How Much a Shower Remodel Costs, from Prefab to Custom Walk-Ins

A long, steamy shower is the ideal way to unwind after a hard day. But if you’ve got a shower stall the size of a tin can, dated bath fixtures, or veins of mildew creeping over your tiling, your overall shower experience suffers.

What’ll it cost you to turn your old icky shower into a spa-like oasis?

According to bathroom remodeling data available online, the national average cost for installing a new shower is $4,130 (per HomeAdvisor). However, shower remodels can run as low as $300 for an economical option such as a premade kit, to $15,000 for a luxury walk-in, soaker tub combo.

That’s quite a range!

Let’s dig into those cost quotes and break down your shower remodel spend line by line.

A shower you can remodel for a low cost.
Source: (Sidekix Media / Unsplash)

Showering remodeling costs: The high level

If you’re taking out the tub, changing your shower layout, or using luxury materials for your shower remodel, costs are going to go up — whereas prefabricated kits and retiling an existing shower likely won’t run you as much. For a general overview, let’s compare a few of the web’s most reputable sources for shower remodeling costs:

Source: HomeAdvisor
Average shower remodel cost: $300-$3,000 (5% to 25% of total bathroom renovation costs)
Luxury (walk-in shower and soaker tub): $5,000-$15,000
Economical (premade kit): $200-$8,000
Methodology: HomeAdvisor sends out a short cost survey to homeowners who use its platform to find home renovation professionals.

Source: HomeGuide
Average shower remodel cost: $800-$5,000
Luxury (walk-in shower with soaker tub): $5,000-$15,000
Economical (premade kit): $4,000
Methodology: HomeGuide connects people to local contractors for project quotes. The site tracks millions of estimates from local companies and creates reports on averages for their Home Improvement and Repair Cost Estimator.

Source: Thumbtack
Average shower retiling cost (from 25 to 400 square feet): $547-$1,901
Standard tub with 6×8 feet of tile: $2,000
Average cost per square foot of tile: $25 per square foot
Methodology: Thumbtack tracks the price estimates it receives from millions of people annually and shares average pricing data on an array of home improvements projects.

A walk in shower that has been remodeled.
Source: (Jodie Johnson / Shutterstock)

Different types of shower remodels

When you set out to remodel your shower, you’ll also need to choose between one of the following shower types, which can greatly impact your spend:

Prefabricated shower (average cost: $815-$930)

According to Networx, a home pro matching platform since 2004, a prefabricated shower is one that has been manufactured in bulk at a factory and is usually made of three materials: plastic, Gelcoat fiberglass, and acrylic. Prefab units come in standard widths and are easier to install than custom units as your contractor needs only to assemble it, rather than tile it from scratch.

Prefab units are also durable with watertight construction, and ideal for DIYers. However, prefab showers are more limited than tile when it comes to color and design, and you’ll want to make sure the unit will fit through your door before you order it, advise the home reno experts at The Spruce.

Classic tub-shower combination ($4,600 to $6,600)

You see the tub-shower combo in a lot of family homes — it’s great for giving the kids a bath, but also works seamlessly for daily showers. The average cost to install a new tub is $3,600. If you’re retiling the surrounding shower, expect to pay $12.50 per square foot, and $25 per square foot for brand new tile (which requires more prep work than retiling). If you spend $1,000-$3,000 on retiling, you’re looking at a $4,600-$6,600 project for a new tub with freshly tiled walls.

Custom walk-in shower (average cost: $6,000-$10,000)

Walk-in showers built custom for a space will be pricier than a prefab shower. You can spend more or less on this project depending on the materials you select and how much customization you want. Promise Home Works, a 5-star bathroom remodeler in mid-Missouri, provides the following cost breakdown for different kinds of custom walk-in shower renovations:

Acrylic walk-in: $6,000-$7,000
Onyx walk-in: $7,000-$8,500
Walk-in with custom-tiled walls: $8,500 and $10,000

If you need to remove an old tub to make way for the walk-in (common for custom tub-to-shower conversions), you’ll pay between $1,200 to $3,600 to remove the tub, prep the surface, and set up the stall.

A shower fixture that cost money to install.
Source: (Abigail Lynn / Unsplash)

Cost breakdown of materials

Here’s how much homeowners can expect to spend on individual materials for their shower remodel:

Shower doors

Unless you choose a premade kit, you’ll have to select a shower door separately. Once again, price ranges are largely based on material and custom versus premade alternatives:

  • Framed doors cost around $200 on average. They’re relatively inexpensive and easy to come by, but the framing around the glass can take away the overall design of the shower.
  • Sliding doors cost closer to $300, and they’re easy to find and install. However, the sliding mechanism means one part of the shower is always blocked, even with the door open. In a small shower, this might make people feel claustrophobic.
  • French doors are more expensive ($900 on average) since they’re custom made. However, the door opens fully, making a small shower feel more expansive.
  • Frameless doors are most popular right now, says Mary Stewart, a Houston, Texas area real estate agent with 40 years of experience in the business. She explains: “It used to be that you couldn’t get one for less than $2,500, since they’re often made to order. Prices have gone down a bit. Lowe’s and Home Depot sell pretty nice looking ones for about $900.”

Tiling

The average cost to retile a shower is $12.50 per square foot, and the homeowner can expect to pay between $1,000-$3,000 for tiling to cover the shower floors and walls. Standard shower sizes range from 36 x 36 inches to 36 x 38 inches.

