13 Common Bathtub Remodeling Mistakes You DO NOT Want to Make

The prospect of a bathtub remodel can be exhilarating.  Imagine transforming your bathroom into a personal haven of relaxation, complete with a luxurious soaking tub that melts away your stress.  However, amidst the excitement of design choices and tile samples, it’s easy to overlook crucial details that can derail your dream project and lead to costly mistakes.

This guide highlights 13 common pitfalls that can plague bathtub remodels, empowering you to navigate the process with confidence and avoid potential headaches.  By understanding these mistakes and taking proactive steps to prevent them, you can ensure your bathtub remodel is a smooth and successful journey towards creating your very own bathroom oasis.

Mistake #1: Lack of Proper Planning

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Before the demolition commences and the first tile is laid, meticulous planning is paramount.  Skipping this crucial step can lead to delays, frustration, and even exceeding your budget.  Here are some key elements of proper planning to ensure a successful bathtub remodel:

  • Budgeting with Realism: Bathtub remodels can vary significantly in cost depending on the scope of work, materials chosen, and labor involved. Start by creating a realistic budget that factors in all potential expenses. This includes the cost of the bathtub itself, plumbing and electrical work, permits (if applicable), demolition and removal of the existing bathtub, materials like tile and grout, and any additional features desired.
  • Don’t forget to account for potential unforeseen costs.  During demolition, you might encounter issues with the subflooring or outdated plumbing that require additional repairs.  Building in a buffer of 10-15% in your budget allows you to address these unexpected challenges without derailing your project.
  • Measuring Meticulously: Accurate measurements of your bathroom space are essential for choosing the right bathtub and ensuring a seamless installation. Measure the length, width, and height of your bathroom, taking into account doorways, windows, and any existing fixtures that might affect placement.
  • Sketch out a basic floor plan of your bathroom with the proposed bathtub layout.  This allows you to visualize clearances for moving around the bathtub, opening and closing shower doors (if applicable), and ensuring proper access to other bathroom features.
  • Crafting a Cohesive Plan: Beyond the budget and measurements, create a detailed plan outlining your vision for the remodeled bathroom. This should include the desired bathtub style (freestanding, alcove, corner), any additional features (whirlpool jets, grab bars), and the overall aesthetic you wish to achieve. Consider browsing design magazines, online resources, and bathroom showrooms to gather inspiration and identify elements that resonate with you.

This plan will serve as a roadmap throughout the project, guiding your decisions on materials, fixtures, and ensuring all elements work together cohesively to create your dream bathroom.

Mistake #2: Ignoring the Value of Professional Help

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While some individuals are adept at DIY projects, bathtub remodeling often requires specific expertise that can make a significant difference in the outcome.  Here’s how collaborating with professionals can enhance your bathtub remodel:

Licensed Plumbers and Electricians:

Plumbing and electrical work are integral parts of a bathtub remodel. Hiring licensed and insured professionals ensures safe and code-compliant installations. They can advise on the best plumbing configuration for your chosen bathtub, adjust existing plumbing lines as needed, and ensure proper water pressure and drainage.

Similarly, electricians are crucial for installing any electrical components associated with the bathtub, such as whirlpool jets, heated towel racks, or additional lighting fixtures.  They can ensure safe electrical wiring and adherence to all relevant safety codes.

Bathroom Designers – Expertise Meets Inspiration:

A bathroom designer can be an invaluable asset, particularly for those grappling with space limitations or having difficulty visualizing the finished product. They can offer creative solutions for maximizing space, suggest suitable bathtub options that cater to your needs and aesthetics, and help you create a cohesive design plan that incorporates flooring, tile selections, and other bathroom elements.

Their expertise extends to material selection, considering factors like durability, maintenance requirements, and compatibility with your desired aesthetic.  A good designer can translate your vision into a realistic and functional bathroom layout.

Contractors for Complex Projects:

For extensive bathtub remodels involving major structural changes, demolition of walls, or relocation of plumbing lines, consider consulting a qualified contractor. They can manage the entire project, overseeing various subcontractors, adhering to building codes, and ensuring the work is completed within the stipulated timeframe and budget.

Working with a reputable contractor offers peace of mind, knowing that experienced professionals are overseeing the project and handling complex aspects of the remodel.

