When your bathtub begins to show serious signs of chipping, staining, or cracking, you may want to start consider whether to make repairs or to replace the entire unit. This is essentially a decision between doing a refinishing job or purchasing a new bathtub altogether. Depending on whether you are interested in transforming the look of your bathroom in a big way, there are benefits to either option.
Regardless of the reason for making one change or another to your bathtub scenario, there are several things to bear in mind when making your final decision.
Facts About Bathtub Refinishing Processes
Prior to reviewing the benefits and possible drawbacks of each alternative, it may be wise to cover exactly what refinishing entails in the bathtub context. To refinish a bathtub is to repair the surface of the tub by sanding it down and applying a new coating to it. This can be conceptualized as akin to an application of nail police. You are simply adding a cosmetic finish over the top of what already exists.
With that said, a key consideration when deciding to replace or to refinish is the current state of the tub itself. Though a refinishing job is less expensive that a full replacement, it does not solve every problem.
For instance, refinishing is likely insufficient to solve serious holes or cracking in the tub’s surface. However, if you have a tub that is in solid shape and is simply plagued by staining, discoloration, and some minor scratches or chips, it can make sense to opt for refinishing. This is also a great way to go if you want to adjust the color of the tub to compliment a new bathroom design scheme.
Tub Type Matters
There are certain kinds of tubs that respond better to refinishing that other types. Models made of steel and cast iron are great for refinishing, but newer, cheaper-made tubs do not take to refinishing nearly as effectively. These differences underscore the issue of cost in this decision. Think about whether the cost of a new tub is roughly equal to what a refinishing job will run and make a choice accordingly.
For those with high-end or antique tubs, it is usually cheaper to go with a refinish rather than a replacement. Modern fiberglass tubs can often go either way, in terms of cost comparison.
Logistics Of Tub Replacement
Keep in mind that pulling out and replacing a cast-iron tub is an arduous undertaking. Do you have the ability to remove a tub that weighs upwards of 400 pounds? Is your tub situated in a hard-to-reach upstairs bathroom? If so, remember how expensive the labor required to handle such a moving job would be. If moving your tub would be an extremely cumbersome process, it may be best to explore refinishing instead of replacement.
Think carefully about your overall goal with the tub. If you are doing a complete bathroom overhaul, you may prefer to purchase a whole new tub with a new design. But, if you are just seeking to address some cosmetic issues that are minor in nature, you may be fully satisfied with a refinish.
The Bottom Line
In the end, it is sometimes the case that a bathtub replacement is the only way to get the desired results, but for a large number of people, refinishing will provide the desired outcome at an affordable price.