How Much Does a Shower Remodel Cost?
A remodeled shower can provide a soothing retreat at the end of the day while also adding to the resale value of a home. Shower remodel costs fall between $200 and $15,000, with the national average at $8,000.
- The typical range for shower remodel costs is $200 to $15,000, with a national average of $8,000.
- The main cost factors for shower remodeling are the shower size and type, project scope, bathroom age, material quality, labor, and geographic location.
- A shower remodel project can boost home value and improve safety and energy efficiency. Some upgrades may also make it easier for older adults to enter and exit the shower.
- Some aspects of a shower remodel may be suitable DIY projects. However, homeowners will want to leave the moving of plumbing or electrical lines as well as major construction to a qualified contractor if they haven’t undertaken a similar project before.
Any remodel that involves plumbing can strike fear in the hearts of homeowners. There is an assumption that bathroom and kitchen remodels equate to debt-inducing expenses. While that’s true, there are shower remodel cost options that can fit into almost any budget. So how much does a shower remodel cost? According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, the typical cost range is $200 to $15,000, with a national average of $8,000. Many options allow for a beautiful, cost-conscious remodel for much less than the national average, and there are a wide variety of choices that let a homeowner splurge on luxury elements. The shower is a place to wake up and gather energy or calm down and cool off at the end of the day, so it’s worth homeowners learning about how to improve this space in whatever way their budget will allow.
The overall shower remodel cost will depend mainly on a few things: the condition of the old shower, the size of the shower and extent of the remodel, the material and fixtures being used, and the cost of materials and labor in a given area. As with any project that involves opening walls, ceilings, and pipes, there is, of course, the potential for unforeseen complications that will drive up the cost, such as plumbing or structural problems, mold, or rot. On the other hand, discovering those problems early on may make it possible to address and correct them, preventing a disaster later that will be more expensive to fix.
There are many reasons for homeowners to consider improving a shower: safety, sustainability, and home value, as well as the appeal of a luxury spa inside the home. Exploring the options and their costs will help homeowners get their bathroom remodeling project off the ground.
Factors in Calculating Shower Remodel Cost
Some of the elements in a shower remodel are within a homeowner’s control, such as type of material, quality and size of the tile, and fixtures. Other costs may not be negotiable, such as permits and local labor costs, and the size of the existing shower may have a bearing on overall costs as well. It’s critical for homeowners to understand these nonnegotiable shower remodeling costs while building a budget, because what’s left over will make it simpler for homeowners to decide where to choose more or less expensive options to create their desired outcome without blowing their budget.
Shower Size and Type
How large is the existing shower? Is it a stall, walk-in, tub, or frameless? These details will affect the cost of a shower remodel for demolition and replacement: A larger shower with more structure will cost more to demolish and will require more material to fill that area, whether it is replaced with a smaller shower or one the same size. A simple fiberglass shower insert can cost as little as $400, with luxury options reaching $2,000 or more. In contrast, a combination tub-and-shower replacement will generally run around $3,000, and a walk-in shower will cost between $1,000 and $15,000 (plus plumbing and hardware). Depending on the footprint of the bathroom and existing shower, the style can be updated when remodeling or remain a version of what is already there.
The size and scope of the remodel will also significantly affect the total cost. If it’s just a quick refresh—installing a shower head and fixture, reglazing the tub, or adding one of the best shower curtains—the fee can be pretty small. If the homeowner plans to tear out the existing shower to the studs or reroute water lines and drains, the project will come in toward the higher end of the range because of the increase in materials, permits, and labor. The cost to add a bathroom from scratch will be even higher. In terms of a larger remodel project, homeowners can expect the shower to make up about 5 percent to 25 percent of the total cost of bathroom remodeling.
Bathroom Age and Condition
Newer homes are easier (and less expensive) to remodel simply because the materials used in the existing plumbing are likely to be easy to work with and up to (or close to) current code. This means that a homeowner or their plumber can change out hardware without much trouble, and any changes will be easy to retrofit. Construction materials and codes change through the years, so in the case of remodeling a bathroom in a home built more than 40 years ago, a contractor will recommend opening the walls and floors to get a picture of the plumbing and electrical situation. Homeowners who are not initially working with a contractor will come to this conclusion on their own when they can’t find any parts that fit their existing plumbing. In older homes, it’s likely that the pipes are galvanized—or worse, lead—and will need to be replaced to be brought up to code. Opening up walls and floors can lead to the discovery of other necessary repairs as well, so there’s a possibility of a sharp uptick in cost. If the home is older, it’s worth the homeowner consulting a contractor or plumber before getting too deep into the planning to evaluate the bathroom’s current status.