Mistake #3: Underestimating Demolition and Removal Costs

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The excitement of installing a new bathtub can sometimes overshadow the reality of removing the existing one.  Underestimating the demolition and removal costs associated with the old bathtub can disrupt your budget and cause delays.  Here’s why it’s crucial to factor in these costs upfront:

  • Challenges Beyond the Surface: Removing an existing bathtub can be more complex than it seems. The bathtub might be secured to the floor with mortar or embedded in a tile surround. Additionally, outdated plumbing lines might need to be replaced, and unforeseen issues with the subflooring might arise during demolition.
  • These challenges can require additional time and labor, translating to increased costs.  A professional contractor or plumber can assess the existing setup and provide a more accurate estimate for demolition and removal.
  • The Disposal Factor:  Once the old bathtub is removed, the disposal costs need to be considered.  Depending on the size and material of the bathtub, hauling it away for proper disposal can incur additional fees.  Some contractors might include disposal costs in their estimates, while others might quote it separately.  Be sure to clarify this aspect before finalizing a contract.
  • Planning for the Unexpected:  Budgeting for demolition and removal should include a buffer for unforeseen circumstances.  These might include discovering damaged subflooring that needs repair before installing the new bathtub, encountering outdated and corroded plumbing that requires replacement, or needing additional tools or materials during the demolition process.

By factoring in a contingency fund, you can address these unexpected challenges without derailing your project financially.

Mistake #4: Choosing the Wrong Bathtub – Function, Form, and Fit

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The bathtub is the centerpiece of your remodeled bathroom, and choosing the right one is crucial for both aesthetics and functionality.  Here are some key factors to consider when selecting your dream bathtub:

  • Space Matters:  Measure your bathroom meticulously to ensure the chosen bathtub fits comfortably.  Consider not just the footprint of the bathtub itself but also the clearance needed for showering, opening and closing doors, and moving around the bathroom.  A spacious bathtub might look luxurious, but in a small bathroom, it can create a cramped and impractical layout.
  • Functionality First:  Beyond aesthetics, consider how you intend to use the bathtub.  Do you prioritize deep soaking experiences, or is a spacious shower area more important?  If both showering and bathing are priorities, explore bathtubs with built-in showerheads or those that can accommodate a separate shower enclosure. Think about additional features like whirlpool jets, grab bars for accessibility, or built-in armrests for added comfort during soaking.  Choosing a bathtub that caters to your specific needs ensures a more enjoyable and functional bathroom experience.
  • Material Matters: Bathtubs come in various materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Acrylic and fiberglass are popular choices due to their affordability and lightweight nature. However, they might not be as durable as cast iron, a classic material known for its exceptional heat retention and long lifespan. Stone resin bathtubs offer a luxurious feel but might require specific cleaning techniques and be more prone to scratches. Consider your budget, desired aesthetics, and the maintenance requirements of different materials when making your selection.
  • The Power of Visual Impact: The style of the bathtub plays a significant role in the overall aesthetic of your bathroom. Freestanding tubs offer a luxurious and spa-like feel, but they require ample space. Alcove tubs are a practical choice for smaller bathrooms, often incorporating a built-in shower area. Corner tubs maximize bathing area in a corner layout but might not suit all bathroom styles. Visualize how the chosen bathtub will integrate with your overall design plan, considering the style of faucets, tile selections, and other bathroom elements.

Mistake #5: Overlooking Maintenance and Future Needs

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While aesthetics and functionality are crucial, don’t neglect the long-term maintenance requirements and potential accessibility considerations when choosing a bathtub.  Here’s why planning for the future is essential:

  • Maintenance Matters: Different bathtub materials have varying maintenance needs. Acrylic and fiberglass are generally easy to clean but require specific cleaning solutions to avoid surface damage. Cast iron requires less frequent cleaning but might be more susceptible to rust if not properly maintained. Stone resin bathtubs offer a luxurious feel but might be more prone to staining and require specific cleaning products. Consider your lifestyle and cleaning preferences when choosing a bathtub material.  A low-maintenance option might be ideal for a busy household, while those willing to invest time in upkeep can explore more luxurious materials.
  • Accessibility for All: If you or someone in your household has mobility limitations or might in the future, consider accessibility features when selecting a bathtub. Walk-in tubs with low entry points and built-in grab bars offer a safer and more convenient bathing experience. Handheld showerheads and adjustable shower seats can also enhance accessibility. Thinking about long-term needs ensures your remodeled bathroom remains a functional and enjoyable space for everyone.

