Refinishing a bathroom provides you with a cost-effective way to achieve a fresh new look.
Potentially saving you thousands of dollars you might spend on bathroom remodeling, refinishing the bathroom fixtures is ideal for those operating on tighter budgets.
Get FREE ESTIMATES from local pros on the cost to refinish a fixture in your bathroom.
What Is Bathroom Refinishing?
Refinishing is a cosmetic update for your bathroom that allows you to refresh the look of your bathroom fixtures rather than replacing them. Think of it in similar terms to applying a fresh coat of paint to the walls in your house.
Refinishing typically involves sanding down surfaces, filling up chips and cracks, and then using synthetic materials to create a smooth and attractive surface.
It’s an excellent option for bathtubs, tiles, and similar fixtures that only have minor cosmetic damage.
Unfortunately, refinishing may not work as well if you’re trying to refresh a fixture that has experienced heavy damage.
How Much Does Refinishing A Bathroom Vanity Cost?
$7,210 - $14,612
The cost for refinishing a bathroom varies depending on several factors, including how extensive the refinish is and which fixtures you refinish.
Refinishing a bathtub costs somewhere between $260 and $535, with the cost varying depending on the materials used and the size of the tub. Increase this to between $760 and $1,140 for a combined shower and bathtub.
Did You Know? A good bathtub refinishing can last for between 10 and 15 years while costing you approximately 75% less than replacing the entire tub.
You may also choose to refinish the tiles in your bathroom. On average, this costs between $4.75 and $9.50 per square foot, though the cost varies depending on the type of tile you’re refreshing.
For example, the labor costs for refreshing tiles around a shower surround may rise to between $475 and $570 due to the more complex nature of the work.
Refinishing all of the tiles in an average bathroom typically costs between $950 and $1,900.
Your bathroom sink may also need a touch-up to complement the fresh new look of the rest of the room.
The average cost for refinishing a sink sits at about $270, though it’s possible to find DIY kits for about $80 that you can use to do the job without paying money for labor costs.
Finally, refinishing a toilet bowl is the least expensive of the work you can do in your bathroom. It’s often fairly simple to remove scratches and other marks from a toilet bowl.
Plus, you can refresh its look by using spray paint to give it a new style. Expect to spend somewhere in the $50 region when refinishing a toilet.
Assuming you want to refinish an entire bathroom, you can expect the average cost to come to approximately $2,100 to $2,200, though this cost may rise for larger bathrooms or if you’re using more expensive materials.
Bath Fixture Refinishing Cost Break Down
See the table below for a cost estimate to refinish a particular fixture in your bathroom.
|Fixture||Low-End Cost||High-End Cost||Average|
|Bath + Shower||$760||$1140||$950|
|Full Bathroom With Bathtub||$1370||$2915||$2150|
|Full Bathroom With Bathtub + Shower||$1870||$3520||$2700|
Cost of Bathroom Refinishing vs Bathroom Remodel Cost?
A full Bathroom remodel usually involves replacing all of the tiles and fixtures with brand new ones, meaning the cost is much higher than refinishing.
Expect to spend between $8,000 and $17,600 to completely remodel a bathroom, which gives us an average of about $12,500.
A master bathroom remodel typically starts at $20,000 and can go up to as much as $50,000-60,000, depending on the scope of work and the quality of building and finishing materials used.
As such, remodeling a bathroom typically costs about five times more than refinishing it. Again, exact prices vary depending on the materials used and the cost of the fixtures you install.
You can use our Bathroom Remodel Cost Calculator to estimate cost of remodeling your bathroom.
Factors That Affect Your Refinishing Price
Several factors affect the cost of refinishing a bathroom. You need to consider each before making your decision.
Factor No. 1 – The Condition of Your Bathroom
Refinishing is at its most cost-effective when it’s used on tiles and fixtures that have minor cosmetic damage, such as scuffs and small dents.
More extensive damage, such as large cracks and broken tiles, may require replacement or more materials to refinish.
The cost comes down to how much repair work you need to complete before you can apply the finish. As a general rule, more damage means a higher price for your bathroom refinishing.
Factor No. 2 – DIY vs Hire A Contractor
Some companies offer refinishing kits that you can use to refinish your bathtub, sink, and other fixtures without hiring contractors. These kits typically cost between $40 and $110, depending on the fixture you’re refinishing.
The prices provided above relate to refinishing work completed by a contractor. If you’re doing it yourself, you may find that your costs fall to between $300 and $500 for a full bathroom refinishing job.