Basic shower materials can cost less without looking shoddy; a prefab shower unit can keep the shower remodel budget low while still refreshing the space and adding a modern look. Even shower heads can range in price, starting at $20 and going up as high as $500. Simple white subway tile looks classic without breaking the bank, while custom tile work and luxury fixtures can top the budget. This is one area with a vast range of options, and the homeowner is really in control. Choosing basic tiles with a narrow row of handmade ones can add a unique look but at a lower cost than a completely custom job. Homeowners can also balance splurging on the tile work with simple fixtures or taking on some of the labor themselves. Materials are a flexible budget item, but since it’s easy to get carried away, it’s a good idea for homeowners to spend some time thinking about these choices before making purchases.
Labor is a significant portion of any bathroom remodel. In a contractor’s estimate for a bathroom remodel, the labor costs can make up as much as 50 percent of the total—and this makes sense because tearing out the old shower, replacing wallboard and shower pans, tiling, grouting, sealing, and doing plumbing and electrical work is significant. The cost varies regionally, as well as by task, with plumbers’ and electricians’ costs ranging higher depending on the project. Some of those costs may be negotiable if the homeowner can do some of the work independently, but homeowners won’t want to be surprised by the labor costs—they’ll just want to make sure they’re itemized.
While the average cost of a shower remodel is $8,000, costs can vary from region to region. Factors like the availability of materials, labor prices, and cost of living can all contribute to how much a homeowner will pay. Homeowners will also want to keep in mind that prices tend to soar in urban settings compared to suburban and rural areas. Homeowners can look up “shower remodel near me” to get a sense of pricing in their area.
|State||Shower Remodel Cost|
Additional Costs and Considerations
Once the basic material and labor costs are planned, it may look like the budget is set, but there are still a few more items for the homeowner to prepare for. In any instance of taking down existing structures, there’s the possibility of finding surprises, and it’s essential to budget for those. Sometimes looking at tiles and fixtures will cause a homeowner to look at the rest of the bathroom with a critical eye, and decide that the shower would be perfect if it was turned sideways—but then the toilet would need to be moved too—and in an instant the project just got bigger. These potentials need to be part of the estimated cost to remodel a shower.
Permits are nonnegotiable. A municipality will decide which permits are necessary, and there’s no way around them. Many contractors can tell horror stories about ripping out tile work because a homeowner tried to skip pulling permits, so the contractor had to undo hours of labor to open walls for inspections. The homeowner or their contractor will want to contact their local permitting agency to determine which permits are necessary and acquire them, usually at a cost between $175 and $2,000.
It’s not uncommon to find trouble behind existing shower walls. Termite damage or dry rot requires repair work before a new and updated shower can be installed. If there’s lighting in the shower, moist conditions over the years can make electrical wire repair or replacement necessary. Any mold problems that are uncovered will cost $1,100 to $3,400 to clear up. The most expensive repairs will be plumbing problems: If there is damage to the supporting plumbing from years of rejiggering the fixtures or snaking out clogs, the plumbing will require repair before the project can get off the ground. This can cost between $600 and $1,600 in total. And if the water heater is old and corroded, this may be the time to replace it.
Tiling is another variable cost in a shower remodel. This figure ties into the scope of the remodel because homeowners can choose to tile only the shower or carry the tile around the room. The average cost of retiling a shower is between $6 and $32 per square foot. However, the choice of tile makes a huge difference in this total. Shower tile is available in large 36-inch-by-36-inch tiles, basic 4-inch squares, 4-inch-by-18-inch planks, subway tile, and small mosaic tile mounted on mesh. In addition, the tiles can be mass produced or hand finished, which contributes to the price range varying dramatically. Working with a professional will help narrow down the options by style and budget.
Homeowners who are going to the trouble and expense of replacing the whole shower will want to plan on replacing the shower pan. It’s the base of a shower that waterproofs underneath the tile and provides the proper slope for good drainage, so it’s not an item to skip replacing. Standard prefabricated pans cost around $200, but if the shower is a custom shape or size, a new pan can be built on-site for a higher price tag of up to $3,500. Once the pan and tiles are in place, it’s time for the homeowner to consider the best shower faucet options (if it’s a tub/shower combination) and the handles and mixer valves (the device that controls the mix of hot and cold water), plus any extras. Basic fixtures can be quite inexpensive, where luxury fittings can range into the thousands of dollars. Most homeowners spend between $200 and $600 for new fixtures.
