Four Reasons Why Refinishing is Better than Lining a Tub

refinishing is better

If you’re looking at bathroom remodeling options, you may have noticed that refinishing isn’t the only option around for sprucing up your tub. Custom liners, often touted as a good solution for damaged or outdated bathtubs, are molded acrylic inserts that are manufactured to fit over an existing tub, covering it completely. While there may be rare cases where a liner is the best way to refinish a bathtub, here are four reasons why refinishing is usually the better choice.


Simply put, refinishing is almost always less expensive. The cost of refinishing your bathtub comes only from the supplies used, and the time and labor of the worker who does the job. Liners, on the other hand, need to be manufactured to your bathtub’s specifications. The costs include time for a contractor to measure and photograph your tub, manufacturing costs, and installation.


If you choose to go the liner route, prepare yourself for a wait. You will need to schedule an appointment with a technician to measure and photograph your tub. There will be the waiting time while the liner is manufactured, then shipped. Finally, you will need to schedule another appointment to have the liner installed. The entire process can take 2-6 weeks.

By contrast, refinishing your tub doesn’t involve complicated measurements and waiting time. After choosing a color, you only need to schedule one full-day appointment. It’s true that refinishing is a messier process while it’s happening, but a professional installer will take meticulous care to protect and ventilate your bathroom throughout. Your finish will cure for 24-48 hours, and voila! New bathtub.

Feel and function

Bathtub liners are intended to be custom fitted, but the success of the fitting can vary by contractor and manufacturer. If the fit and installation isn’t just right, the liner can actually have a hollow or spongy feel to it. In addition, liners do reduce the size of the tub slightly. If your tub is already on the small side, this could be an especially important consideration.

Refinishing your tub, on the other hand, doesn’t add any more bulk than painting a wall. The refinishing solution is applied directly to the original tub, so there’s no question of a poor fit. Smaller tubs won’t get noticeably smaller, and if you have an old, interesting tub, you don’t have to worry about the details getting lost under a sheet of acrylic.


While liners may actually seem sturdier at first glance, they do come with greater risks than refinishing. Thinner, cheaper liners are at a higher risk of developing cracks, allowing water to leak right through. Even high quality liners could develop leaks around the edging if they aren’t installed properly, or if they shift slightly or the caulking wears away. However moisture find its way between your liner and the original tub, once there it’s highly likely to allow mold and mildew growth. Eventually, you may need to replace the whole bathtub.

There are some minor risks with refinished bathtub surfaces. The main one is scratches in the refinished surface that can look bad, or let a different colored original surface show through. This risk, however, is easily mitigated by your choice of cleaning products. Simply avoid very harsh or abrasive cleaners, and your refinished surface should stay pristine for years.

Refinishing is Better with Maryland Tub and Tile

If you’d like to learn more about refinishing your bathtub, contact us at Maryland Tub and Tile. We can tell you more about our process, including other advantages of refinishing like a nearly limitless color selection. You can get a free estimate, and learn more about why bathtub refinishing might be the right fit for your remodeling project.

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