Consider using ceramic or porcelain tiles in the shower — both are more durable and absorb moisture well.

“We use a lot of porcelain tiles [in showers],” explains Lauren Ahrens, one half of the Austin Flipsters. The pair has flipped over a dozen houses in nearly as many months and counts over 65,000 subscribers on YouTube. “Porcelain looks like marble but much more affordable and easier to maintain.”

Fixtures

To ensure the longevity of your shower remodel, replace your shower pan. The shower pan lives on the entire floor of the shower under the tiling. Its sloped surface ensures proper drainage and the PVC liner below the cement keeps moisture from seeping any deeper. Ready-made pans cost between $200-$500, and a custom pan built on-site for a uniquely built shower will cost at least $650.

Showerhead

Showering can feel like a spa retreat, thanks to showerheads with rainfall features. Make your shower remodel feel extra luxe with a dual shower system ($629), or a more budget-friendly wall mount rainfall shower head for $70.

“Now they have these new showerheads that come from the ceiling,” explains Stewart. She’s seeing more buyers react positively to this modern shower trend. American Standard’s $195 ceiling mount rainfall showerhead is a best seller at Home Depot.

You might be taking on your remodel purely for personal quality of life, but don’t “over improve for the market,” suggests Ahrens. “We always recommend checking out other updated properties on the market to get an idea of what your house would sell for if updated.”

Related labor costs

According to HomeAdvisor, labor accounts for between 40% to 65% of a home remodel project. In the case of shower remodels, labor costs can skew higher: You’ll not only need to call in a plumber but also an electrician and tiling specialist to ensure you’re getting work that’s beautiful — and up to code.

Plumbing work

HomeAdvisor estimates the cost of hiring a plumber for a shower remodel costs anywhere between $1,000-$2,000. This includes replacing fixtures.

Professional tiling

On average, bathroom tile costs $25 per square foot to install when using a professional. Retiling a standalone shower using a professional will cost between $1,600-$2,120 for a ceramic tile shower.

Hauling of current fixtures

Demolishing a bathroom costs $1,000 to $2,300 so hauling away the current shower fixture will trend on the lower end. You can hire a contractor to do this on their own, or save a few bucks in hourly pay by assisting. If you’re an experienced DIY-er, you might even feel comfortable doing this on your own.

Water damage

To avoid future mold and moisture issues, it’s best to call in a professional for waterproofing. Remediating mold in the bathroom starts at around $500 on average, but significant water damage could lead to restoration costs closer to $2,700.

Permits

In most areas, something as simple as changing out a toilet will require a permit. A permit will run anywhere between $350 and $1,000, depending on locality.

Does a shower remodel increase home value?

A shower remodel is an important part of any significant bathroom renovation. However, if you are upgrading the shower without refreshing any of the other bathroom features, make sure you won’t be creating a mismatched look.

“I’ve never, in all my years said, ‘Oh, y’all need to remodel the shower,’” says Stewart. In her experience, homebuyers tend to ask why the remodeler stopped at the shower, if the rest of the bathroom appears old-fashioned.

“Once your shower is updated it may make the rest of your space look even more dated than it did before,” Ahrens echoes.

There’s also a catch when it comes to budget. Skimping on materials or labor could lead to more costs in the long run. Swapping out a dated prefab for a new one won’t necessarily add value. “They can be really tacky looking and cheap,” Stewart explains; buyers don’t always like them.

Looking to cut costs with DIY projects? If plumbing isn’t properly installed, or if the enclosure isn’t waterproofed, you run the risk of serious water damage.

A shower niche installed during a remodel.
Source: (ONNE Beauty / Unsplash)

How to maximize the value of your shower remodel

Motivation to remodel the shower might be purely personal, but certain design choices or projects can maximize the value of this project when it comes time for resale:

  • Don’t ditch every tub.
    If you’re considering swapping out your home’s single bathtub for a spa shower, think twice. “You always should leave a bathtub somewhere in the house because sometimes there’s going to be people, like me, who only take a bath,” advises Stewart. Similarly, shower-only homes can be a turn off for families with children or pets who regularly use the tub.
  • Go big.
    Make the shower as large as space allows, “the bigger the better when it comes to showers especially in the master bathroom,” says Ahrens. “We do a lot of glass enclosures — it makes the shower feel even bigger and gives it that modern look many buyers are after.”
  • Add built-in niches.
    In her flips, Ahrens notices buyers appreciating the little touches in the shower. “We love to add custom niches to our showers — a great spot to store shampoo and other essentials. If you’re retiling your shower anyway, consider adding built-in niches to avoid the dreaded shower caddy or bath rack.”
  • Select on-trend fixtures.
    Matte black shower fixtures add a bold touch to an open, minimalist shower stall. If you’re looking for a vintage touch, warm tone gold and brass faucets and fixtures are making a comeback.

Remodeling your shower: Worth it for you!

According to one Houzz study over 1,360 homeowners, 83% of bathroom renovators choose to upgrade the shower, and nearly half enjoy their main bathroom specifically for that relaxing cascade of water. If you’ve got the time and budget for a shower remodel, you’ll likely enjoy the upgrade for years to come. Just try to keep the whole bathroom looking new and fresh for resale!

Header Image Source: (Castorly Stock / Pexels)

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