A new bathtub can give your bathroom a completely new look and feel. If you’re replacing an old tub, you’ll get an upgraded, fresh look – minus any damage to the old tub.
If you’re replacing a shower or a wet room with a tub, it can give you a space to relax and enjoy. It may even add to the value of your home. However, the cost to fit a new bathtub will depend on several factors.
For example, average bathroom fitting costs are about £2,000. However, you can have a new tub fitted to replace an old one for about £200 in labour plus the cost of the new tub. And, if you want to install a new tub to replace a shower, you’re probably looking at £800-£1,500 in labour costs plus the cost of the new tub.
Of course, that can vary a great deal. For example, the cost to install a freestanding tub can be as little as £200 + the cost of the tub.
How Much Does It Cost to Install A Bathtub?*
Most of the cost of fitting a bathtub will be the cost of the tub itself. However, you may require significant work to remove the old shower and facilities. In addition, you might have to re-route old plumbing, re-do the tile, etc.
New Tub £120-£5,000+
Bathroom Remodelling £0-£4,000+
Grand Total £380-£9,820
*Please note these cost estimates are based on quotes at the time of writing in May 2023. Actual costs may vary, please use these numbers as a basis for your own research.
Here, a large portion of cost factors depend on what you’re starting out with:
- Installing Freestanding Tub in Tiled Bathroom with Existing Plumbing – £200+ tub
- Installing Freestanding Tub in Tiled Bathroom with No Existing Plumbing – £350- £600 + tub
- Removing Old Shower and Installing New Tub – £500- £5,000 + tub
- Removing Old Tub and Installing New Tub in its Place – £250- £1,250 + tub
5 Factors That Affect New Bathtub Fitting Prices
The cost of a bathroom remodel can vary significantly. Even if you fully prep the bathroom yourself and just have to supply and fit the tub, costs can range anywhere from under £500 to over £10,000.
That’s in part because of the dramatic difference in the cost of bathroom units. It also depends on how much work has to be done in your bathroom.
1. Cost of Labour
The cost of labour can be a significant part of remodelling your bathroom. For example, if you have to rip an old shower out, reinforce the floor, tile over the new area, and move lighting to fit the new room – it’s going to be 2 or more weeks of work. In fact, the average cost of removing an old shower ranges anywhere from £500-£4,000 depending on what kind of shower it is.
In most cases, labour costs an average of £30 per hour or £150 per day. However, you can go as low as £12 and as high as £60 depending on where you live.
Here, a simple shower stall with a plastic pan is the simplest to remove. However, chances are high that you have a concrete pour around the shower. You might also have to break up the floor to move the plumbing if you have a concrete pour.
Jobs here can involve:
- Removing the old shower stall – Removing an old shower stall may be a simple matter of cutting out a few silicone joints, it may mean much more work.
- Levelling the floor – Chances are your bathroom is sloped for a drain or raised for a shower pan, you’ll want to level it either way.
- Replacing the wall – if your shower cabin is built into the wall, it may be impossible to remove it without cutting the drywall/multiply out
- Reinforcing the floor (that can mean doubling the joists or replacing the ply-wood panelling under the tile in the full bathroom – which will cost £16- £70 per square metre in materials and about a day of labour for 2 people – or roughly £300)
- Retiling – Usually about a day per wall/floor
- Moving the drains – your tub may have a drain at the centre or the back. Drain placement and tap placement also depend on where you want to fit the tub. For example, if you’re fitting a tub against the wall with centre taps, you might not have to move anything. On the other hand, if you move the tub to the middle of the room, that’s a very different story.
Essentially, there can be a significant amount of labour involved in moving or installing a tub.
2. Remodelling Costs
Remodelling costs can be a significant factor in the cost of fitting a tub. For example:
- New tiling – £12-£170 per square metre (materials) + £150- £200 per day (per floor/wall) for labour
- Disposing of Old Fixtures – £100-£250+
- Redoing Walls – £60-£70 per square metre + Labour (usually about £60 per wall)
- Design costs – if applicable
It’s very unlikely that you can strip out an old shower stall and have a room that still looks good. You’ll have to invest to prep the room for the new tub – including changing the tiling, the location of the pipes, the taps, etc.
