Labor Cost To Install Tub Surround

How Much Does a Bathtub Installation Cost? (2023 Guide)

Bathtubs are often the centerpiece of a bathroom, so it’s important to choose one that’s functional, durable, and stylish. Learn how much you can expect to spend to install a new tub.

Amanda Lutz Mar 30, 2023
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  • Cost Factors
  • Additional Cost Factors
  • Professional vs. DIY
  • How to Hire a Pro
  • Reducing Costs
  • Our Recommendation
  • FAQ

Bathroom interior in cozy colors with modern bathtub

If you’re remodeling your bathroom , chances are you’re looking to install a new bathtub . You can also refresh the look of your existing bathroom with a new tub , as there are many styles and materials to choose from.

The national average cost to install a bathtub is around $3,000, but it can range from $1,500 to $10,000 depending on the tub you choose and how it’s installed.* We’ll break down the factors that go into this project in the following cost guide .

*All cost data via Fixr.

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Bathtub Installation Cost Factors

The type of tub you choose and its surrounds have the biggest impact on cost. High-tech models cost more, as do those made of high-end materials. Additionally, changes to plumbing and other fixtures will raise the price of labor.

Cost by Type of Bathtub

  • General purpose tub: These are typically shallow alcove tubs surrounded by waterproof walls on three sides. They’re usually part of a tub- shower combo .
  • Soaking tub: Soaking bathtubs are deeper than standard models, allowing adults to fully immerse themselves in water. Clawfoot tubs and other freestanding tubs are types of soaking tubs .
  • Jet orwhirlpool tub: Jetted tubs circulate water, creating a spa-like experience as well as improving circulation and reducing some types of pain.
  • Air tub: These tubs are similar to jetted tubs but use pressurized air to create a gentler massaging effect. They’re in a similar price range to whirlpool tubs .
  • Walk-in tub:Walk-in tubs are recommended for older adults or anyone with mobility problems. They have high sides with doors to allow entry without needing to step over the side. They typically allow users to bathe in a sitting position and often include handheld showerheads .
  • Hot tub: A hot tub or jacuzzi is more often used for relaxation than bathing, but it’s still a type of bathtub . The specialty electrical and plumbing work make this the costliest type of tub to install.
Type of Bathtub Cost
General purpose bathtub $200–$800
Soaking tub $1,000–$12,000
Jet and whirlpool $1,500–$10,000
Air tub $1,500–$10,000
Walk-in tub $1,500–$15,000
Hot tub $1,800–$17,000
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Cost by Type of Bathtub Material

Acrylic and fiberglass are the most cost-effective and lightweight bathtub materials , and they’re also available in the most colors, sizes, and designs. Metals such as copper and cast iron hold heat well, though they’re heavy and may require floor reinforcements. Steel can be a good compromise between weight, price, and durability . Cultured marble and solid surface are synthetic materials that are poured into shape, allowing high customization. Granite is the heaviest and most expensive bathtub material , but it makes for a striking statement piece.

Type of Material Cost
Enameled steel tub $200–$2,500
Acrylic tub $200–$13,750
Fiberglass tub $300–$4,500
Cast iron tub $375–$2,500
Cultured marble tub $1,400–$5,000
Copper tub $2,000–$6,000
Solid surface tub $2,000–$6,000
Ceramic tub $5,000–$10,000
Granite tub $10,000–$20,000

Cost by Bathtub Surround Material

Unless you choose a freestanding unit, you may need to install new or upgraded surrounds on the walls around the tub. Most homeowners pick materials to match the bathtub, though metal isn’t typically used on the walls. Materials such as acrylic and fiberglass usually come in prefabricated sheets that are easy to install and maintain. Note that tile is one of the least expensive to purchase but one of the most expensive to install because it’s time-consuming to lay and grout.

Surround Material Cost
Tile $120–$6,000
Composite $250–$2,000
Acrylic $300–$700
Fiberglass $400–$1,200
Natural stone $2,400–$24,000
Solid surface $6,000–$12,000
Quartz $6,000–$12,000

Labor Cost

Tub installation is typically a job for professionals, and you’ll usually pay between $500 and $2,000 for labor. Plumbers tend to charge $45 to $200 per hour, though some may charge a flat rate for bathtub installation . If you’re installing a tub with electronic controls such as a whirlpool or air bath, you’ll also need to hire an electrician at $40 to $100 per hour. Prepare to add 10% to 20% to the total cost if you choose to use a general contractor to oversee the project.

