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Bathroom Remodel

Bathtub Remodel Guide

On this page:
  • Popular types of bathtubs
  • Cost for a new tub
  • How to prep for installation

Remodeling a Bathtub

Bathtub remodels are a great chance for a homeowner to refresh their space in exchange for a new look and an upgraded return on investment. In fact, according to the 2021 Cost vs. Value Report, a midrange bathroom remodel – such as a bathtub replacement – can earn homeowners a 60% return on investment.

With just the swap of a tub — no other adjustments to the room — a bathroom can drastically shift from a place to clean and refresh into a place to unwind, detox and relax. Options like massaging tubs that bring spa elements home or charming additions like a clawfoot tub can change an entire space’s profile with just one move.

At Modernize, we specialize in walking homeowners through all the basics when it comes to a bathtub remodel. From the most popular bathtub styles, to timing and what to chat with a contractor about, here’s what you need to know.


How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Bathtub?

Different bathtub types can range in price from as little $200 to as much as $5,000 for the tub alone, depending on its attributes. The national average cost of tub replacement plus installation is roughly $2,500. 

Depending on the tub you choose, a bathtub and the accompanying bathroom’s remodel’s final price tag can vary. For example, say you are replacing your bathtub as well as adding a new faucet. The cost of this project alone will include the price to demo and remove the old bathtub, install the new tub, and add the new faucet and fixtures. If you are renovating other areas of the bathroom at the same time, the price tag for the project will be higher.

Modernize highly recommends discussing your budget and bathroom priorities with a contractor ahead of time, especially since the installation fees will usually cost more than the bathtub itself. Use our cost calculator to get a sense for costs, based on your specific preferences and needs, ahead of time.

Bathroom Remodel Cost Calculator

Take Me There

Remember: bathtubs aren’t exactly plug-and-play. Replacing a bathtub entails removing the old tub if applicable, preparing the surrounding area, and updating plumbing. Once installed, the surrounding area might require additional work, like tile our grouting. For that reason, it is important to know your vision and discuss it with a contractor ahead of time.

6 Different Types of Bathtubs

One of the most important decisions to make to get you started on your bathtub replacement project is which type of tub you want, and where you want to install it in the room.

Depending on who the bathroom is serving and its size, these answers can vary. For instance, a family’s primary bathroom needs are different from a single person’s master bathroom needs. There are several different types of bathtubs to consider installing depending on your situation. The most popular bathtub remodel styles – and their average prices – include the following.

Bathtub and Shower Combo

A shower and tub combo uses a bathtub enclosure and builds a shower around its space. These types of tubs are versatile and accommodate different needs of different family members. It can also help with the resale value of your home as they are a desirable and classic bathroom design for many homeowners.

Tub and Shower Combo

A shower and tub replacement features:

  • Easy to upgrade or replace

  • Good for children and pets

  • Affordable options available

Soaking Tubs

Soaking tubs are deeper, wider, grander tubs that allow you to submerge entirely underwater for a long, healing experience.

Garden tubs — the popular French oval tubs featured in luxe catalogs — are a type of soaking tub. They typically utilize standard plumbing, but Modernize encourages you to discuss the type of tub you envision with a contractor ahead of time.

A soaking tub can be drop in or freestanding and can range in cost from as little as $600 for a smaller garden tub and as much as $10,000 for luxury models that can accommodate up to two people.

Large Soaking Tub

A new soaking or garden tub features:

  • Large relaxing tub space

  • Luxury aesthetic

Freestanding Tubs

Just like their name, a freestanding bathtub does not include a shower and is a standalone fixture. Varieties include the ever-popular vintage style clawfoot tubs and slipper shaped tubs.

One highlight of freestanding tubs is the fact that they can go anywhere with nearby access to plumbing. They do not have to be attached to a shower or anchored to a particular wall, as with other bathtub types. This can allow you to show off the bathtub as a visual focal point in your modernized bathroom.

Keep in mind that freestanding tubs, depending on the design, can be more expensive to install as you look at larger options.

Freestanding Tub

A new freestanding tub features:

  • Versatile with plumbing requirements

  • Unique Designs

Jetted Bathtubs

Jetted bathtubs, also known as massage bathtubs, come in two varieties – whirlpool tubs and air tubs. Both whirlpool tubs and air tubs can be used for hydrotherapy and relaxation, as they massage the skin and body. Massage tubs with jets are popular for homeowners with chronic pain, injuries, hip and joint discomfort, or muscle tightness.