The cheapest tubs start out at around £120 per for a fibreglass single-ended tub. The most expensive tubs cost over £10,000. For most people, the sweet spot of budget is somewhere between £500 and £1,200. However, you may want to spend more or less. Consider shopping around to look at options and their price tags before you set a budget.
In addition, you can expect pricing to change based on the tub material. If you want an acrylic/fibreglass tub, costs start out at around £120. That’s also true for steel tubs. However, if you aint a cast iron tub, you’ll likely pay closer to £1,000 no matter what model you get. And, if you want a marble or concrete tub, you’re going to pay over £1,000.
You’ll also have to tack on delivery – which for a stone or cement tub may be well over £200.
There are also different types of baths. For example, a freestanding tub will normally start out at around £400. However, you’ll probably be happier with the quality from about £1,000. On the other hand, shower and single-ended baths usually start out at around £200. And, double-ended tubs are almost always over £1,000, even for acrylic baths.
4. Other Fixtures
You’ll almost always have to fit other fixtures around your tub. For example, if you want a shower head with the tub, expect to add on another £200-£500 to your budget. If you want new taps that don’t come with the tub, you’ll have to add on £50-£500. And, if you want other fixtures like sinks, toilet units, etc., expect to pay £100-£500 per fixture.
5. Plumbing Costs
Plumbing costs will vary significantly depending on what you want to do. Here, you can almost always expect costs to start out at around £200. Most plumbers charge between £30 and £60 per hour –or £200-£250 per day.
Here, rerouting plumbing can take a significant amount of time. That’s especially true if you have a concrete pour around your drains and want to move them. Getting them out may involve breaking up the concrete and re-pouring it around the new drains.
- Moving drains
- Rerouting hot and cold water lines
- Installing extra hot and cold water lines for a shower bath
- Installing underfloor heating
Timelines will depend on how much the bathroom is stripped back and what the original plumbing was built in.
Why Replace A Shower With A Bath?
For many people, a bath is a sign of luxury. It means having a space where you can take time to relax in your own home. And, having that space can positively affect the value of your home.
- Many people prefer baths to showers, so you may be able to ask more for your home with a bath installed. That’s especially true in family homes, as many people prefer baths for kids.
- Good quality baths can last two or more decades, while most shower cabins are rated for 10-15 years.
- Baths give you a space to relax – and you can fit a shower in your tub as well so you don’t lose any convenience.
- Baths may reduce cleanup of spilled water over low shower cabins and wetrooms.
- Baths are accessible for younger family members, as most children under 8 cannot easily shower
- If you’re replacing an old bath, putting a new one in the same place is the most cost-effective way to replace it
Eventually, most people think baths are a lot more expensive than showers. This isn’t always the case, as baths and shower cabins are about on-part in terms of cost. And, if you have a freestanding tub, it could actually be less work to fit than a shower cabin.
Bathtub Installation Timeline
Fitting a bath can take anywhere from less than a day to over 6 weeks depending on the amount of work you do around it.
- Request quotes from plumbers registered with the Competent Person’s Scheme and choose one
- 6 weeks before building starts – Check if you need planning permission (E.g., if it’s a new bathroom on your property and apply for it if necessary). You’ll have to have picked a plumber at this stage.
- Choose fixtures and the tub
- Have the old fixtures removed – 1-3 days
- Re-route the drains and water lines – 1-2 days
- Check flooring and walls – 1-4 days
- Level the floor – 1-3 days
- Re-tile – 1-5 days
- Fit tub – 1-5 hours
- Fit taps – 1-2 hours
In most cases, your project should be finished in about 2 weeks. However, it may go faster or take longer depending on what you’re working with.
How Long Does Bathtub Installation Take?
In most cases, you can expect to remodel your bathroom with a new tub in about two weeks. However, if you’re replacing a tub in an old location for a tub, you could have the plumber in and out on the same day.
On the other hand, if you have to rip out the old shower and retile the area, that might take several weeks. And, if you have to re-do the underfloor to support a cast-iron tub, you might spend up to 6 weeks on the work.
In addition, if you’ve opted for a whirlpool or spa bath, you might also have to factor electrical fitting into the timeline as well.
