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.
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 are able to walk homeowners through all the basics when it comes to a bathroom and bathtub remodel. From what steps to consider, to timing and what to chat with a contractor about, here are our tips.
5 Different Types of Bathtubs
Bathtub replacements revolve around simple concepts: what kind of tub do you need and where is it going to go?
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 ensuite bathroom needs. There are several different types of bathtubs you can consider installing depending on your situation. The most popular bathtub remodel styles include:
1. 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, accommodate different needs and can help with the resale value of your home as they are a desirable commodity 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
2. 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
3. Freestanding Bathtubs
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, rather than being 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.
A new freestanding tub features:
Versatile with plumbing requirements
4. Massage Tubs
Massage bathtubs come in two varieties — jetted whirlpool tubs or hyrdo tubs, as well as 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.
Hydro tub and air tub features:
Spa like features
Large size options
5. Three Wall Alcove Tub
Alcove tubs are pretty 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:
Simple to maintain
Easy to replace or upgrade
Costs for a New 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. 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.
Depending on the bathtub a homeowner chooses, a bathtub and the accompanying bathroom’s remodel’s final price tag can vary. The national average cost of tub replacement and installation is roughly $2,500.
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.
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 bidding 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.
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 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.
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Here are the top articles that homeowners found useful when planning their bathtub remodel project and navigating the contractor hiring process.
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