These days, while more people choose to go with stand-alone showers, they still want to keep the bathtubs in their houses. When it comes to the lifespan of bathtubs, unfortunately, there is no scientific or sure-fire way to know when it is absolutely time to replace a tub, and when you could get away with using it for a couple more months or years.
Usually, how much you use a tub will have a lot to do with how long you can keep it looking good. If, for example, you have a bathtub in a guest bathroom that nobody uses, then that tub could theoretically last forever. But at the same time, if you have a bathtub that you use daily, then I would say you could probably expect to get about 10 to 12 years of use out of it.
Although there is no right answer as to when a bathtub should be replaced, the general thinking is that it should be done once the paint and finish starts wearing thin. By the time a bathtub's finish has started wearing thin, and when it gets to the point where you can see that it is worn through the paint in certain areas, it is probably time for you to replace it with a new tub.
Signs of Deterioration
You should also look for any sign of deterioration to determine whether your bathtub needs work. Anything like cracks or that sort of thing is a sign that you need to call in an expert for help.
Besides those issues, little can go wrong with a bathtub. As long as the finish is fine and you don't see any cracking, your bathtub could theoretically last forever. Especially the cast-iron versions that some people still have around - some of those things have lasted for hundreds of years.
Just because the paint is wearing down on a tub or it is starting to show signs of age does not necessarily mean you need to replace it entirely. Many people out there specialize in bathtub repairs and refinishes. And with a lot of these refinishing techniques, they can actually make the tub look really good, too. Additionally, you could even have the tile around your bathtub repainted by a professional.
Prices of repairs can vary greatly, but generally, having a bathtub refinished will cost you anywhere from $250 to $350. The cost of having a bathtub replaced, meanwhile, will depend largely on what type of bathtub you get. The lowest-priced bathtubs that are on the market are in the $250 to $350 range. But most of the time, people have the tendency to pick ones that are in the $500 or $600 range. In addition to the bathtub cost, having a new one installed will require hiring a plumber. So when you factor in all of the costs, the plumber's fees are another thing to include.
In short, if you are trying to decide between replacing and repairing a bathtub, the general cost comparison once all the figures are totaled up is about $300 to $350 to have the tub repainted or refinished, compared to $1,000 to $1,200 to have it replaced and installed, including plumbing costs.
Chris Fuller is a writer for Yodle, a business directory and online advertising company. Find a contractor or more contractor articles at Yodle Consumer Guide.