a white bathtub liner with a faucet fixture against brown walls

Bathtub Liner

Originally contributed by Jeff Butler • last updated 1/21/2021

The decision to repair or to replace a bathtub can be a difficult and potentially costly one. There are a few different options available but if you’re looking for many of the advantages of a new tub and shower without all the costs of a full reno, a bathtub liner may be a good choice.


A bathtub liner (sometimes referred to as a shower liner) is a molded insert that installs over your old cast iron or steel bathtub. They are typically installed by professionals and are often custom-fitted to your old tub. Most designs consist of two pieces, one to cover the tub and one to cover the walls, also making it easier for installation. They cannot be installed over old acrylic or freestanding tubs.

The Pros And Cons Of A Bathtub Liner

On the surface, a freshly installed bathtub liner may seem almost as good as a new tub. However, there are a couple of things to consider before making a final decision:

  • On the plus side, in many cases, an acrylic liner is quicker and less costly to install than a full replacement, allowing for the walls and floors to remain intact, which isn’t usually the case with a full reno.
  • Nevertheless, a bathtub liner is really only a cover up and doesn’t address any underlying structural or other problems that may exist. Also, because they are typically separated into two pieces, there is always a chance for water to seep between the old surface and the liner.