Why choose a tub liner over a full tub replacement?

Why choose a tub liner over a full tub replacement?

woman sitting on edge of bathtub in pajamas, smiling

If your bathtub is old, outdated, dull, scratched, chipped, faded, stained, or rusted, and you are thinking about replacing it, you have a few options. You can remove the existing bathtub, replace the bathtub, or cover the existing bathtub with a bathtub liner.


Removing the old tub

The Process Removing a bathtub can be difficult as well as a messy task. First, the drain flange and overflow cover need to be disconnected. The tub then needs to be removed and disposed of, typically in sections and with different techniques and tools; a sledgehammer to break up a cast iron tub and a reciprocating saw to cut up the steel, fiberglass, or composite tub. You dispose of a porcelain-coated steel tub without breaking it up (a medium to large-sized porcelain-coated steel tub weighs between 320 pounds to 500 pounds!).

Once your tub is out, you will need to buy and move the new tub unit into your house. Getting the tub into the bathroom can be easier said than done, again depending upon the type of material and size. Contractors are known to place a bathtub first and build the bathroom around it. Therefore, space can be tight and unforgiving. Before setting the new tub into place, you may need to replace the subfloor and wall due to age and water damage. The subfloor needs to be level, and the tub placed securely. The final process is to reinstall the drain flange and overflow cover.

Issues It is easy to damage flooring, walls, tile, and plumbing when you remove and dispose of your old tub. This entire process will put your bathtub out of commission for days or even weeks.

The Cost- The tub is usually the least expensive part of a new tub remodel. According to Home Advisor, below are the average costs to remove and install a bathtub. These numbers do not include any potential repairs from damage:


Task                                       Average Cost range

  • Tub Removal                                  $50 – $100
  • Fix & Prepare Surface                  $300 – $800
  • Bathtub                                           $200 – $14,000
  • Wall Surround (optional)            $500 -$2,000
  • New Faucets                                   $50 – $900
  • Install Plumbing                           $400 – $1,900

 Total without the wall                   $1,000 – $20,000


Keeping the existing tub and installing a bathtub liner:

The Process- A cost-effective and timesaving alternative to removing the tub is to install a custom-made acrylic tub liner. If your current bathtub is stable and provides a sturdy foundation, a tub liner installation can make your existing tub an elegant and new bathing solution. Most tubs are functioning correctly and need a cosmetic refresh. Why take the risk of damaging floors, walls, and fixtures that are perfectly fine to remove a tub. Bath Fitter has a one-day solution.

The Bath Fitter process begins with an extensive and precise measurement to identify your bathtub. Yes, all bathtubs have a specific manufacture and identity. Bath Fitter has over 650 tubs molds. We make a custom bath liner by thermoforming (heating) the 1/4-inch acrylic sheet until it becomes pliable and then form it to the tub mold's shape. The liner is a perfect watertight fit over your existing bathtub. Before installation, our Bath Fitter technician will clean, sanitize, and prep the current bath area and make necessary repairs. Once installed, this is a permanent solution.

Issues- Tub liners are fully waterproof, but water can get under the liner if it is not custom-made from the existing tub’s exact mold. That is why many acrylic bath remodeling companies choose not to provide liners over bathtubs. It is easier (and more expensive) for them to remove your bathtub and replace it. Bath Fitter only makes liners from their accumulated arsenal of bathtub molds, so they fit like a glove. Water can also seep under the tub liner when the existing tile walls crack or break, causing gaps near the liner. Installing an acrylic wall surround over the tile wall can help prevent this potential dilemma.

Cost- An acrylic bathtub liner is an affordable and long-term solution. There is no demolition and installed in as little as a day. Compared to the cost of removing and replacing a bathtub, going this route is considered a better value for your money.