A basic shower head can cost as little as $20. For a homeowner who is looking for an authentic rainfall experience, a ceiling-mount rainfall shower head might be the right choice. A rainfall shower head can cost $100 to $500. Others might prefer a refreshing body spray system or a dual-head system. This is another area where it’s possible to balance the budget: If handmade tiles are vital, a less-costly shower head could stretch the tile budget, but if the physical experience of the shower itself is the most important consideration, homeowners may want to consider splurging on one of the best shower heads on the market.
The days when the only shower door options were heavily frosted and aluminum-framed are gone. The best shower doors are a design element, not just a tool to keep water off the floor, and the option that is selected will affect both the look of the shower and the cost. Framed doors are still an option, but contemporary frames are much narrower and more elegant than those of the past. Framed doors cost between $350 and $830. Semi-frameless doors are another option that can be more attractive than framed, but they’re slightly more expensive at $820 to $2,000. Some of the trendiest shower doors are frameless, as they offer a clean look and open shower experience. These doors all used to be custom made, but their popularity has led to the production of standardized kits available at home improvement stores in the range of $1,000 to $3,000 (with luxury custom doors still available at higher costs).
Old Shower Removal
Home improvement television shows love to show “demo day,” where homeowners and contractors attack shower walls with a hammer and toss the debris into a dumpster. It looks like fun, but that kind of demo can do a lot more harm to the existing structure than it would seem. Plus, all the debris has to get hauled away somewhere. Homeowners can expect to pay between $70 and $800 to have their old shower removed and disposed of. Suppose the existing tiles are vintage or antique—in that case, a good contractor can help remove them carefully for potential resale. Occasionally, even a solid cast-iron tub can be donated for reuse. Either way, it’s important for the homeowner to factor in the labor cost to strip out the old shower, rent a dumpster, and pay for the disposal. If the home is old enough that there’s possibly asbestos in the ceiling or insulation, that removal and disposal can be more expensive.
Water Damage and Mold Remediation
Showers are wet spaces fed by yards and yards of pipes. Over time, every shower has its share of leaks, small and large. Most leaks escape notice until a wet spot appears on a ceiling or a mold patch draws the eye. Water damage can weaken beams or cause rot, which must be corrected before a new shower can be installed to maintain structural support. This can cost as much as $2,700 or more if the damage is significant. Mold and mildew can be addressed for $500 and up before it’s covered over with new wallboard and trapped.
This is when the cost of a shower remodel can start to rise. Moving plumbing fixtures is a high cost, as it usually means tearing out the floor of the entire bathroom and replumbing it—moving supply lines, drain connections, and framework. Staying in the current layout will save a significant amount of money, but if the shower really needs to be moved to fit the rest of the plan, homeowners can expect to pay between $600 and $1,600 per fixture that is being moved, plus the cost of redoing the whole floor.
If a planned change in layout doesn’t require moving plumbing, such as turning the shower 90 degrees and keeping the plumbing in place, it can be achieved for a reasonable price. Adding a wall or panel for privacy will add material and labor costs and won’t be an astronomical addition in terms of cost. Removing a wall can add $500 to $2,000 or more to the budget, including materials, labor, and repairs to or replacement of flooring. Hiring an electrician to move lights or wiring can cost homeowners $50 to $130 per hour.
If a homeowner is looking at luxury items for their new shower, they’ll find that the sky’s the limit on luxury bathroom fixture costs. Homeowners will want to bear in mind that the cost of luxury fixtures doesn’t end with the purchase. Luxury items tend to be more delicate and often require precise installation and careful handling, which will drive up labor costs. Steam showers cost about $4,325 on average, as they require precise calibration to install. A completely custom walk-in shower costs $6,000 to $10,000.
It isn’t always clear who to hire for a bathroom remodel or how many contractors will be needed. There are several situations where a homeowner may hire consultants to assist with shower remodel plans. If the number of options is overwhelming, or a homeowner has walk-in shower ideas and can’t quite figure out how to accomplish them, an interior designer who specializes in bathroom remodel ideas can help. These specialists cost between $50 and $200 per hour for a remodel plan and can save homeowners time and money by doing some of the shopping and comparison to help them avoid costly plan changes later. In addition, if the shower remodel needs to be ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant or is intended to make an elderly family member safer and more comfortable, homeowners will want to choose a designer or specialist who is familiar with those requirements and can streamline design choices to make the shower both beautiful and accessible.
