Alcove Bathtubs: A Cost-Effective Solution

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A bright bathroom with a cream colored cabinet, subway tile shower and bathtub, and a patterned tile floor.

Alcove tubs, characterized by their three enclosed sides, are a popular choice for many homeowners due to their practicality, classic, energy-efficient alcove design. However, as you delve into the world of alcove tubs, you’ll quickly realize that despite the benefits of alcove tubs, their costs can vary significantly.

Alcove Tub Cost Factors: What Affects Your Bathroom Renovation Budget?

White, alcove tub under large window and next to half wall. On the other side of the half wall is a small shower. Hanging from the wall in front of the shower is a towel.

Several factors can affect the overall cost of an alcove tub, especially:

  • Tub material
  • Installation cost
  • Extra features

Let’s take a look at each of these factors:

Tub Unit Cost Factors

The cost of an alcove bathtub can vary depending on the material it’s made from. Basic fiberglass and acrylic tubs are generally the most affordable, with prices ranging from $250 to $700, depending on the size.

Cast iron and other premium materials can increase the cost by up to $2,000 or more. The size and shape of the tub can also impact the cost. Larger tubs typically cost more than smaller ones, and more complex shapes may require custom fabrication, which adds to the overall cost.

Installation Cost Factors

The cost of installing an alcove bathtub varies depending on multiple factors. Among the most important factors is the location of the tub. If the tub is installed in a new bathroom, the installation may be relatively straightforward.

However, if the tub is installed in an existing bathroom, the installation may require more extensive plumbing work, which can increase the cost. Or, if you choose to move the plumbing wall to a new location, this is likely to incur a considerable expense.

Other factors that can impact the installation cost include the complexity of the tub’s design, the type of plumbing fixtures required, and the skill level of the installer.

Extra Features Cost Factors

Extra alcove bathtub features, such as jets or a built-in heater, also increase the price. These features can add a few hundred to several thousand dollars to the overall cost of the tub.

While these features may be nice to have, they’re not always necessary. If you’re on a tight budget, a basic alcove bathtub without any extra features may be a better option.

Material Options for Alcove Bathtubs

White alcove bathtub with stone tile shower. Cupboard around the corner of the tub.

There are several alcove bathtub materials available. Each material has its own pros and cons, so it’s important to consider your needs and budget before making a decision.

This table shows the average cost of alcove bathtubs made from each material to help you determine which alcove bathtub material is best for your budget:

MaterialAverage Cost
Cast Iron$600 – $6,700
Acrylic$400 – $6,000
Enameled Steel$300 – $1,500
Fiberglass$500 – $2,000
Stone Resin$2,000 – $4,000
Porcelain$600 – $4,000

Cast Iron Alcove Bathtubs

Cast iron is a popular choice for alcove bathtubs due to its durability and classic look. Cast iron tubs are heavy and require a sturdy base to support their weight.

They are also more expensive than other materials, with an average cost of $600 to $6,700. Cast iron tubs are known for longevity and can last for decades with proper maintenance.

Acrylic Alcove Bathtubs

Acrylic is a lightweight and affordable material that is commonly used for alcove bathtubs. Acrylic tubs are easy to install, come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and are easy to clean and maintain. The average cost of an acrylic alcove tub is between $400 and $6,000, depending on the size and features.

Enameled Steel Alcove Bathtubs

Enameled steel is another affordable option for alcove bathtubs. These tubs are lightweight and easy to install, making them a popular choice for DIY projects. Enameled steel tubs are durable and resistant to scratches and stains. The average cost of an enameled steel alcove tub is between $300 and $1,500.

Fiberglass Alcove Bathtubs

Fiberglass is a lightweight and affordable material commonly used for alcove bathtubs. Fiberglass tubs are easy to install, clean, and maintain. Fiberglass tubs are available in a variety of sizes and shapes. The average cost of a fiberglass alcove tub is between $500 and $1,000, depending on the size and features.

Stone Resin Alcove Bathtubs

Stone resin is a high-end material that is known for its durability and luxurious look. Stone resin tubs are heavy and require a sturdy base to support their weight. They are also more expensive than other materials, with an average cost of $2,000 to $4,000. Stone resin tubs are known for their longevity and can last for decades with proper maintenance.

Porcelain Alcove Bathtubs

Porcelain is a classic material used for alcove bathtubs. Porcelain tubs are heavy and require a strong base to support the weight. They are typically more expensive than other materials, with an average cost of $600 to $4,000. Porcelain tubs are prized for their durability and classic look.

Installation Methods and Costs


There are two main options for installing alcove bathtubs: professional installation and DIY installation. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the costs associated with each method can vary significantly.

Professional Installation

Hiring a professional to install your alcove bathtub can ensure that the job is done correctly and efficiently. A professional installer will have the necessary tools and expertise to install the bathtub properly, which can save you time and money long-term.

The cost of professional installation varies depending on the location, the complexity of the installation, and the materials used.

DIY Installation

DIY installation can save you money on labor costs, but it can also be time-consuming and potentially dangerous if you don’t have the necessary skills and knowledge.

During DIY installation, you must follow specific processes to ensure the installation is done correctly. This process involves:

  • Installing mortar and studs.
  • Attaching the tile flange.
  • Connecting the drain.
  • Leveling the tub.
  • Sealing the tub.

