So you’ve got an old bathtub that the porcelain finish is showing some signs of wear. Maybe you dropped something and chipped it or it’s just plain worn out from decades of showers and suction cup bath mats. Don’t think you need to replace that tub especially if it’s an older cast iron tub which can be a royal pain to remove. You should think about bathtub reglazing.
Bathtub reglazing is the process of refinishing a tub’s surface with a high quality epoxy that provides a long lasting renewed surface. There are a variety of materials and coatings you can use and depending on what product you use the finish can last anywhere from a couple years for a DIY kit to a decade or more with a professional job.
If you’ve got an expensive cast iron tub reglazing is absolutely the way to go. For less expensive fiberglass or plastic tubs replacement may be your best option.
Is Bathtub Reglazing Worth It?
Reglazing is much more cost-effective than replacing your tub and saves you the time and effort involved in a larger bathroom remodeling project. Replacing a tub can require disconnecting plumbing, removing tile, patching floors, and a bunch of other work that reglazing avoids.
The reglazing process is done in place and can have you up and running again in 24 hrs with minimal disturbance without the help of a professional plumber or GC which makes it a very cost effective and convenient option. Not to mention you get to keep your tub if you like and you avoid extra waste in the landfill.
Bathtub reglazing can be done more than once, though the prep work involved in reglazing a tub that has been previously reglazed can be more extensive and therefore more expensive. It is still cheaper than buying a new tub and all the expenses that entails in almost every situation.
Check out the video below to watch the whole reglazing process in action.
How Much Does Bathtub Reglazing Cost?
According to HomeAdvisor the national average for reglazing a bathtub is $479, with a typical range of $335 and $628. This includes $30 to $150 in materials and $200 to $500 in labor. I can safely say that as a preservation contractor who has done multiple projects with bathtub refinishing I have rarely paid over $300 for quality work over the span of my career here in Florida.
You can plan on adding an additional $100 to $150 for a tub that has been previously reglazed, and options like adding an anti-slip coating to the floor can cost around $40 to $60.
Once the initial finish has worn through or been damaged and you choose to go down the reglazing method then you’ll likely need to renew the finish at the least ever decade for a tub that is used on a daily basis, but you can make guest bathroom tubs or other rarely used tubs last 20-30 years.
How To Clean a Reglazed Bathtub
If you’ve got a reglazed bathtub then it’s important to clean it a little differently than a regular tub. You can’t use harsh abrasives like on a factory finish. The reglazing process leaves a very tough coating, but it’s never quite as tough as a baked on factory coating so you have to be a bit more gentle with it if you want it to last.
Most of the tub refinishers I have worked with have a few go to products for cleaning a reglazed bathtub and a few that you should absolutely avoid.
- Powdered Abrasives (Ajax, Comet, etc.)
- Barkeeper’s Friend
- Abrasive Cream Cleaners
- SOS, Brillo Pads, etc.
- Scrubbing Bubbles
- Formula 409 (without bleach)
- Lysol Basin Tub and Tile Cleaner
Since you can’t use the harsh abrasives, which we all know clean better, you’ll have to clean more often so that the hard water deposits and soap scum build up doesn’t become so great that you really need an abrasive. If you do have to resort to an abrasive cleaner that is still fine but know that it will shorten the life of your finish.
One last tip is to avoid traditional suction cup bathmats as they pull the finish off and cause it fail very quickly. They do make a kind of bathmats designed for reglazed bathtubs that don’t use suction cups.
Bathtub reglazing has its quirks, but in the end it’s almost always worth it compared to doing a tub replacement. Find a reputable company with good reviews and your tub will be ready for another decade or more of service.
Founder & Senior Editor
I love old houses, working with my hands, and teaching others the excitment of doing it yourself! Everything is teachable if you only give it the chance.