Shower Remodel Cost by Type of Shower
The type of shower a homeowner chooses to install is a matter of style, budget, and practicality. Does the family need a bathtub? Is a shower with a low curb or step-free entry necessary? How much space is available in the bathroom? Sometimes it boils down to the geometry of the bathroom space—a homeowner may long for a soaking tub with a ceiling-mount shower, but if the bathroom isn’t wide enough, that may not be an option.
|Type of Shower||Average Remodeling Cost|
|Prefabricated||$200 to $8,000|
|Walk-in||$4,200 to $8,500|
|Bathtub to shower||$1,200 to $3,600|
Prefabricated showers are reliable and budget-friendly. Because they are already assembled, they can reduce leaks and maintenance. A contractor can quickly and inexpensively fit them into the space where a previous shower existed. The shape of the unit will determine the cost, but these average as little as $200 to as much as $8,000 plus $400 to $1,000 for installation, and they are less likely to incur extra material or luxury costs outside of the initial pricing. They are available in several different styles to fit any space.
Walk-in showers have a lot of appeal. The absence of barriers such as doors, curtains, or step edges creates an illusion of wide-open space and feels luxurious. These showers involve a slightly sloped floor and may include a small edge to keep water where it belongs. They’re ideal for those with mobility issues as well. They do offer less privacy, which is something to consider when multiple family members use the bathroom at once. A walk-in shower remodel costs between $4,200 and $8,500, with premade walk-in shower kits occupying the lower end of the spectrum.
In many houses, the tub-and-shower combination is standard for the main bathroom. The combination offers many design options in terms of tile and fixtures to create a look that suits the home’s style, and there are far more opportunities to choose a comfortable and attractive tub than there were in the past. A tub-and-shower combination costs $3,000 on average.
Bathtub to Shower
Excavating a bathtub, especially if it’s an old cast-iron beast, may add to demolition charges but can really open up the options for a walk-in or frameless shower option. If there is only one full bathroom in the home, homeowners will want to be careful about removing a tub, as homes without at least one bathtub can be off-putting for some home buyers—most families with young children (or those who enjoy baths) will hesitate to purchase a house without a tub. A tub-to-shower conversion costs between $1,200 and $3,600 and potentially more, depending on the chosen elements.
Benefits of a Shower Remodel
Why remodel the shower? It’s certainly possible to regrout and recaulk the existing shower, reglaze, or possibly even paint to refresh it. But there are some excellent reasons for homeowners to go a step further and remodel.
Increase Home Value
An old bathroom with patched-over age markers will drag down the value of any home, as most buyers see a bathroom that needs complete rehab as a potential money pit. Bathroom remodels have some of the highest returns on investment in the real estate market because a fresh, new bathroom can make buyers feel like a higher price is justified—even if the remodel was completed economically.
Slippery tiles, cracked grout, and out-of-date fixtures are all safety hazards, and homeowners encounter them daily in a space that also includes electrical features. If it’s been a while since the shower was updated, there may be valid safety concerns that can be addressed with a remodel.
Efficiency and Sustainability
New showers include fixtures that save water without reducing the pressure, so homeowners can feel good about the environmental impact of their shower without losing the personal impact of a strong, hot shower. Older bathroom materials may consist of elements that aren’t as environmentally friendly, and older pipes may have chemicals leaching into the water. While a shower remodel will add some materials to a landfill (less if some of the debris can be recycled), the sustainable materials and water-saving devices in the new one will help protect the environment for years to come.
Aging in Place
A high tub wall may be too much for older people or those with knee, hip, or balance concerns to overcome. Something that seems so minor can be an obstacle that prevents people from remaining in their homes as they age. Walk-in tub-and-shower combos make it easier and safer to access the shower. Slip-resistant coatings or flooring choices make falls less likely. Modern safety grab bars, especially those installed as part of a remodel instead of added on later, can be aesthetically pleasing as well as sturdy. In some communities, this will absolutely add value to the home. In other cases, if the remodel allows a family member to stay comfortably in their own home instead of being uprooted, it’s worthwhile whether it adds value or not.
Shower Remodeling: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
It’s easy for a homeowner to get excited about starting a remodel project while looking at shower remodel ideas and inspiration online. There are certainly many elements of a shower remodel that a handy homeowner can take on. Doing a remodel independently can save homeowners significantly on the labor costs, and it can be done on their own timeline without having to wait for a contractor’s schedule to open up. A DIY remodel will likely take more time than a professional remodel, however. Shower renovations are full of potential pitfalls, so if a homeowner chooses to remodel their only shower and runs into a problem they don’t know how to fix, the inconvenience (and cost) will be significant.
