This is the 3rd post about the looooong process of restoring the vintage bathroom at Flip 5. Without a doubt, the hardest part about this process was restoring the vintage bathtub. Unlike with newer construction, the older the bathtub or shower, the harder it is to get parts which is something I encountered more than once. Restoring a vintage bathtub costs money, but I’m sharing not only how much I spent but how I saved money too! One might just argue to gut the bathtub & install a new one, but I’ll discuss in this post why I don’t believe that’s the best option!
How Much it Costs To Restore A Vintage Bathtub
Replacing The Leaking Valve
To help ease the restoring vintage bathtub costs, I did the demo work required to access the valve. As I mentioned in this post, there was no plumbing access to the shower valve. That meant some of the vintage green tiles had to be removed to access the valve.
To also help ease costs, I purchased the parts myself through Amazon to avoid plumber mark-ups. I purchased the Kohler replacement valve for $77. I did not do any of the plumbing work myself, so I had to pay labor costs on top of the valve. For the valve replacement, I spent $613 in labor.
Replacing Vintage Plumbing Fixtures
As I mentioned in this post, the shower trim kit fixtures had to be replaced because the existing ones did not fit the new valve. Again, I opted to purchase those myself to avoid the plumber mark-up. I found some shower fixtures that were similar in style to the existing bathtub faucet knobs on Amazon for $90. Again, my plumber installed the fixtures at the same time as the valve, so there was a labor charge of $149 to install the trim kit.
In addition to the trim kit, I decided to have the drain cover replaced…and this could have been a costly decision! We didn’t realize until we cut out the existing drain cover that vintage bathtubs have odd size drains so most standard replacement drain covers don’t fit vintage tubs. Luckily, I was able to find a very cheap converter part to make the modern drain cover fit the vintage drain opening- for less than $5! I spent $179 for the plumber to remove and install the new drain cover.
The Cost To Refinish A Vintage Bathtub
To get caught up on the amazing transformation of the refinished bathtub, check out this post. This isn’t my first rodeo in reglazing a tub or shower, and every time it’s worth the money! For all of the prep work & refinishing, I paid $500.
DIY Plumbing Access Cover
Once I created an access hole for the plumbing, I decided I wanted to leave access to it for future homeowners. Since the access I created as odd size, I had to make a DIY plumbing access cover. It was very easy and required a few cuts & some wood glue. I spent $20 on some wood and used leftover paint.
Updating A Shower Head Cost
One of the easiest updates I did in this shower was replacing the original shower head. I did this myself because it takes virtually no plumbing knowledge to swap out an old with a new one. I picked up a very affordable one at Home Depot for less than $20!
Total Spent Restoring The Vintage Bathtub
From repairing & replacing the plumbing to restoring the cosmetic appearance of the tub, restoring vintage bathtub cost total was $2,153 for parts & labor. While that isn’t cheap, it’s cheaper than replacing the bathtub. Gutting a bathtub and installing a brand new one, tile, etc. can be very costly! Plus, I’m always a fan of restoring the original rather than gutting just because it’s easier. If you’re looking to style your vintage bathroom, check out this post.
How I Saved Money On This Project
I keep a home warranty on Flip 5, and I’ve discussed before why home warranties are so important. For this project, I filed a claim with my home warranty company. My home warranty company reimbursed me $400 for what I spent out-of-pocket on this project. This helped ease the overall cost on this project! I also received a $40 check from Rakuten from all of the online purchases I made for this project.
Total out of pocket expense after the reimbursement: $1,713 for parts & labor. There is no way I could have gutted that bathtub & installed a new one for less than that! I’m so happy I was able to salvage the original and keep it fairly budget friendly!