The cost of DIY installation can vary depending on the materials used and any additional tools or equipment needed. Any mistakes made during the installation process may require spending more money to fix the problem than you would have if you had hired a professional.

The method of installation you choose for your alcove bathtub should depend on your skill level, budget, and personal preferences. Professional installation may be more expensive, it can ensure that the job is done correctly and efficiently.

Comparing the Cost of Alcove Bathtubs with Other Styles

Retro bathroom with alcove tub and single vanity. Mirror with built-in medicine cabinet. Bathtub has a shower curtain.

Alcove, freestanding, and drop-in bathtubs are three popular styles to consider when remodeling a bathroom. However, the cost of each type can vary significantly. In this section, we will compare the cost of alcove bathtubs with freestanding and drop-in tubs.

Bathtub TypeAverage Tub PriceAverage Installation Cost
Alcove$250 – $2,000$800
Freestanding$2,000 – $5,000$12,000
Drop-In$1,500 – $4,000$1,500 – $4,000
Sources: Modernize and This Old House and Modernize

Alcove vs Freestanding Bathtubs

Designed to fit into a three-wall enclosure, makes alcove tubs a popular choice for small bathrooms. Freestanding bathtubs are not attached to any walls and can be placed anywhere in the bathroom.

Alcove bathtubs are generally more affordable than freestanding bathtubs. Freestanding tubs require more plumbing and work to install, making them significantly more challenging to install than alcove bathtubs. Also, the faucet for a freestanding bathtub can cost more than the tub!

Alcove vs Drop-In Bathtubs

Drop-in bathtubs are installed into a pre-built frame or deck, providing a seamless look. Alcove bathtubs are installed against three walls and have an apron front.

Drop-in tubs can be more expensive than alcove tubs, depending on the size of the tub and the material the tub is made from. A large cast iron drop-in tub can cost up to $4,000, while a standard-sized fiberglass or acrylic alcove tub can be more affordable.

Alcove bathtubs are more cost-effective than freestanding and drop-in tubs, but the price can vary depending on the installation process and the tub size and material.

Choosing the Right Alcove Bathtub

Modern bathroom with a large wooden vanity with two large draws. Large mirror with wooden frame above the vanity. Alcove tub that has a glass front and very large marble tiles around shower.

Choosing the right alcove bathtub requires careful consideration of size, drain location, and additional features. By keeping these factors in mind, you can find the perfect tub to refresh your bathroom without breaking the bank.

Size Considerations

Size is among the most important factors to consider when choosing an alcove bathtub. Be sure the tub fits comfortably in your bathroom space while still providing enough room for you to relax.

Measure your bathroom space carefully and choose a tub that fits within those dimensions. Larger tubs may be more comfortable, but they can also be more expensive and take up more space.

Drain Location

The drain location is another important factor to consider. The drain location can affect the overall comfort of the tub and the ease of installation.

Some alcove bathtubs have a center drain, while others have a left or right-hand drain. (A left-hand drain will be on the left when you are standing in front of the long edge of your installed alcove tub.) Choose the drain location that best fits your needs and budget.

Additional Features

Consider any additional features that may enhance your bathing experience. Some alcove bathtubs come with lumbar support, which can be beneficial for anyone with back pain. Deep, curved soaking tubs can provide a more luxurious experience.

Some tubs also come with built-in shelves or ledges for holding soap and other bath products. Consider your personal preferences and budget when choosing additional features for your alcove bathtub.

Popular Alcove Bathtub Brands

White alcove whirlpool heated jetted tub
WOODBRIDGE 60″ Alcove Acrylic Rectangular Whirlpool Heated Jetted Tub. See it at Amazon

Several alcove bathtub brands are popular and well-regarded. Here are a few of the most notable ones:

American Standard

This company has been active for over 140 years and is known for producing high-quality bathroom fixtures. Their alcove bathtubs come in a variety of sizes and styles and are made from durable materials like acrylic. American Standard bathtubs are often praised for their comfort and ease of installation.


Woodbridge is a newer company that has quickly made a name for itself in the bathroom fixture industry. Their alcove bathtubs are made from high-gloss acrylic and are designed to be both stylish and functional. Many Woodbridge bathtubs come with added features like adjustable feet and overflow protection.


Kohler is a well-known brand that produces a wide range of bathroom fixtures, including alcove bathtubs. Their bathtubs are made from materials like cast iron and acrylic and come in a variety of sizes and styles. Kohler bathtubs are well-known for their durability and classic design.


Delta is another popular brand that produces a large catalog of bathroom fixtures, including alcove bathtubs. Delta bathtubs are made from materials like acrylic and fiberglass and come in a variety of sizes. These bathtubs are affordable and easy to install.


Moen produces high-quality bathroom fixtures that are modern, stylish, and functional. Their alcove bathtubs are made from materials like acrylic and fiberglass and come in multiple sizes and styles. Moen bathtubs are particularly durable and easy to maintain.

Is An Alcove Bathtub Right For You?

Alcove bathtubs are cost-effective and functional, making them a compelling choice for most homeowners. These tubs are often more affordable than other bathtub types, making luxury bathing experiences accessible to a wider range of budgets.

Their design maximizes available space, making them a practical solution for smaller bathrooms. These versatile tubs will not only meet your budget but also provide a comfortable and stylish bathing solution.

Tags: Alcove tubs, cost-effective alcove tub solutions

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