A full bathtub replacement is hugely expensive, not to mention inconvenient. You may have to go days or even weeks without this essential part of your home. However, there are two main options for salvaging that old tub, at a fraction of the cost. These two options are to either have the tub resurfaced or fit with a new bathtub liner. It can be confusing to determine which of these options is the best for your situation, so below we’ve broken down the differences between the two.

Bathtub Refinishing and Bathtub Liners

What are they?

Tub inlaySimply put, bathtub refinishing is the process of cleaning and smoothing the surface of the tub, and then spraying or painting a lasting coating over the top. Though it is possible to DIY, we recommend hiring a professional refinisher to take on this type of job, as it involves working with numerous volatile chemicals and professional equipment.

Bathtub liners are custom-fit and measured to the exact proportions of a bathtub. The liners must be ordered from a company and are then installed by that company over the top of your existing tub.

What are the benefits?

acrylic tubRefinishing is by far the most affordable option when it comes to fixing up an old tub. Hiring a professional refinisher to service your tub can cost only a few hundred dollars, depending on the project. Refinished tubs also look and feel nicer than any other fix-up option. The extremely thin layer of coating placed on the tub makes it look and feel just like the original. And, refinished bathtubs can last upwards of 10 years where the coatings have been applied by a professional refinisher and the surfaces have been properly cleaned and cared for.

Some homeowners may prefer liners because the installation process is cleaner. Because the contractors are simply placing a lining over the tub, there is no messy work involving sanding and spraying. If correctly installed, a liner also has a very high longevity.

What are the drawbacks?

As previously stated, the clean-up process involved in refinishing a tub by DIY can be cumbersome and certain products used in the refinishing process can also produce a strong odor that is bothersome to some homeowners.

Liners are more expensive than refinishing, often costing close to $1000. They are also susceptible to water leakage underneath the liner, which can lead to extreme damage to the original tub. Since liners are thicker, they also reduce the amount of space available inside the tub.

The bottom line

Except for a few special circumstances, we recommend refinishing as the right option for most homes. Hiring a professional refinisher will assure the job is done right – the first time. The premium results delivered by a refinishing professional makes bathtubs look and feel just like new while saving you valued time, money and the headaches that accompany DIY projects. Professional refinishing gives your bathtub new life at a lower cost than liners! NAPCO can help you find a refinisher in your area who uses NAPCO’s top-notch refinishing products. Check out our “find a refinisher” portal to connect with a professional near you!