Bathtub Installation Costs
A bathtub is often the focal point of a bathroom, but it can also be the most costly component. In fact, when completing a bathroom renovation, it will probably be the biggest expense – in both labor and parts. There are many factors involved for any bathtub installation or replacement, as both the labor and parts can vary greatly based on the individual bathroom and your personal preference.
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Table of Contents
- Bathtub Installation Cost
- Types of Bathtubs
- Bathtub Styles
- Plumbing Costs
- Bathtub Liner Costs
- Bathtub Refinishing Costs
- Find Pros
Bathtub Installation Cost
The type of bathtub that can be used will certainly make a difference in the total cost. In some instances, only a certain dimension or shape can be used due to constraints within the bathroom itself. Similarly, the location of the bathroom within the house can also affect the price. As you might expect, the harder the bathroom is to access, the higher the labor costs.
Nonetheless, as you can see in the graph above, most bathtub installation projects come in between $1,100 and $3,000, with the average price in at $2,500. Bear in mind, we have seen bathtub replacements go as high as $8,350.
Types of Bathtubs
While labor will certainly add to the total bathtub addition or replacement price, the actual tub you choose will play the largest role. In fact, each and every bathtub material can largely affect the total investment.
The most cost-efficient bathtub on the market is fiberglass. It’s one of the most readily available options on the market and should not cost more than $500. However, fiberglass does not hold in heat as well as some of the following options. As such, don’t be surprised if your warm bath turns into an uncomfortable cold after 15 minutes.
Acrylic is one of the most versatile tubs on the market. If you have an oddly shaped designation for your bathtub, acrylic is probably your best bet. Furthermore, acrylic tubs can also stand the test of time, making it a great option for families with young children.
In terms of cost, acrylic falls in the middle of the bathtub spectrum. Without installation, you’re most likely looking at a $600 price tag. However, depending on your size and design, the price could swell to $900.
If you’re going for a more rustic or industrial look, steel is the way to go. In fact, many steel bathtubs are confused for cast iron tubs (a more expensive option discussed below). Steel tubs are light, easily maneuverable and among the least expensive of tubs. While their starting price is low, $300, there are a few drawbacks all homeowners must know.
First, steel tubs chip easily because lighter steel flexes. Second, as you might expect, steel tubs are anything but quiet. Therefore, if you’re using your steel tub as part of a shower-tub combo, don’t expect much silence.
Cast Iron Bathtubs
Moving up the bathtub spectrum, we get to cast iron, perhaps one of the most visually appealing tubs on the market. They’re extremely durable due to its solid metal cores and are virtually immune to internal damage.
Cast iron tubs are also popular because they transfer heat better than any other tub on the market. Once the tub is full of hot water, it will stay hot for the duration of your bath. The same can’t be said of acrylic or fiberglass tubs.
Of course, those advantages, as well as its updated look, don’t come without a price. According to our material estimator, cast iron tubs (before installation) can cost up to $2,500.
Cultured Marble Bathtubs
Finally, we get the top of the mountain with cultured marble bathtubs. There are two types that vary in price. If you don’t want to spend more than $2,000, you can install a cultured marble surround around your existing tub. On the other hand, if you purchase a brand new tub enclosed by cultured marble, the overall purchase price will be closer to $2,300.
With that price comes one of the most luxurious and elegant bathtubs on the market. In fact, if you plan on selling the home in the near future, a cultured marble tub will greatly increase your odds as remodeled bathrooms reign supreme for home sales.
Finally, cultured marble requires very little maintenance since it is not very porous.
Once you have picked out your material, you’ll have to consider the style. As time has evolved, bathtub styles have matured from the traditional alcove style where your bathtub fit snuggly in the corner of your bathroom. While these general bathtubs are still prominent today, updated and modern styles have fortunately flooded the market.
Recessed tubs are the classic bathtubs tucked inside three walls where only one side is visible. The sizes are limited by the space you have on your walls. While this option is cheaper than some of the other styles, they are not as aesthetically pleasing as the rest.
Much like recessed tubs, corner tubs fit exactly where the name says it does. Unlike general tubs, two sides of the tub are visible. However, they can have a straight or curved design going out. Depending on the size of your bathroom, most corner tubs are five feet long.
If you really want to take your bathtub experience to the next level, opt for a freestanding tub, also known as clawfoot or a soaker. If you search for remodeled bathrooms on Pinterest or homes for sale, they almost always have a soaker tub. It is the absolute focal point of any bathroom.
Furthermore, soakers are much deeper than your average bathtub. As such, soakers are more expensive than corner tubs. Nevertheless, the second you take a dip in your deep soaker tub, you instantaneously forget the installation cost.
Finally, if you want the full spa experience right in your bathroom, consider installing a whirlpool bathtub. Just like a Jacuzzi, Whirpool tubs offer massage water jets, something you simply can’t imitate with any other bathtub. If you’re looking for a relaxing tub to help you heal after a tough workout, Whirlpools are for you.
Bear in mind, extra plumbing and electricity may be necessary. If so, expect your bathtub installation price to go up.
If you’re installing a bigger bathtub or changing its location, then additional plumbing may be necessary. Sadly, drain lines only run in certain areas of your bathroom. If you want to move a bathtub to the opposite side, you could pay as much as $1,100. Needless to say, given the complexity of your piping system, we highly recommend calling in a professional plumber. They not only ensure quality work, but also compliance with your local building codes.
Bathtub Liner Costs
With all bathtub installation costs out of the way, we turn to a few alternatives. Before you replace your entire bathtub, consider replacing your bathtub liner. Over time, all bathtubs will show some wear and tear, but fortunately, a cheaper alternative to full replacement is changing out the bathtub liner, or the surface of the bathtub.
While the average price to replace a bathtub liner is $2,400 with installation, DIY homeowners can vastly lower the cost by removing the old liner, some of the surrounding tile and grout, drain and overflow. By doing this, you’re essentially eliminating a timely project your bathtub pro would otherwise have to complete.
Bathtub Refinishing Costs
Another terrific way to bring new life to your dated tub is through refinishing. Bathtub refinishing is essentially a form of deep cleaning, but with a little more effort, you get much stronger results. While it can be timely, bathtub refinishing doesn’t cost more than $142 and can be completed for less if you choose to take it on as a DIY project.
If you DIY, just know that there are a lot of materials and tools in play. Some of those materials and tools include:
- Bathtub Refinishing Kit
- Paint Roller
- Utility Knife
- Paint Stripper
- Abrasive Cleaner
- Masking Tape
- Masking Paper
- Rubber Gloves
- Abrasive Pad
Like most home remodeling projects, there is a long way and short way to complete the project. The long way does provide a more thorough covering, but the short route gets the job done.
See both routes at How To Refinish (Reglaze) A Bathtub.
Find A Pro
Bathtub installation is no small project, but unlike most elements in the bathroom, it can immensely improving your bathing experience and provide an eye-catching focal point you’ve been missing.
As always, ImproveNet is here to help. Click here to connect with up to four bathtub pros for free!
Last updated on Jan 12, 2017
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