To Replace or Not to Replace? That is the Question

fiberglass bathtub installationWith the excitement of the New Year comes the excitement of getting a head start on planning your spring or summer bathroom remodeling project. After all, what better way to stave off cabin fever than to get busy designing the bathroom of your dreams?

However, while planning your bathroom remodeling projects, it’s important to consider two factors: time and money. After all, time is money, right? While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of of planning and exploring different bathroom designs, it’s important to consider other, more affordable alternatives that can yield comparable — if not better results –for less money.

For example, you may be leaning towards total bathtub replacement. Out with the old, in with the new, right? Not so fast. Though you may think you’ve accounted for the cost of a new tub in bathroom remodeling budget, fiberglass bathtub installation may have a few hidden costs that can turn a seemingly simple project into an expensive renovation nightmare.

While the cost of the average new bathtub may not seem like much ($200-$300), this does not include the cost of fiberglass bathtub installation. During the installation process, it’s common for contractors to run into unexpected problems such as damaged or outdated plumbing. These problems are especially common in older houses, such as those built during the Victorian era. In order for the new tub to be installed, the plumbing must be completely replaced, turning what was expected to be a simple swap into an expensive, labor-intensive job.

In addition, bathtub disposal and landfill fees can further drive up the cost of fiberglass bathtub installation. These mandatory fees vary from county to county, however, according to the website, the average cost is between approximately $60 to $130.

Luckily, replacing a tub isn’t the only alternative in regards to updating the look of your shower or soaking bathtub. Tub refinishing, also known as tub resurfacing, is an excellent way to give your bathtub a makeover for nearly the same cost as purchasing a new tub (this includes the labor involved while refinishing).

During the bathtub refinishing process, chips and crack in your bathtub’s surface are filled with with Bondo or another kind of putty. The surface is then sanded and re-enameled in order to restore it to a like-new condition. The top coat can be restored to the tub’s original color or can be matched to any color of your choice, making tub refinishing an ideal choice for those who are using a specific color scheme in their renovations. In addition, tub resurfacing requires far less labor than replacing a bathtub, as the entire process can be completed within a day.

So, if you’re looking for a way to cut back on bathroom remodeling costs but don’t want to sacrifice the project’s aesthetics, consider tub refinishing.