Types Of Bathtubs
There are dozens of different kinds of tubs available. However, you’ll likely end up with either a freestanding or a standard bath.
A single-ended or “regular” tub is the classic tub that fits against a wall, with one slanted end to lean on and one end to lean on. This is the cheapest tub option and also the most common.
- Fits well into corners and in small spaces
- Not very spacious
- Adds minimal value to your home
Double-ended baths are normally intended to install against a wall, but not in a corner. Both ends are either straight or slanted, meaning the tub is uniform. In addition, these normally cost more than single-ended tubs, because they have side-walls on each end and the front. This can greatly increase costs and weight when you choose cast iron, porcelain, or stone.
- Fits well into spaces that aren’t corners
- Not as standard as single-ended tubs
- May not be as designed around utilising space well as single-ended tubs
Shower baths feature a glass wall and a shower on the side of the tub. This makes it easy to conveniently shower without sacrificing having a tub.
- More convenient than just a bath for daily use
- Circumvents the need for a separate shower
- Can have less water splashing than a standard shower pan
- You’ll need a shower screen or curtain, which can break up the look of your tub
- Getting in and out of a tub to shower is less convenient than a shower stall
Slipper baths are designed to stand in the middle of the room, meaning they don’t fit anywhere but large bathrooms. However, they create a classic look, and many people like the effect of the raised feet and rounded tops.
- Adds value
- Easy to use for giving children baths or playtime
- Designed for accessibility
- Require a lot of floorspace
- Almost certainly require moving taps and drains
Whirlpool and spa baths are a luxury choice that you can install freestanding, against the side of the tub, or built into the floor. These are always expensive, but can create a very nice way to relax year round.
- Add to the value of your home
- Are great for relaxing
- Normally don’t cost much more than a high-end standard tub
- More difficult to clean for standard bathing
- Require electrical work and moving the plumbing
Freestanding baths are any of a number of bathtub options that are intended to be installed in the middle of a room. These can add a feeling of luxury and mean you won’t have to damage walls to install them. However, they also take up more space.
- Most people like the look of freestanding baths
- You can choose custom sizes and even have a custom concrete bath built for you
- Ease of access for parents with children
- Require a lot of floorspace
- Normally require moving the taps and drains
- May be expensive
Does Planning Permission Or Building Regulation Apply?
In most cases, you won’t need planning permission for renovating an existing bathroom. However, you’ll need planning permission if you intend to install your bath in a new bathroom.
In addition, you’ll always have to notify building control. This will cost £170-£690 depending on where you live in the UK. However, if you have a plumber who is registered with the Competent Person’s Scheme, they can handle that notification for you and may even roll it into their quote.
You’ll have to notify for:
- Moving drainage
- Removing hot and cold water supply
- Moving the central heating pipework
- Reinforcing the floor
- Ventilation changes
- Any new heating
- Electrical work
If you’re building a new bathroom, you’ll have to present building plans to get permission. That can take 6-8 weeks. However, it’s required, as installing a new bathroom means:
- Fitting ventilation
- Reinforcing the floor (rooms that aren’t used as bathrooms usually have thinner under flooring)
- Rewiring the room
- Electrical safety measures
- Mold and water-damage prevention measures
In either case, hiring someone from the Competent Person’s Scheme is a good first step to ensure that you get the necessary permissions you need.
Final Hiring Checklist
Hiring a plumbing company to fit your tub can mean researching what you need. For example, if you also have to renovate the bathroom, you may want to rely on a general contractor with plumbing expertise.
- Research options and check who is available in your area
- Request quotes and compare them
- Check relevant qualifications, and make sure they are in the Competent Person’s Register
- Ask about liability insurance
- Check for worker’s compensation insurance
- Ask about workmanship guarantees
- Check listed timelines and what’s included in the quote
It’s always important to compare what’s actually listed in quotes, as some contractors will list everything clearly and others won’t, and the clear quotes are usually better.
Fitting a new tub can cost as little as £200 if you’re simply replacing an old one in the same location. However, it can cost over £10,000. The average cost of fitting a new tub is £2,000, including the tub. However, baths cost anywhere from £100 to over £10,000, so those costs vary a lot as well. If you want to see what your project will actually cost, use the form at the top of the page to request quotes from local contractors.