If you want to give your bathtub a total makeover but you are not willing to spend a whole lot of bucks on tub replacement, you usually have two options: tub reglazing vs bathtub liners. These options will surely meet your needs of having a renewed bathtub at the fraction of the cost and hassle of replacing it entirely.

Both of these options share one attractive feature: your current tub stays in place. This takes away the mess of demolition from the equation. Except for this common element, though, the two options are quite different and in this guide, we will help you arrive at a decision so that you could determine which option best suits your situation. 

What is a Bathtub Liner?

Like a cover, a bathtub liner is a liner molded out of PVC or acrylic that is fitted over and glued to your current tub. This gives your tub a brand new look without the hassle of installing one. It does not fix the existing problems of your current tub, though. Instead, it only covers the imperfections with a new liner.

What is Tub Reglazing / Refinishing?

Bathtub reglazing or refinishing is a process that revamps an old, stained, and chipped bathtub so that it would look and feel brand new. This is achieved by spraying an acrylic top coating of your choice to create a surface that is as smooth, glossy, and durable as the original porcelain tub.

On What Aspects Should I Compare the Two?

The only similarity between bathtub liner and tub reglazing is that in both options, you do not have to replace your old tub. Other than that, though, they are completely different. Take a look at the following aspects and see which among the two is better.

This is perhaps the most important consideration you should ponder upon when deciding whether to get tub liners or tub refinishing. Obviously, you would want a sustainable and long-lasting solution so that you can get more bang for your bucks.

A bathtub liner lasts for one or two years before the surface cracks or breaks. Once there is even a teeny tiny crack on your liner, you would have to replace it because water will inevitably seep through it and get trapped between the tub liner and your old tub.

When this happens, the standing water will harbor molds and mildew, which could cause diseases and an unpleasant, musty smell in your bathroom. Clearly, plastering bathtub liners is nothing but a band-aid solution.

On the other hand, bathtub refinishing is a process that guarantees durability and tub longevity. A reglazed bathtub can last for about 10 to 15 years if you care for it properly, which can be longer than the lifespan of a brand-new bathtub.

Since the acrylic coat is sprayed on top of the tub itself and reinforced with a top-quality bonding agent, there is no chance that water will seep under it and cause mold growth. Even if the top coat cracks, you can always reglaze it to fix the problem. Hence, refinishing is definitely a better choice than tub liners when it comes to durability.

Winner: Tub refinishing

For budget conscious homeowners, the cost of the renovation is a big factor to consider. Although costs vary depending on the company, refinishing is usually less expensive than bathtub liners. Bathtub refinishing starts at around $550, and is guaranteed to last for more than 10 years if properly taken care of.

On the other hand, bathtub liner’s costs begin at around $850 for the PVC type. If you want to opt for higher-end acrylic liners, expect to pay significantly higher costs. Moreover, you are paying higher expenses for a liner that will only last for a year or two.

As such, no matter how much we compare the two, you will get more bang for your buck by opting for tub refinishing instead of tub liners.

Winner: Tub refinishing

Tub Reglazing vs Bathtub Liners

If you are revamping your old tub, there is a high chance that you are doing so to refresh how it looks so that it will match your bathroom’s aesthetics. As such, the appearance of the restored bathtub is also a crucial consideration. 

In terms of finished appearance, bathtub refinishing produces better results because the process maintains the exact contours of your current bathtub. If done by a professional, it would not even be noticeable that it has been refinished as the end product will appear smooth, glossy, and totally flawless–as if it is indeed a new tub.

Bathtub liners, on the other hand, are usually made of plastic. As such, the surface looks and feels like plastic. It takes away the premium appearance of ceramic tubs, and certainly makes it look cheaper than it actually is. Moreover, PVC liners tend to yellow with age, and they are thinner than acrylic. 

Winner: Tub refinishing

If you are aiming for bold colors that would suit your bathroom’s adventurous aesthetics, then you are better off refinishing your old tub. Although most customers choose white for a clean, minimalist look, tub refinishing is available at a slightly higher price in virtually any color you can think of, so you do have more freedom to choose any shade of color you want.

Meanwhile, tub liners are only usually offered in five colors including white, almond, biscuit, gray and black so you don’t have much of a choice.

Winner: Tub refinishing

If you are worried about the mess that the installation would make, bathtub liners usually take a shorter time to install and it only makes minimal mess. This is because most of the process is done in the shop and the only time a contractor will visit your house is to install the ready-made liner.

The installation itself only takes a couple of hours and after it has been fitted, you can now use your newly lined tub.

On the other hand, refinishing the tub takes place in your house, so it will definitely make some mess, especially in terms of ventilation since the chemicals used in the acrylic spray will linger in the air for quite some time.

The total refinishing process usually takes less than a day, but you will have to wait for the fresh coat to finish curing for 12 hours or so. Otherwise, you risk prematurely peeling off the coat.

Winner: Tub liners

Bottomline: Which is Better?

Given the point-by-point comparison, there is no question that refinished tubs are better than tub liners in several aspects. Indeed, the durability, inexpensiveness, and overall aesthetic look of refinished tubs are worthy of praise. If you are looking for a long-term solution, tub refinishing is the way to go.

Now, if you are ready to revamp your bathtub, VT Lakewood Tub Reglazing And Refinishing is here to offer our outstanding service! We specialize in bathtub reglazing and refinishing so you can rest assured that we are the perfect professionals to handle the job.

Reach out by calling us at (848) 233-3008 and our team will give your tub a fresh new look that will last for years!

Also read this awesome article “Bathtub Restoration: Is Bathtub Liner a Good Idea?