However, you also have to consider the personal time cost that goes into this work. It may take you several days to refinish your bathroom, especially if you have not done it before.
It’s also possible that your lack of experience could lead to mistakes that you need to revisit later on.
These issues lead to many choosing to work with contractors because there’s less likelihood of error and they know the job will get done quickly.
The materials you use may also affect your decision here. Many of the chemicals required for a quality refinishing job are hazardous, meaning you must invest in equipment to handle them.
Beyond the potential health-related issues, these additional costs may lead to you choosing a contractor instead.
Did You Know? Many DIY kits include resin and epoxy, which are quick-drying and fairly tricky to apply. If you go the DIY route, it’s worth building your familiarity with these materials so you can work with them effectively without them drying out on you in the middle of the work.
Factor No. 3 – Bathroom Size
The size of your fixtures and the bathroom itself affect how much you spend on refinishing a job. Let’s take refinishing tiles as an example.
If we assume an average cost of $7 per square foot, we can see just how much the refinishing cost varies depending on your bathroom’s size:
|Bathroom Size||Refinishing Cost|
Apply the same principles to the rest of your bathroom. For example, larger sinks may cost more to refinish than the average. The same goes for oversized bathtubs. As a general rule, bigger means a higher cost.
Factor No. 4 – Quality Of Materials Used
The materials you use for refinishing usually depend on the materials used to make your bathroom appliances.
Take bathtubs as an example. Manufacturers may use a variety of materials to make bathtubs, with the most common being fiberglass, cast iron, and porcelain.
The costs for refinishing tubs made using these materials vary.
Fiberglass is the most expensive, with the average cost coming in at between $270 and $950, depending on the size of the tub.
Cast iron and porcelain tubs have lower costs, with both averaging between $335 and $570.
The lower cost for these materials is due to chips and minor cracks in porcelain and cast iron being easier to repair.
In fact, it’s unlikely you’ll have to worry about cracks in a cast iron tub at all, assuming it hasn’t undergone major damage.
How Does The Refinishing Process Work?
The refinishing process varies slightly depending on the fixture receiving the new finish. However, three general steps apply in all cases:
The old finish gets stripped off the fixture. The fixture then gets sanded down to create a smooth surface that’s ready for the application of the new finish.
Small cracks, chips, holes, and rust spots get filled in or repaired.
Primer, coating, and sealant are applied to complete the finish.
$7,210 - $14,612
When Should I Consider Refinishing My Bathroom?
Several signs may indicate that your bathroom will benefit from refinishing:
The materials no longer sparkle after cleaning. This is especially noticeable with porcelain fixtures, though you will typically find that this occurs over time with all materials.
Color fading contributes to this dulling, as does the accumulation of grime over the years.
The fixtures and appliances in your bathroom have minor chips and cracks. Both are repairable using a good fixing kit.
You want to refresh the look of your bathroom by giving it a new color.
You’re preparing to sell or rent your property and want to make the bathroom as appealing as possible.
Did You Know? According to a survey conducted by Victoria Plum Bathrooms, potential buyers and tenants value the look and feel of a bathroom.
According to 87% of their respondents, a nice bathroom is critical when making a buying or renting decision. Refinishing allows you to present a fresh and hygienic bathroom without incurring the costs of full remodeling.
How Long Does Bath Refinishing Last?
You can expect your new finish to last between 10 and 15 years, though the exact length depends on the quality of the materials used and how you care for the fixtures and appliances after refinishing.
A poorly maintained bathtub or sink will start fading again much quicker than one that you clean regularly.
The following quick tips help you to extend the life of your refinished fixtures:
Most finishes take approximately 24 hours to fully dry. Attempting to use a fixture earlier can result in water damage or the finish losing its quality.
Wait for at least 24 hours to confirm that the finish has dried properly. Furthermore, only replace any hardware, such as faucets and drains, once drying completes.
Be very careful when removing any paper or masking tape used as part of the refinishing process. Tearing tape or paper of a finish too quickly could leave residue behind.
Keep your soaps, oils, and shampoos away from the finishes. These products contain chemicals that can seep into the finish and damage it over time. Thankfully, there are many plastic storage options for these products that are cost-effective and protective.
Do not use bath mats that use suction cups in a refinished bathtub. The constant suction from these mats damages the finish over time.
Avoid using any cleaning products that contain bleach. Instead, opt for non-abrasive cleaning products. Make sure you rinse away the cleaning products and dry thoroughly to prevent the chemicals in the products from affecting your finish.