Mistake #6: Forgetting About Ventilation

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Bathrooms are inherently prone to moisture buildup due to showering, bathing, and humidity.  Overlooking proper ventilation in your remodeled bathroom can lead to a plethora of problems, including:

  • Mold and Mildew Growth:  Excess moisture creates a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can not only be unsightly but also pose health risks.  Proper ventilation helps remove moisture from the air, preventing the growth of these harmful organisms.
  • Structural Damage:  Persistent moisture can lead to peeling paint, warped wood fixtures, and even damage to drywall and flooring materials.  Adequate ventilation ensures moisture is properly expelled, protecting your bathroom from structural issues.
  • Lingering Odors:  Bathrooms with poor ventilation tend to accumulate unpleasant odors from soaps, shampoos, and damp towels.  Proper ventilation helps eliminate these odors, keeping your bathroom fresh and inviting.


  • Installing a Ventilation Fan:  A dedicated bathroom fan is essential for removing moisture-laden air.  When choosing a fan, consider the size of your bathroom and ensure it has the capacity to adequately remove moisture.  Look for fans with features like quiet operation and humidity sensors that automatically activate when needed.
  • Venting Directly Outdoors:  Ideally, your bathroom fan should vent directly outdoors through an exterior wall or the roof.  This ensures the moist air is completely removed from your bathroom environment.
  • Natural Ventilation:  Whenever possible, supplement your fan with natural ventilation by opening windows after showering or bathing.  This allows fresh air to circulate and further reduces moisture levels.

Mistake #7: Neglecting Proper Lighting

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Lighting plays a crucial role in the overall functionality and aesthetics of your bathroom.  Poor lighting can make showering or applying makeup difficult, while harsh lighting can create an uninviting atmosphere. Here’s why carefully planning your bathroom lighting is essential:

  • Task Lighting:  Task lighting provides focused illumination for specific areas like the vanity mirror or the bathtub/shower zone.  This allows for better visibility when grooming, shaving, or applying makeup.  Consider wall-mounted sconces on either side of the mirror or recessed lighting above the shower area.
  • Ambient Lighting:  Ambient lighting creates a general level of illumination throughout the bathroom.  This can be achieved with a central ceiling light fixture or strategically placed wall sconces.  Choose the intensity and color temperature of your ambient lighting to create a desired mood, opting for warm and inviting tones for a relaxing atmosphere.
  • Accent Lighting:  Accent lighting adds a touch of drama and highlights specific elements in your bathroom.  This could involve strategically placed LED strips under the bathtub, recessed lighting highlighting a tiled niche, or decorative sconces flanking the mirror.


  • Create a Lighting Plan:  Before selecting fixtures, create a lighting plan that considers task lighting needs, ambient illumination, and potential accent lighting features.  This ensures you have the right type and number of fixtures in the designated locations.
  • Layer Your Lighting:  Combine task lighting, ambient lighting, and accent lighting to create a well-rounded and functional bathroom environment.
  • Consider Dimming Capabilities:  Dimmable lighting allows you to adjust the intensity to suit different needs, creating a relaxing ambiance for soaking in the tub or a brighter setting for morning routines.

Mistake #8: Sacrificing Storage Solutions

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A well-designed bathroom remodel should prioritize both aesthetics and functionality.  Neglecting storage solutions can lead to clutter and a cramped feeling in your newly remodeled space.  Here’s why incorporating storage is crucial:

  • Maintaining Order:  Bathrooms tend to accumulate various toiletries, towels, and cleaning supplies.  Ample storage solutions help keep these items organized and prevent clutter from taking over your beautiful remodel.
  • Utilizing Space Wisely:  Explore creative storage solutions that maximize vertical space.  Wall-mounted cabinets, built-in shelves above the toilet, or a vanity with drawers and cabinets can provide ample storage without sacrificing floor space.
  • Aesthetics and Functionality:  Storage solutions can seamlessly blend into your overall design.  Consider built-in cabinets and drawers that match the style of your vanity, or explore open shelving options for a more modern aesthetic.


