Your Guide to Replating Bathroom Fixtures

Paige Bennett
Written by Paige Bennett
Updated September 23, 2021
Replated bathroom sink faucet
Littleny - stock.adobe.com

Replating fixtures can give your bathroom a high-end look for less than the cost of replacing the fixtures

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Replating bathroom fixtures can upgrade any bathroom’s look while also helping fixtures last longer. Simply spray-painting high-touch points, like faucets, isn’t as durable as replating, which is also not as costly as replacing the fixtures. Here’s everything you need to know about replating, from what it is to how much it costs and how to do it.

What Is Replating?

Replating, also known as metal plating or electroplating, is wrapping a material in a thin sheet of metal. It involves removing the old plating and replacing it. This is a popular way to refresh worn, older fixtures or an outdated color.

Why You Should Replate Your Bathroom Fixtures

There are various reasons why you might decide to replate bathroom fixtures rather than painting over them or replacing them with something new.

  • Save money: Replating is less expensive than buying brand new fixtures if you like the shape of your existing features but don’t love the color.

  • Durability: Many people enjoy using metallic paint to refresh items, but because bathroom fixtures receive frequent use and are near a lot of moisture, the paint will look worn and dingy fast. Replating the fixtures is a long-term solution.

  • Restore vintage pieces: Metal replating often breathes new life into vintage items. You might find a stunning vintage faucet at a flea market, but it’s a little worse for wear. Replating can help restore vintage fixtures.

  • Aesthetics: Maybe you purchased a home and love the shape and functionality of the bathroom fixtures—but they’re chrome when you’re dreaming of a brass and marble bathroom. You can replate the fixtures in brass to match the bathroom aesthetic you want.

Types of Metals for Replating

Close up of brass bathroom faucet
Pkazmercyk - stock.adobe.com

There are many options for metal replating, but some can stand up better to moist environments, like bathrooms, better than others.

  • Gold: Gold offers a high-end look in bathrooms. It’s also resistant to oxidation, meaning it’s less likely to rust over time.

  • Copper: Copper offers a warm, luxe aesthetic, but it can form a green patina over time due to air and water exposure. You can opt for blackened copper plating for a vintage look.

  • Chrome: This metal is one of the best options for bathrooms because it is less resistant to rust and still looks sleek.

  • Bronze: Bronze is less resistant to rust compared to many other metal options, so it’s not the best option for bathrooms.

  • Brass: Because brass is susceptible to corrosion, it’s not ideal for bathrooms either. For a similar look, go for gold.

  • Tin: There are many benefits to tin plating. It’s usually a less expensive option for replating compared to metals like gold, copper, or chrome. It also has a high rust resistance.

  • Zinc: Zinc coating helps protect fixtures from rusting and is also a cost-effective plating option.

  • Nickel: A major perk of nickel fixtures is that they hide fingerprints and watermarks without sacrificing style, making nickel plating a great choice for bathrooms. Don’t confuse chrome and polished nickel, as they look very similar.

Cost of Replating Bathroom Fixtures

The cost of replating bathroom fixtures ranges from $100 to $500 per fixture depending on the size and finish.For a small bathroom sink fixture with chrome plating, you’ll spend closer to $100. Replating a bathtub faucet, which is larger, will average between $300 and $400. For a luxe gold faucet, you’ll spend about $500 per fixture.

If you want everything in the bathroom to match, you could even replate the drain or cabinet knobs, but this is less cost-effective than replating larger objects. These smaller pieces can cost about $50 each due to insurance costs and the cost of working with hazardous materials, but it can be less expensive to just replace these items.

Replating vs. Replacing Bathroom Fixtures

The question comes down to should you replate or replace your bathroom fixtures, but this really depends on your aesthetic preferences and your bathroom remodeling budget.

You can find new bathroom sink faucets for $50 to $100. But if you love the shape of your bathroom faucet or have a vintage model, it might make more sense for you to spend around $100 to replate it. 

Sometimes replating means saving a treasured fixture. This process can often save you money, particularly if you’re considering more expensive metal fixtures, like those plated in gold or copper. But other times, replacing your bathroom fixtures can be less expensive than replating.

Replating: DIY or Hire a Pro?

You have to hire a professional for metal replating. That’s because replating involves hazardous electrical processes and dangerous chemicals unsuitable for a DIY project. Hiring a metal plating professional has varying costs, typically ranging from $100 to $500 per fixture.

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