Invest in repairs for any leaking or dripping faucets and showerheads. The constant dripping of water leads to long-term finish damage.
Think of this issue as being similar to how streams can erode rocks over time. The same happens with your refinishing if there’s a constant dripping of water onto it.
How Long Does It Take To Refinish A Bathroom?
The amount of time needed to refinish a bathroom varies depending on the fixtures you refinish, the size of the bathroom, and the materials used.
As a general rule, expect a contractor to spend an entire workday refinishing a fixture. This means refinishing multiple fixtures and tiles can take up to a week of work.
Again, remember that you must give the refinish at least 24 hours to set and dry before you can start using the fixture it’s applied to again.
Countertops and floor tiles often take longer to set than bathroom fixtures. You may need to wait up to 72 hours before you can start using them again.
It’s likely your refinish comes with a warranty, especially if you hire a contractor. Check the warranty to find out exactly how long you need to leave the fixture before using it. If you disturb a refinished area early, you might void your warranty.
Did You Know? Some companies claim they can complete refinishing jobs in 1-to-2 hours. Be wary of these companies as they may be cutting corners to get the job done quickly rather than doing it well.
It’s better to spend a little more money on a contractor that puts the appropriate time into the work than it is to spend less on a contractor that leaves you with a rushed final product.
$7,210 - $14,612
Can You Refinish A Fixture That’s Already Been Refinished?
Refinishing involves stripping away the previous finish to apply a fresh one to the fixture. As such, it’s possible to repeatedly refinish the fixture several times without any issues.
Even the sanding required before a new finish gets applied should do little to lessen the lifespan of your fixtures.
This can make refinishing even more cost-effective if you consider the fact that a full bathroom remodel costs approximately five times more than refinishing.
With each refinish lasting between 10 and 15 years, you can extend a bathroom’s lifespan by about 50 years before you reach the same cost as a full remodel.
Are There Drawbacks To Refinishing A Bathroom?
While refinishing is a cost-effective way to freshen up your bathroom, there are some potential drawbacks to keep in mind.
Most finishes have a smell that can linger for several days, or even weeks, if your bathroom is poorly ventilated.
Many contractors have special ventilation equipment they use to help mitigate this problem. If the smell persists, or if no special equipment is used, you can dissipate the smell by closing the bathroom door and opening a window.
Thankfully, this smell disappears entirely over time.
You must also become choosier when selecting bathroom cleaners. Abrasive cleaners can cause scratches that compromise the look and feel of the finish. Avoid anything that contains bleach and don’t use abrasive cleaning accessories, such as scourers.
Pro Tip: Try not to leave any cleaners on the refinished surface for more than five minutes. Rinse thoroughly after cleaning. Then, dry the finish using a soft and clean cloth to achieve the best cleaning results.
The materials used can also create issues if they’re not properly diluted. Many refinishes require acid-based materials, which you must mix with water before washing them down the drain.
Allowing undiluted chemicals to enter your drainage system can lead to damage that requires more extensive plumbing work. These chemicals can also give off dangerous fumes, meaning you must wear protective gear, such as a gas mask, to ensure you don’t inhale the fumes.
Improper application can also lead to several drawbacks, including fading, bubbles, and roughness. You won’t experience this drawback as long as you have the finishes applied by a professional contractor that has plenty of experience and references.
However, it’s still worth discussing any warranties applied to the materials used so you have recourse if something goes wrong.
Thankfully, most of these drawbacks are either temporary or are avoidable as long as you take the proper precautions. Assuming correct completion of the work, you should experience no issues with your refinished fixtures.
The Final Verdict – Is It A Good Idea To Refinish Your Bathroom?
Refinishing a bathroom costs far less than a full remodel while producing impressive results. You can freshen up the fixtures while implementing a finish that improves hygiene and lasts for a decade or more.
As such, bathroom refinishing is a good idea for anybody who wants to improve their bathroom’s cosmetic appeal while saving money.
It’s also ideal for people who are selling or renting their houses as a nice bathroom is a factor for many buyers or tenants.
However, bathroom refinishing does mean that you still have your old fixtures and tiling. While the refinish gives them a fresh look, it may not help you to stay on top of modern bathroom trends.
This isn’t an issue if you use antique fixtures, as their appeal stems from their age and the distinct aesthetic they provide. But if you want to modernize your bathroom, remodeling may be the best approach.
Still, the lower cost compared to remodeling, coupled with the new lease on life that refinishing provides to your fixtures, makes refinishing a viable choice for most homeowners.
$7,210 - $14,612