Cheap Alternatives to Bathtub Liners

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.
There are cheap alternatives to bathtub liners.
Image Credit: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Not all bathtubs stand the test of time, and if you are thinking that yours needs replacing, there may be more affordable and practical alternatives. Replacing a whole bathtub can easily cost thousands of dollars and may involve fixing the floor, walls and plumbing. Some homeowners decide to use bathtub liners and install the liners on their own to cut costs. You can also consider cheap alternatives to bathtub liners, which may be a good choice.


Different Types of Liners

The most popular type of bathtub liner is made from acrylic. These liners measure about 1/4 inch thick, and they are strong and durable. They come in different colors, and they can be resistant to chips and cracks. PVC bathtub liners look more like plastic, and they are not as durable as acrylic. They also come in different colors, and they are less costly than acrylic.


Video of the Day

These liners can be ordered through and installed by professionals, but you may choose to install a liner on your own. First, prepare the tub by cleaning it out with denatured alcohol and a rag. Then, the remove the knobs from the tub fixtures. Apply a strong tub adhesive evenly all over the tub's surface.

Place the liner in the tub and carefully cut it to fit with a utility knife. Press down the liner well, ensuring that all the air bubbles are gone. You might need to use a towel to press along the liner, smoothing it out to the edges. Finally, use a sealer around its outside edge to ensure that it stays on tightly and caulk around the edge of the tub when you are finished.


An Inexpensive Alternative

Bathtub liners have to be custom made to fit, so even if you install one yourself, it could involve long waiting periods. It may be possible to refinish or reglaze the bathtub, which is easier, faster and cheaper. This only works with certain types of tubs, though. You can hire a pro to do it, or you may choose to do it yourself with a bathtub refinishing kit.


To prepare the area, first turn off the water source, clean the tub and remove any existing caulk. You will then need to take off the faucet and drain hardware, cover the surfaces near the tub and ventilate the space with a fan or by opening a window.

Then, you can follow the kit's instructions, which will specify how to further prepare the tub. While the bathtub is curing (for about 48 hours), keep the bathroom well ventilated. Finally, reinstall the tub's faucet and hardware and caulk your newly refinished bathtub.


Another Bathtub Refinishing Option

If you choose a tub refinishing kit that can be finished in less than one day, be sure to check the package to see what types of tub surfaces are compatible. Once applied, these kits can provide a shiny, waterproof finish that almost looks like porcelain.


Even if you are using one of these options, remember to take the proper safety precautions, like proper ventilation. Wear safety goggles and safety gloves. You can also wear a respirator to protect yourself from inhalation of dangerous particles.

It is also important to give the bathtub enough time to dry; otherwise, it could be damaged if you use it too soon.



Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...