  • Assess Your Needs: Before choosing storage solutions, consider the types and quantities of items you need to store in your bathroom.  This will help you determine the amount and type of storage necessary.
  • Explore Options:  Go beyond traditional vanities.  Consider installing tall cabinets, utilizing recessed niches in the shower wall for storing toiletries, or adding a decorative freestanding shelf for towels.
  • Think Vertically:  Utilize the space above the toilet with a hanging cabinet or open shelves.  Install towel bars or hooks on the backs of bathroom doors for additional towel storage.

Mistake #9: Underestimating the Importance of Comfort

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The bathtub is the centerpiece of your remodeled bathroom, and its comfort level directly impacts your bathing experience. Here’s why prioritizing comfort is essential:

  • Ergonomic Design:  Choose a bathtub design that provides proper back and neck support for a truly relaxing soak. Consider bathtubs with built-in armrests or sloped backs for added comfort.
  • Surface Material:  The bathtub material can also affect comfort.  Cast iron bathtubs retain heat well, offering a luxurious warm soaking experience.  However, acrylic and fiberglass tubs may feel cooler to the touch.  Consider using a bath mat or bath pillow to enhance comfort in these materials.
  • Additional Touches:  Think beyond the bathtub itself.  Invest in plush bath towels, a comfortable bathrobe, and a bath mat with good absorbency to further enhance the comfort and enjoyment of your bathing experience.


  • Test Before You Buy:  Whenever possible, try sitting in different bathtub models to assess comfort level and ensure proper back and leg support.
  • Consider Extras:  Explore features like built-in whirlpool jets for a massage experience or a heated towel rack to keep towels warm and inviting.
  • Accessorize for Comfort: Invest in bath pillows for added neck support, bath mats with good cushioning, and soft, absorbent bath towels.

Mistake #10: Rushing the Process and Sacrificing Quality Workmanship

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The excitement of a new bathroom can be tempting, but rushing the process can lead to costly mistakes and delays. Here’s why taking your time and prioritizing quality workmanship is crucial:

  • Meticulous Planning:  As discussed earlier, thorough planning is essential for a successful remodel.  Rushing the planning phase can lead to overlooked details and potential issues during construction.
  • Finding Qualified Professionals:  Don’t settle for the first contractor or plumber you come across.  Take the time to research, interview, and obtain references before awarding contracts.  Qualified professionals will ensure high-quality work and adherence to building codes.
  • Allowing Buffer Time:  Unexpected delays can arise during any remodel project.  Factor in buffer time in your schedule to account for potential unforeseen circumstances.


  • Set Realistic Timelines:  Discuss realistic timelines with your contractor and subcontractors, considering the scope of work and potential lead times for materials.
  • Prioritize Quality:  Don’t be tempted to cut corners to save time or money.  Choosing qualified professionals and prioritizing quality workmanship will ensure a long-lasting and enjoyable bathroom.
  • Stay Informed:  Maintain open communication with your contractor and stay informed about the progress of the remodel.  This allows for early identification and resolution of any potential issues.

Mistake #11: Neglecting Floor Heating and Compromising Comfort and Luxury

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A cold bathroom floor can be a jarring experience, especially after stepping out of a warm shower or bath. While beautiful tiles or stone may add aesthetic appeal, they can also feel chilly underfoot. Here’s why considering floor heating can significantly enhance your bathroom experience:

  • Ultimate Comfort:  Imagine stepping out of a warm bathtub onto a toasty floor.  Radiant floor heating provides a luxurious and comfortable experience, particularly during colder months.
  • Even Heat Distribution:  Unlike space heaters that can create hot and cold zones, floor heating distributes heat evenly throughout the bathroom, ensuring a consistently warm and inviting environment.
  • Energy Efficiency:  Modern radiant floor heating systems are known for their energy efficiency.  They operate at lower temperatures compared to traditional space heaters, potentially reducing your energy bills.


  • Explore Options:  There are various floor heating systems available, including electric mats, hydronic systems that utilize hot water, and even radiant film heating installed under floor tiles.
  • Consult with Professionals:  Discuss the feasibility of installing floor heating in your bathroom with a qualified contractor or heating specialist.  They can assess your space, recommend suitable systems, and ensure proper installation.
  • Factor in Costs:  Floor heating adds to the overall cost of your remodel.  Weigh the benefits of enhanced comfort and potential energy savings against the initial investment.