And the biggest downside to DIY-ing this particular project is water. It’s sneaky and committed to leaking through the slightest opening. For homeowners who don’t have significant experience with installing waterproofing or know how to install a shower pan, a shower remodel is an expensive project to get wrong because it won’t be cost savings if water starts dripping through the ceiling.
A contractor knows the best order in which to proceed, problems to look for, and which tools they need to bring (which they probably already own). They have plumbers and electricians on speed dial to call in for help and sheets of subfloor in their truck if it turns out the existing one is damaged and needs replacing. Their experience means the results will be more polished and reliable. And if water does start to leak through the ceiling, there is someone to call to fix it—at their expense.
Homeowners who are handy with tile may choose to hire a contractor to install the shower pan and wallboard and check the plumbing, then install the tile themselves. They may also try doing the demolition to defray the cost. But they’ll want to carefully consider the pros and cons of doing a DIY bathroom remodel versus hiring a pro.
How to Save Money on Shower Remodel Cost
The cost of remodeling a shower can quickly become overwhelming. The potential for the budget to increase without warning is a concern for many remodelers. There are several ways to keep costs under control without sacrificing a clean, new look.
- Maintain the original layout: Keep the walls in place and the size and layout the same. Keeping plumbing and electrical as is will significantly reduce the total cost (and the potential for surprises).
- Preserve walls where possible: If the drywall behind the existing shower is relatively new or in excellent condition, see if it can be saved. Individual sections that have failed or been damaged can often be replaced with new pieces without tearing out the whole wall.
- Give the tub a face-lift: If the tub is in satisfactory condition, consider reinstalling it with the new tile and shower fixtures or having it reglazed to match.
- Consider a prefab unit: These are less expensive across the board and have come a long way from the shiny, plastic-looking models of the past. Many have a much more luxurious appearance than expected, and they offer significant cost savings.
Questions to Ask About Shower Remodeling
Experience, insurance, and references: These are three things homeowners will want to ask any potential contractor about before even considering hiring them. While sometimes it’s OK to take a chance on a new or less experienced contractor, it’s still wise for a homeowner to ask for examples of their work and ask questions about how they would deal with unexpected situations. Homeowners will want to check references, because just having a contractor provide them doesn’t guarantee they’re positive. They can ask the references what problems they had and what they would have managed differently. Beyond those basic questions, there are a few other things for homeowners to ask a shower remodeler.
- What does your remodeling schedule look like?
- Do you have in-house subcontractors, or do you contract out?
- How do you manage schedule conflicts with the subcontractors?
- What challenges do you expect in a house this age?
- How do you plan to handle any challenges you come across?
- Will you itemize the contract so I can see the breakdown of expenses?
- What is the payment structure for the remodel?
- Are there parts of the remodel that I can tackle myself to keep costs down?
- What kind of warranty or guarantee do you offer on your work?
- What happens if there’s a problem after you’re finished?
Planning a shower remodel involves a lot of decision-making, which can be overwhelming. However, working with a qualified professional and planning carefully will result in a new space that raises the value of the home and increases a homeowner’s own enjoyment of their home. The following are a few common questions about shower remodels and their answers to help homeowners get started.
Q. How much does it cost to remodel a shower?
The average cost for a shower remodel is $8,000. However, the average range runs between $2,000 and $15,000, depending on the decisions being made and the cost of labor and materials in the area, and it can go much higher if the space is luxurious.
Q. How much does it cost to build a tile shower?
The cost to tile a shower will normally run between $225 and $1,920, including the disposal of old tile, installation of tile base, installation of tiles, grouting, and setting, along with the extra tiles. It’s important for a homeowner or contractor to order enough to compensate for breakage or pattern matching. This wide range reflects the cost difference between ceramic or porcelain tiles, glass tiles, and natural stone or other luxury materials. Labor may be slightly higher for complicated patterns, and the total cost will be lower for tub-and-shower combinations because those don’t require the floor or lower part of the wall to be tiled.
Q. Can I remodel my bathroom for $2,000?
A cost of $2,000 is quite a bit lower than the average range, but as long as fixtures and walls are being left in place and choices about materials are made carefully, it can be done. It may be possible for a homeowner to get a little more out of their budget by offering to do some of the demolition to reduce the labor costs and have that extra cash to spend elsewhere. Depending on the size and shape of the bathroom, it may be necessary for a homeowner to choose a prefabricated shower insert. Even with a lower budget, though, it will likely be possible to refresh the space and enjoy a clean, modern bathroom without spending an exorbitant amount.