Cost of a bathtub replacement
Average bathtub replacement costs range from $600 to $10,000
Bathroom remodels are one of the most popular home renovations, but these makeovers can come with a hefty price tag, especially if they include bathtub replacement. You could spend anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars replacing your tub, depending on the scope of your project, whether you do the work yourself, what kind of bathtub you choose and the current condition of your space.
We talked to representatives from five different bath and plumbing companies around the U.S. and Canada to get real-world estimates of what you can expect to spend. Keep reading to learn what they told us, what’s involved in a bathtub replacement, how the scope of your project affects your costs, how much you may spend on labor, what different types of tubs cost and how you can get help paying for your renovations.
- The cost of replacing a bathtub varies significantly, and your choices can have a big influence on your overall cost.
- You may need a professional to assess your space for an accurate estimate.
- You can expect to recover 71% of the cost of a bathroom remodel when you sell your home, according to the National Association of Realtors 2022 Remodeling Impact Report.
How to replace a bathtub
Whether you’re doing the work yourself or hiring a contractor to replace your tub, it’s important to understand the steps involved. We’ve broken down the basic steps required to replace a bathtub so you know what you’re in for either way.
If you want a new tub, you’ll need to get the old one out first. Removal costs are usually included in your quote if you’re working with a contractor. They’re generally not more than $100, but if you have a larger tub or one made from cast iron, the cost may increase.
Homebuilders typically install tubs during the framing stage before they put walls or doors in. So, if you have a tub that can’t fit through the door, it may need to be broken into smaller pieces first.
The last step in getting rid of your old tub is making sure it and whatever other materials you’re taking out are disposed of properly. Your options for disposal may depend on what your old tub is made of, but make sure you abide by local construction and demolition (C&D) waste regulations.
If you’re disposing of your old tub yourself, contact your local waste disposal service to ask about the rules in your area. Alternatively, if your tub is still in good condition, consider donating it to a nonprofit home improvement store, like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores.
A new tub installation often requires modifications to the area around your tub. Even if the existing space is the right size and configuration for your new tub, you may need to redo your tub surround or repair the subfloor if there is water damage.
The installation process depends on the type and size of tub you want and what your existing bathroom can accommodate.
You may need plumbing upgrades, new faucets, a larger water heater or new wiring for a jetted tub. Also, if you’ve opted for a one-piece tub surround, it may be too large to fit through a standard doorway, and the contractor will have to remove the door frame to get it in.
As you establish a budget for replacing your bathtub, remember to keep the scope of the project in mind — this is one of the biggest factors affecting your overall costs. Just think of it this way: Swapping out an old tub with a similar model will likely cost you far less than a full bathroom renovation.
Our panel of bathtub replacement providers helped us put together the following estimates for what different jobs may cost you.
|Project scope||Price range||Average price|
|Replacing a bathtub with a similar tub||$1,200 to $2,500||$1,500|
|Replacing a bathtub with a shower||$1,200 to $8,000||$3,000|
|Replacing a standard bathtub with a jetted tub||$1,500 to $10,000||$6,000|
|Reconfiguring the bathroom layout||$2,500 to $15,000+||$8,800|
Once you’ve established the type of project you’re undertaking, your total costs mostly depend on the type of tub you choose and the cost of labor.
If you’re handy, your least expensive option is purchasing a simple tub and installing it yourself. However, if the tub you picked doesn’t fit in your space or isn’t compatible with your existing plumbing, you may have to call a professional anyway.
On the flip side, doing all the work through a plumber or contractor from the outset can stave off potential headaches. However, it will be more expensive since you’ll have to pay for labor, and trying to save money by choosing the cheapest installer might backfire on you. Because you can end up spending thousands of dollars on a bathtub replacement, it’s important to use a company with a reputation for quality work.
Jake Romano, a manager at a plumbing company in Ottawa called John The Plumber, advised against skimping on labor costs. “I strongly recommend calling a legitimate plumbing company because there is a vast difference between a skilled, licensed and insured plumber and some random individual you find online,” Romano said. “A big part of our workload is fixing the work of lesser plumbers.”
While it may be expensive upfront, working with a reputable installer can be worth it in the long run. A reviewer from New Suffolk, New York, had this to say about their bathtub replacement by Kohler when a ConsumerAffairs representative talked to them on the phone: “I'm a disabled veteran. I had a Jacuzzi tub installed in there about maybe five, six years ago. It became a hazard for me, unfortunately … so we decided, well, we better switch over to the full shower.