Mistake #12: Overlooking Safety Considerations

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Bathrooms are inherently prone to slips and falls due to wet surfaces.  Overlooking safety features during your remodel can put yourself and others at risk of injury. Here’s why prioritizing safety is crucial:

  • Slip-Resistant Flooring:  Choose flooring materials with a textured or slip-resistant surface, especially in the shower area.  Consider tiles with a matte finish or explore options like natural stone with inherent slip resistance.
  • Grab Bars and Safety Features:  Install grab bars near the bathtub, shower entrance, and toilet to provide additional support and stability, particularly for elderly individuals or those with mobility limitations.
  • Proper Shower Design:  A well-designed shower with a sloped floor ensures proper water drainage, minimizing the risk of slips and falls.  Consider installing a handheld showerhead for added convenience and accessibility.


  • Consult with Experts:  Discuss your safety concerns with your contractor or bathroom designer.  They can recommend suitable safety features and ensure they are installed according to building codes and accessibility standards.
  • Think Long-Term:  Even if you don’t currently require additional support, consider incorporating grab bars and other safety features with an eye toward future needs.
  • Prioritize Accessibility:  A bathroom that caters to different abilities allows everyone to use it safely and comfortably.

Mistake #13: Forgetting About Technology Integration for Convenience and Luxury

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Modern technology can elevate your bathroom experience to a whole new level.  While not essential for everyone, neglecting the potential of technology integration during your remodel can mean missing out on added convenience and luxury.  Here are some ways technology can enhance your bathroom:

  • Smart Faucets and Shower Controls:  Imagine the ease of adjusting water temperature and flow through voice commands or a touchless interface.  Smart faucets and shower controls offer a touch of luxury and can simplify your bathroom routine.
  • Heated Towel Racks:  Stepping out of the shower to a warm, inviting towel can be a delightful experience.  Heated towel racks use minimal energy to keep towels toasty and dry.
  • Chromatherapy Lighting:  Incorporate LED lighting systems that offer color-changing options.  Chromatherapy uses colored light to promote relaxation and enhance your bathing experience.


  • Research Options:  Explore the various smart technology options available for bathrooms, considering features, functionality, and compatibility with your existing systems.
  • Prioritize Needs:  Choose technology that aligns with your lifestyle and budget.  Focus on features that will genuinely enhance your bathroom experience rather than simply adding unnecessary bells and whistles.
  • Future-Proofing:  Consider the potential for future technology integration during your remodel.  This could involve installing additional electrical outlets or leaving space for potential upgrades down the line.

Conclusion: Creating Your Dream Bathroom – A Smooth Journey Awaits

When planning a bathtub remodel, take the time for thorough planning, seek professional consultations when needed, and carefully select your bathtub itself to transform your bathtub remodel from a potential source of stress into a smooth and successful journey towards creating your dream bathroom.

The process of remodeling your bathroom can be an exciting one.  Use this opportunity to explore design trends, experiment with different materials and finishes, and create a space that reflects your personal style and promotes relaxation.


  • Planning is Key: Meticulous planning, budgeting, and creating a detailed vision will significantly increase the success of your remodel.
  • Seek Expert Help: Don’t hesitate to consult professionals like plumbers, electricians, bathroom designers, or contractors for a smooth and safe project.
  • Budget for the Unexpected: Factor in a buffer for demolition and removal costs, as well as potential unforeseen expenses during the remodel.
  • Choose Wisely: Select a bathtub that caters to your space, functionality needs, desired aesthetics, and long-term use.
  • Think Long-Term: Consider future maintenance requirements and potential accessibility needs to ensure your remodeled bathroom remains enjoyable for years to come.

Bonus Tip: With your vision and plan in place, create a mood board for your bathroom remodel.  This can be a physical board with samples, magazine clippings, and drawings, or a digital collection of images.  Using a mood board helps you visualize the finished product and ensure all elements, including the bathtub, cohesively come together to create a space that truly inspires you.

May your bathtub remodel journey be filled with inspiration, smooth sailing, and a beautiful, functional bathroom that awaits you at the end!


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