News from the Block, Innovate Building Solutions Blog
News from the Block, Innovate Building Solutions Blog
Bathroom, Kitchen, Basement Design & Remodeling Ideas for the Nicest Home or Business on the Block
Bathroom, Kitchen, Basement Design & Remodeling Ideas for the Nicest Home or Business on the Block

The Pros and Cons of Bathtub Liners

At the end of a long day, a nice, relaxing bath can be one of the best ways to treat yourself, but if your bathtub is old and rusted, it may not have the same effect. There are a few proven methods to bathtub remodeling, but one popular option is putting in a custom-fitted acrylic bathtub liner, which is a molded insert that is installed over your old tub. However, there are both pros and cons that come with this choice.


Pro: No need to replace the existing floor or walls in your bathroom.

Do you have tile flooring or walls in your bathroom that you just don’t want to replace? Then, a bathtub liner would probably be the option for you. When replacing a tub completely, it’s possible to save the original flooring, but more likely than not, some of the tile around the tub would have to be replaced. And the bathroom may even have to be completely gutted by replacing the plumbing and updating the fixtures. When installing a bathtub liner, the existing flooring and walls can be preserved if you want them to be. If you aren’t a fan of your wall surrounds, you can choose new bath wall surrounds to match your new tub liner.

Con: Water can get between the liner and the tub.

When a tub liner is installed perfectly, this shouldn’t happen, but it’s still possible for water to seep through. Even a small crack in the caulking caused over time can allow water to get between the liner and your old tub. If this happens, the bottom of the liner can feel squishy, and mold could develop underneath the liner. The standing water could also cause a bad odor in your bathroom. “A liner done correctly should be okay, but there’s a lot of things that need to be considered when making the decision about your tub project,” said Jeff Fronek, Operations Manager at the Bath Doctor. “We make sure to give our customers all the options and products available.”


Pro: Save money on remodeling costs.

Installing a tub liner as opposed to a complete bath remodel can save you a lot of money on your bathroom renovation. Tub liners are usually only a third of the cost of a total bath remodel, which could be a huge deciding factor for your project. They also take less time for installation. If you want to keep your time and costs down and aren’t interested in a complete bath remodel, a tub liner may be the best option for you.

Con: Acrylic, fiberglass, and free standing tubs can’t be lined.

If your old tub is acrylic, fiberglass, or a free standing tub, you won’t be able to use an acrylic bathtub liner. These tubs’ material make them unable to be relined. Free standing tubs do not have walls around them, so they cannot be lined either. In this case, a installing a new bathtub would probably be the best choice for your bathroom as a bathtub liner would not even be an option.


Pro: Durable, safe, and easy to maintain.

Acrylic bathtub liners are non-porous and can be cleaned easily with soap and water. This helps to cut down on rust, stains, and chips in the finish of your tub. Liners have non-skid surfaces, which allows them to be a safe option as well. Other bathroom accessories, like a safety grab bar or a corner caddy can be added to improve the function. Unlike refinishing or reglazing your old tub, liners can offer a durable and longer-term solution to your bathtub problems.

Overall, it comes down to what you want and need out of your bathtub remodel. Both tub liners and installing a completely new tub are good solutions to replacing your old bathtub. For regional installation and remodeling contact the Bath Doctor in Cleveland (216-531-6085) or Columbus (614-252-7294). We’ll handle the work so you can get back to relaxing!

Mike Foti

President of Innovate Building Solutions a nationwide supplier and regional (Cleveland and Columbus) remodeling contractors. Some of our product lines include glass counters, floors, backsplashes, glass blocks and grout free shower and tub wall panels

Comments (10)

  • Sharon – yes since the fiberglass tub is cracked you’ll need a new tub. I would not recommend using a liner – I would just go with a new tub. I don’t have a dealer yet in Knoxville – but be glad to talk to your contractor if they need any help with our products. Thanks for reading the blog! Mike (877-668-5888).

  • Hi Mike, my bathtub is cracked in my new home. I was told today a liner would not work as the tub/shower is likely fiberglass and I am looking at $7500 by bathfitters. Do you recommend anyone in the Knoxville, TN area?

  • Gayle – there are some anti-mildew caulks on the market – so I would make sure to use this material first. In addition if you have a window in the bathroom, try to open in while showering and/or install a ceiling fan to get moisture out of the bathroom. I would not recommend going with tile, since then you’ll have even more joints and areas which could get mold. I hope these points help – Mike

  • We remodeled several years ago and but in the tubs that come in two pieces, tub and wall. Since then we have had many painters put caulking where it joins but it immediately gets mold or starts coming off. Do u have a suggestion? We are considering removing the wall part and putting ceramic unless u can suggest something cheaper. Tks

  • Steve – you provide some good points. I’m also not a big fan of the acrylic tub liners – I’d prefer putting in a new tub. And while I’ve seen fiberglass tubs which have gotten dirty, I’ve not seen the acrylic liners discolor like the fiberglass products. Thanks for your insights! Mike

  • Most bathtub liners I have seen a few years down the road are pretty sad. Heres the cons:
    1. Expect your tub to be smaller, as liners are made to fit any number of tubs, so your going to get the smallest so it fits inside your existing.
    2. Most liners I have seen use strips of foam like material to fill those large voids between you liner and tub. These strips breakdown over time, leaving you with a very mushy feel when you move. Some will even make tacky noises as you move.
    3. I have yet to see one that holds its color over time.
    4. If tile is involved, save your money! A new tub costs 120.00, and most contractors charge about 3-400.00 to install of there doing the tile or panel walls. More savings.
    5. I do like some of the new tile looking panel wall systems. If your looking for a tile look without the grout and mold issues, these work and look good. You can even get them with a mosaic look border.
    6. All in all, its my opinion inserts move too much once the installation materials break down, creating leaks and headaches.

  • Ciro – obviously the price can depend greatly on the materials you use – but to give you a rough idea (assuming you’re only doing the ‘wet alcove’ space) – you could budget anywhere from $6,000 to $15,000. Mike

  • Retta – I’m writing an article right now (which isn’t quite finished yet) where I’m recommending instead of using an acrylic tub liner to put in a new tub. For the wall panels I don’t have any particular friends in the installation business in Illinois to recommend – but I can provide you with links to 2 wall panels products I like (and we can supply to you or your contractor) which will give you a nice look. I’ll send you an email also with my contact information – Mike. Now here are the wall panel links: (laminated shower wall panels – ‘The No-Tile, Tile Shower) (PVC composite shower and tub wall panels)

  • Retta Wilsongrier

    Hi. We are in Illinois. Our tub and shower tiles are bad. I want to know how much a tub and shower liner would cost approximately with installation. Who in the Illinos area you would regret.
    Thank you

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