What are my bathtub upgrade options?

Luxury bathtub options include hot tubs, whirlpool tubs or clawfoot soaking tubs such as this one. (Dreamstime/TNS)
Luxury bathtub options include hot tubs, whirlpool tubs or clawfoot soaking tubs such as this one. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Your bathroom can serve as a serene oasis and a center of calm in your home during a busy season and a long winter. A new bathtub is an excellent time to increase your peace and add a touch of comfort and elegance.

Here are some examples of what you can get for your dollar. In many cases the choice of materials, from acrylic to marble, have the strongest impact on cost.

Refinishing an existing tub

Average cost: $480-$900

The most basic option to improve your tub involves refinishing it or simply placing an entirely new lining over it. This is a short job that doesn't land with a heavy cost. It's quick and easy way to give your bathroom a fresh new look and maybe a little more "wow" factor. In a single afternoon, it can turn a tired, worn-out older bathtub into a sparkling beauty that serves as your bathroom's centerpiece.

Refinishing is also know as reglazing or resurfacing. Relining will cost a little more. The process involves cleaning and sometimes stripping the original surface, then adding new layers of primer and topcoat to complete the refinish. Ask your refinishing pro about the various options. Your pro will seal off the room and use specialized equipment that creates a durable finish with a high gloss.

New bathtub

Average cost: $3,400

Simply replacing your bathtub with a newer one will tend to cost on the lower end, but if you're replacing your tub, you want an upgrade, right? Soaking tubs are very trendy right now, and old-fashioned clawfoot tubs have made a comeback in recent years. You can also add a walk-in tub, which is both more accessible and allows more room in the tub.

Numerous factors go into the cost of a new tub. Removing the old tub tends to cost between $200 and $1,200, for instance. Larger tubs, tubs built into the wall or floor, or cast-iron tubs will cost more to remove. In some cases, you'll have to modify the floor to handle additional weight. Don't forget the cost of the surround, which can be a few thousands dollars in and of itself.

Luxury bathtub

Cost: $7,500 and up

In addition to a simple tub, you can add luxury elements that upgrade your tub into the centerpiece of a calm, serene sanctuary. For example, a jetted or whirlpool tub, which costs an average of $7,500, creates a massaging effect. A hot tub brings a new level of luxury to your bathroom. Clawfoot and soaking tubs create a lovely calming effect, and will run in the $6,000 range. For convenience's sake or aging-in-place, a walk-in tub that meets universal design standards costs about $5,000. The sky's the limit with these options, so talk to your bathtub pro.