Bath liners, including those sold under the Bath Fitter brand name, consist of sheets of acrylic molded to fit over the tub, giving it a fresh new look. These liners cost much less than a new bathtub, generally ringing in between $800 and $1,000, though wall panels and other extras can increase the price.
While you may be able to get a tub liner for $1,000 or so, keep in mind that this covers the tub only. If you want matching wall panels, a shower surround or special features like shelves, grab bars or built-in soap dishes, your price will typically increase. For example, one bath refinishing company estimates a price $1,295 for a plain white three-walled shower surround with built-in soap dish, with the price rising to $2,395 to also include a tub liner.
Keep in mind that these prices reflect tub liners in general, and you may pay a premium for a brand name product. For example, Bath Fitter estimates that any bathroom renovation that includes a bath and/or shower renovation, new tub or shower, or a tub to shower conversion will cost a minimum of $1,000, though the price can go much higher, especially if you plan changes to elements beyond the tub and/or shower itself. Always contact a company directly to determine how much your particular project will cost. Many companies, including Bath Fitter, offer free in-home consultations to help you understand cost and scope.
Ways to Save
You may be able to save money on a bathtub liner by paying upfront, or by paying your contractor in cash. Always ask how you can get the best deal before agreeing on a price.
Things to Consider
While tub lining is an easy and affordable way to change the color of your bath or cover hard-to-clean tiles, it's not the best choice for every bathroom. Liners are not designed to cover problems like mold, rot, or other serious signs of damage. They also can't be used on most jetted or claw-foot tubs, and some installers may refuse to work with fiberglass tubs due to the potential for poor results.
Warnings and Tips
Protect yourself from unscrupulous businesses by taking the time to secure three estimates anytime you hire a contractor of any kind. This helps you paint a true picture of the cost for your particular project, and helps you avoid any bids that are too low or too high. In addition to securing three bids, other smart contractor selection strategies include checking references; reviewing licensing, insurance and other paperwork provided by the contractor; insisting on a written contract and paying by check instead of shelling out cash.