Bathtub Refinishing: Process, Cost, and Is it Worth It?


Jump To:

If your tub looks grimy, stained, or chipped, it can be tempting to rip it out and replace it. Especially if you are getting ready to sell your home, you do not want a dirty bath to be the reason buyers turn away. While it may seem like a good idea, a new tub can be costly and a hassle to install. So before you go breaking out the sledgehammer, there is another option— refinish your bathtub instead.  

What Does it Mean to Refinish a Tub? 

Bathtub refinishing is the process of thoroughly cleaning, smoothing, and adding a new protective coating to restore the surface of a tub. This process can not only make the tub look cleaner but also like new. Refinishing a bathtub can be a cost-effective way to revamp the tub’s appearance and increase its life span. If you are looking to sell your home, refinishing a tub may help boost your home’s resale value and appeal to more buyers.  

While often used interchangeably, there is a difference between refinishing bathtubs and reglazing bathtubs. Reglazing a tub is actually one of the last steps in the refinishing process. It involves applying a protective coating to the tub after it has been prepped during the refinishing process. This step is also sometimes referred to as resurfacing a bathtub. 

You may want to consider a bathtub refinish if: 

  • The tub is old, stained, chipped, or cracked 
  • The tub is an obscure color you want to change 
  • The tub is historical, and you do not want to replace it 
  • You do not have the budget to replace the tub  

How Much Does It Cost to Refinish a Bathtub? 

One of the main reasons people will choose to reglaze a tub is because it is an easier way to update a bathroom on a budget than replacing the tub. The bathtub refinishing cost will depend on the material and the size of the tub as well as its condition and who is doing the work.  

Based on a few different sources, the average cost of bathtub refinishing is around $500 but can range anywhere from $150 up to $700.1,2,3 By comparison, the average cost to replace a tub is $5,600. In some cases, the price to replace a tub may even be as high as $10,700.4 If plumbing needs to be reworked or there are any issues along the way, this price may increase even more.  

luxorious master bath updated

What is the ROI to Refinish a Tub? 

Project costs are generally low and the end result can be transformative, so the return on investment or ROI of refinishing bathtubs tends to be high. Because this project is often done in conjunction with other updates, the exact ROI of a bathtub refinish is hard to determine. Based on our past projects, minor bathroom refreshes that include projects like refinishing the tub, painting cabinets, and deep cleaning have an average ROI of 256%.5 

How to Refinish a Bathtub 

Refinishing a tub is a multi-step process. It usually takes a few hours to complete, and the tub will be ready for use in a day or so.  

The process to refinish a bathtub includes the following steps: 

  1. Prepping the area- This step includes setting up a proper ventilation system, removing hardware, and turning off the water.  
  1. Deep cleaning – The next step to refinishing a bathtub is to remove the caulking and do a deep clean with bleach.
  1. Protecting necessary areas– Once the tub is clean, use tape to mask off the borders to the surrounding walls and floor.  
  1. Removing the existing glaze- Using etching powder and an abrasive pad, remove the existing glaze.
  1. Sanding– Sanding the tub smooths the surface and helps the new finish stick.  
  1. Priming the bathtub– Before adding the epoxy coating, a layer of primer is typically recommended.
  1. Reglazing the tub– Reglazing the bathtub involves mixing and applying the epoxy coating.  
  1. Doing finishing touches– Once the bathtub is dry, the tub is re-caulked, hardware is reinstalled, and general cleanup can be done.  

There are DIY kits for bathtub refinishing if you are trying to save money on labor costs, but trying to do this project on your own has some downfalls. The process involves the use of harsh chemicals including methylene chloride that can cause side effects like dizziness, headaches, nausea, and respiratory irritation.5  

Hiring a general contractor to reglaze a bathtub is another option but likely requires paying upfront, and some contractors can be unreliable. If neither option sounds great, we may be able to help. Unlike traditional general contractors, our contractors are vetted professionals who focus on pre-sale updates, and we defer payment until after closing. We can also help you determine the best ROI home improvements to ensure the house sells for a good price and you walk away with more money.  

If you have small home improvement projects to do before you sell, let us help. Contact us today to learn more about working with us.  


  1. Surface Restoration (2020). Restoration Color Choices 
  2. In Touch Refinishing.  
  3. This Old House (2023). How Much Does Bathtub Refinishing Cost? (2023 Guide) 
  4. Forbes (2023). How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Bathtub In 2023? 
  5. Curbio (2022). Preparing to Sell: 2022 Home Improvement Report   
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2013). Dangers of Bathtub Refinishing 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is bathtub refinishing worth it?

So long as it is in good working condition, refinishing a bathtub does tend to be worth it because it can significantly improve the appearance of a tub without the high cost of replacing it. Especially if you are selling your home soon, a stained or chipped tub can be a turnoff for buyers.

How long does a refinished tub last?

Refinishing a bathtub will typically help extend the life of the tub by ten or so years barring plumbing issues.

Is bathtub refinishing dangerous?

Without following safety precautions like creating proper ventilation, refinishing bathtubs can be dangerous because of the use of toxic chemicals and their fumes. If you are thinking about refinishing your tub on your own, make sure you take all the proper safety precautions. 

Ready to Get Started?

Get Your Free Same-Day Estimate