Tub Turnover: Replacement vs. Repair
Home ownership is not for the faint hearted. There's always
something that needs scraping, nailing, painting, etc. Take the
tub. This seemingly simple fixture can be a big deal to replace,
says Better Homes and Gardens--such a big deal that you may want
to consider refinishing or relining your existing tub instead.
The tub tear-out process is basically a mini bath remodel
involving floors, plumbing lines, and walls. Whatever option you
choose, make sure you're comfortable with it. It's too much work
to do all over again.
For the tub with scrapes and bruises, relining or refinishing
gives you a new look. Home improvement companies specialize in
tub makeovers. You can apply polyurethane coating for a nice,
hard, high-gloss surface. Or install an acrylic liner molded
exactly to size with the style you want.
If it's a brand new tub that you want, your first step is
choosing a material and price range. The least expensive is
enameled steel, at around $150. Unfortunately, it's also more
prone to chipping and conducts heat quickly so your hot bath
doesn't stay hot as long compared to other materials. Plastic,
i.e., fiberglass or acrylic, is a flexible material that
insulates well, lasts long, and can be molded into the shape or
design of your choice: price tag about $250. Just watch out for
abrasive cleaners. Cast polymer costs a little more than
acrylic but offers marble, granite, onyx and other attractive
faux finishes. It's less durable, however, and prone to cracking
over time. Look for brands certified by the Cultured Marble
Institute or the Institute of Associated Plumbing and Mechanical
Cast iron and composite materials are at the upper end of the
price range. Cast iron coated with enamel insulates well.
Iron tubs are strong, durable and heavy to the tune of 350-500
pounds. Finally, new composites are now available that combine
the best traits of heavy-gauge steel, porcelain enamel and
resins. You'll pay about $350 for a cast iron or composite tub.