for decades


More expensive
Renovations can have an impact on other rooms (may need to enlarge doorways, can leave residual mess, etc.)

Cost: Cost of a new tub can range from $200-$1,500, Labour costs are estimated at $750-$1,500  


Refinishing an existing tub

Refinishing, or resurfacing a tub (as it is sometimes referred to) is a process that begins with cleaning the tub, then roughening up its surface by applying an acid or a non-acidic alternative. From there, any cracks or chips are filled in; and the glaze can then be applied to the surface. After the glaze cures, the surface must be sanded, buffed and polished before the bathtub is ready for use. You can select different colors for the surface, and once the refinishing is done, the bathtub can retain its appearance for up to 10 years. It is worth noting that there are DIY kits available, but they are difficult to apply properly and are generally not recommended.


Cheaper than installing a new tub
Faster and less invasive process
Some beautiful vintage tubs are worth preserving 


Can only fix superficial issues
Cannot update features or style
Will often only be able to use non-abrasive cleaners when cleaning

Cost: Costs vary between $300-$1,000 



If you still need some help deciding which option is best for you, look at these two scenarios and decide which one best applies to your bathroom needs

If your tub is heavily damaged, if the style is outdated and/or the rest of the bathroom is being updated, if money is not your main concern, if you want to change the usage or modernize the features, then BUY NEW.

If you love your old tub and the damage is minor, if money is a concern, if you don’t have a lot of flexibility in terms of timing and manpower, then REFINISH.