Most people pay between $1,000 and $14,000 with an average price of $5,000 for the actual tubs, depending on the type, size and brand.

Massage Tubs

Hydro tub and air tub features:

  • Spa like features

  • Large size options

  • Luxury aesthetics

Three-Wall Alcove Tubs

Alcove tubs are standard and quite affordable if you are on a budget for your bathroom remodel project. They are simple to replace and can sometimes be done in a day or two by an experienced bathroom remodeling contractor.

The two backsides of the tub are pushed against a wall and the finished material can be seen in the front of the alcove tub. There are options for high end alcove style tubs with a luxury aesthetic that comes at a premium price point up to $4,000 to install.

Standard Alcove Tub

A new alcove tub features:

  • Very affordable

  • Simple to maintain

  • Easy to replace or upgrade

Drop-in Tubs

Drop-in tubs are any bathtub that has a surrounding enclosure of about 6 inches or more. This enclosure is usually made of tiles such as marble, porcelain, granite, or ceramic.

These types of bathtubs offer several benefits – the extra space around the tub allows for storage area, and the surround can be customized to fit the aesthetic of the room. Drop-in tubs are also very versatile in size and can fit in most bathrooms, since they sit against a wall. They average about $1,200 to $1,500 to install.

Drop-in Tubs

Popular, modern tub style for any bathroom size

  • Cost-efficient

  • Space saving

  • Your choice of surround style and design

Bathtub Materials and Additional Costs

In addition to the type and style of bathtub, the cost of your bathtub replacement project will also vary by the materials you choose. There are high-end materials that are extremely durable, but will cost more. There are also more basic tub materials that have average durability and are more budget-friendly.

You can explore popular bathtub materials – and their relative durability and cost – below. Keep in mind that the cost to install each type of bathtub varies by other factors, such as the tub style and size.

bathtub types cost
Tub materialLifespanAverage cost
Fiberglass10 - 15 years$380 - $800
Acrylic15 - 20 years$1,050 - $3,075
Porcelain enamel on cast iron20 - 70 years$1,125 - $3,225
Copper20 - 85 years$3,350 - $6,800

It is also important to consider the additional costs that will go into your bathtub remodel project. While some homeowners will want to only replace the bathtub, others may want to remodel different areas of the bathroom at the same time. Even if you are just remodeling the tub for now, there are common added costs to keep in mind as you form your budget.

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Type of upgradeAverage cost
Demolition and tub removal$30 - $180
Grab bars or towel bars$35 - $80
Faucet installation$150 - $300
Tile repair or replacement$3 - $20 per sq. foot
Lighting$35 - $130 per light
Installation and labor$70 per hour

Finding a Bathtub Remodel Contractor

A bathtub remodel already comes with a lot of questions. You should not have to worry about what to ask your contractor. Modernize can guide you through the vetting process and advise you on what questions to ask your contenders.

We recommend comparing three to four contractor quotes to find the best price. Here are a few factors to consider when speaking with a contractor.

Bathtub Remodel Timeline

Talking to a potential contractor about your ideal timeframe is an important step in the process since it can limit some of your options. For instance, some bathtub remodeling projects can be completed as quickly as in one day! But that is not always possible and it is a necessary step to account for a possible gap in time without a bathroom or plumbing access when considering these projects. 

Timing is not solely about the length of a project, either. The start date of your bathtub remodel project can impact the competitiveness of contractor bids and your final cost.

Seasonal factors

For bathroom renovating, winter is the off-season for activity. That can mean a chance for discounts since it’s a slower time for contractors. To reflect that shift, quotes should be more competitive than during the Summer or Spring when contractors can be booked weeks in advance. Bathtub manufacturers may also run seasonal discounts. 

Length of Bathtub Remodel Project and Water Shut-offs

Planning ahead is crucial since multi-day or longer-term bathroom projects typically call for water being turned off while work is being done. Like any other renovation project, noise or dust can also be factors. Modernize recommends working through a plan for these issues ahead of time and discussing options with a contractor. 

Whatever you opt for, Modernize is ready to help you with your bathtub remodel and bathroom upgrades.