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Additional Factors Affecting Bathtub Installation Cost

Here are some other cost considerations when installing a tub.

Electrical Upgrades

If your new tub needs electricity to run, you may need to upgrade your home’s electrical panel at a cost of $1,500 to $4,000. Additionally, bathroom wet areas require ground fault connection interrupter (GFCI) breakers to protect from electric shocks. These typically cost $5 to $100 each. This electrical work will require hiring a licensed electrician .

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Faucets Upgrades

You may be able to use the faucet and other hardware from your existing tub , but you’ll probably want to upgrade them to match your new one. Simple deck-mounted and wall-mounted faucets usually cost $100 to $500, though adding a floor-mounted faucet to a freestanding tub can cost up to $700.

Old Bathtub Removal and Material Disposal

You’ll need to pay to remove your existing tub in addition to installing the new one. Alcove and freestanding bathtubs are the easiest and may cost as little as $200 to $300 to remove, while large or heavy tubs may cost up to $1,200. The cost may also depend on whether tub replacement is part of a larger bathroom remodel .

Shower to Tub Conversion

Converting a stall or walk-in shower to a bathtub often requires extra work, including moving or removing walls and relocating plumbing fixtures. This project usually costs between $4,300 and $11,800, but enlarging the whole bathroom to fit the tub will cost more.

Subfloor and Tub Surround Preparation

Acrylic and fiberglass bathtubs are light, but you may need to reinforce your bathroom floor and joists if you choose metal or stone, particularly if the bathroom is on an upper story of your home. Even if you’re not switching to a heavier tub material than your old tub , the subfloor may need repair or extra waterproofing. The same is true of the walls around the tub, which need to keep moisture out to prevent mold and mildew .

Water Heater

Large bathtubs, especially a whirlpool tub or jacuzzi, may need a new water heater to handle the additional volume of water. The tank should hold at least two-thirds the size of your bathtub for proper operation. A new water heater typically costs $800 to $2,500.

Professional vs. DIY Bathtub Installation

Replacing or installing a bathtub is best left to the professionals, but we’ll go over both options below.

Professional Bathtub Installation

If your new bathtub requires altering plumbing or connecting to your home’s wiring, you’ll definitely need to hire a licensed contractor. Even if you’re replacing a standard tub , this is a job that combines plumbing, carpentry, soldering, and many other skills. You’ll pay more for labor, but the job will get done quicker and more easily than if you attempted it yourself. Your bathroom will also be out of commission for less time.

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DIY Bathtub Installation

Installing or replacing a bathtub yourself is technically possible as long as you aren’t altering plumbing or wiring, but it’s a difficult job. You’ll need to remove the old tub , drop in or set the new one, frame it, and install the surrounds. Even if you do this yourself, you’ll probably need to call a plumber to connect the new tub to your home’s existing plumbing. Additionally, if you don’t properly waterproof everything, you could end up with invisible water damage to the structure behind the floors and walls. Though you’ll save on labor costs up-front, you may need to call in a professional to fix your mistakes. Do-it-yourself ( DIY ) tub installations are easiest for standard acrylic or fiberglass tubs with prefabricated surrounds.

How to Hire a Professional

  • How long has the company been in business in your area?
  • Is the contractor who will actually be doing the work bonded and insured?
  • What is the company’s Better Business Bureau rating and accreditation status?
  • What do previous customers have to say on review sites such as Trustpilot and Google Reviews?
  • Does the company offer references for their previous work?
  • Can you receive an itemized quote so you know where your money’s going?
  • Are there parts of the project such as preparation or tiling that you can do yourself for a reduced total cost ?

How to Reduce Bathtub Installation Costs

Even if you hire professional contractors, you can still save on new tub costs with the following tips.

  • Choose a lightweight, inexpensive material such as acrylic , fiberglass , or steel.
  • Choose a cost-effective, prefabricated material for the surrounds.
  • Preserve your bathroom’s current layout as much as possible, including walls and plumbing fixtures.
  • If the project requires multiple contractors, act as your own general contractor to coordinate them.
  • Get quotes from at least three local installers and ask about a warranty on workmanship.
  • Do the time-consuming tasks yourself, including preparation, cleanup, or tile laying.

Our Recommendation

When selecting a new bathtub , balance cost against quality and durability . If you’re replacing the bathtub as part of a larger bathroom renovation project, consider how it will fit in with your new decor. Bathtubs are often statement pieces in luxurious bathrooms, but make sure you’re getting the functions you need out of your new tub . A well-installed bathtub can last for decades, so carefully consider your options.