“They put up all brand new walls. … And they put in all new plumbing. Oh, and the best feature is that the entire system, everything, has a lifetime warranty. Even if there's a leak in a wall, whatever, because they did all the plumbing, everything, they come and take care of everything for life.”
Labor and installation costs
Labor charges are often the bulk of your total costs, and you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $2,500 for installation, according to the home repair people we spoke with. This may seem like a lot, but that includes permits, demolition, removal and disposal of the old tub, reconfiguring of the space and plumbing, electrical work (if necessary), installation and cleanup.
Here’s what you can expect to pay for various parts of the installation process.
Some local ordinances require homeowners to obtain building permits any time the existing plumbing or wiring is reconfigured. While permit costs vary, you could be spending hundreds of dollars on permits alone in some jurisdictions.
Demo and removal
Demolition and removal costs depend on the type of tub you’re taking out. If you’re swapping out a standard acrylic tub, this shouldn’t cost you more than $50 to $150. However, if you need to dispose of an old cast iron tub, you’re looking at higher costs because they’re substantially heavier and more difficult to maneuver. You often have to break them apart to remove them.
Even the simplest installations can require some extra work, whether that’s installing new drywall, redoing tile or painting the area surrounding your tub. You may also need to reinforce or repair the subfloor the tub sits on. The materials for these additional tasks can often run you anywhere from $100 to $2,000, depending on the scope of the work.
Most tub replacements will need new fittings, and depending on the state of your plumbing, you may need to replace some pipes or install a new drain for a larger tub. These costs are generally as low as $300 or as high as $1,900.
You’ll likely only need electrical work if you’re installing a jetted tub, but this means working with a licensed electrician as well as a plumber. Most jetted tubs need a dedicated 15- to 20-amp circuit, which requires running new wire and updating your electrical panel. This could cost anywhere from $500 to $1,500.
Costs by bathtub material
If you’re on a tight budget, choosing a more affordable tub is a good way to keep your costs low since it’s completely within your control. Acrylic and fiberglass models will save you the most, but if you’re committed to the look of marble or copper, expect to pay a lot more.
Here’s a breakdown of what you might pay for various types of bathtubs, not including any labor or installation.
|Tub material||Price range||Average price|
|Acrylic||$350 to $1,000||$500|
|Fiberglass||$200 to $1,200||$600|
|Porcelain||$400 to $2,000||$800|
|Cast iron||$500 to $2,000||$1,300|
|Marble||$2,000 to $5,000||$3,500|
|Copper||$2,500 to $35,000||$6,000|
How to pay for a bathtub replacement
The cost of replacing a tub could be more than you have in your savings, and full bathroom remodels can be even more expensive. That’s why many homeowners look to financing options as a way to pay for renovations.
If you’ve planned out your bathtub replacement and have a solid cost estimate, a home equity loan, home improvement loan or cash-out refinance can provide a lump sum large enough to cover all your costs.
Alternatively, you could opt for a home equity line of credit (HELOC) if you aren’t exactly sure how much you’ll need for the project. HELOCs allow you to draw from a line of credit that uses your home as collateral.
All told, there are a variety of ways to pay for a bathtub replacement, and the right choice for you will depend on your financial situation and preferences. Whichever you choose, shop around for low rates and make sure you don’t borrow more than you can afford to pay back.
How long does it take to replace a bathtub?
Some bathtubs can be replaced in a day if the materials are available and there aren’t any surprises under the floorboards or other work involved. Play it safe by planning to be without a working tub for at least two days.
If water damage is found or your project has a larger scope, plan for a longer timeline and, if you’ve hired professional help, added labor costs.
How much does it cost to replace your tub with a walk-in tub?
Walk-in tub prices vary considerably, starting between $2,000 and $5,000 for a simple soaking tub and potentially exceeding $20,000 for specialty models, like bariatric tubs. This may seem expensive, but aging-in-place modifications like this are often more affordable than alternatives like assisted living.
Is bathtub replacement covered in a home warranty?
Typically, a bathtub replacement isn’t included in a home warranty. However, related components might be.
Home warranty coverage helps protect you from paying out of pocket for repairs when your home systems or appliances fail. So, while choosing to update your bathtub usually wouldn’t be covered, a home warranty could help you pay to fix your plumbing, toilet or other bathroom fixtures. Some home warranty companies also offer coverage for jetted tubs, which might be worth the cost if your new tub has that feature.
- Article sources
- ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. To learn more about the content on our site, visit our FAQ page. Specific sources for this article include:
- National Association of Realtors (NAR), “2022 Remodeling Impact Report.” Accessed August 10, 2022.
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