Shower remodel costs 2021 – walk-in and bathtub shower combinations

Need to know shower remodel costs? We’ve got the lowdown on what you should budget

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If your shower isn’t giving you a great start to the day, you like the idea of a more upscale version, or the stall is crying out for an update, you’ll be ready for an improvement project. But what about the shower remodel cost? 

Remodeling a shower could mean a spruce up at a modest price, but you might want to revamp the space from top to toe, incurring higher costs accordingly. Either way, though, you can end up with a shower you’ll enjoy using and that looks great, too.

Just as with bathroom remodel costs what you should expect to pay will also vary according to the size of your room, which professionals you call in to help with your project, and which fixtures you want. We’ve taken a look at shower installation cost along with all your options so you can plan your project.

What factors influence shower remodel cost?

When you’re planning your project, it pays to be aware of the different factors that influence shower remodel cost. 

‘Contrary to popular belief, the main reason for a cost increase for a shower remodel does not have to do with the actual size of the bathroom or shower,’ explains Joseph Tsedaka, principal of bathroom remodel specialist NOMI

‘Instead, the number one reason the cost will go up or down has to do with the plumbing fixtures and the type of plumbing application for the bathroom. For example, if you are looking to convert your tub into a standing shower, you will oftentimes need to rearrange and move the plumbing, while also adding details such as a showerhead, additional tiles, etc, which can add to that cost.  

‘However, it is also important to understand that materials are 20 to 30 percent of the overall price. So, the fact that you’re going to have high-end materials put in can seem daunting at first but, in the end, it’s only 20 to 30 percent of your cost. It’s not going to move the needle a whole lot.’

Where you live will also affect what you pay. ‘If you’re renovating in busier areas, like major cities, you’ll likely face steeper labor and material costs because of higher demand,’ says Bailey Carson, home care expert at Angi. ‘For a bathroom addition or complete remodel, keep in mind that you may also need to secure certain building permits, which can range from $350 to $1,800.’

Who you call in to assist with your project also counts. ‘For more intense remodels and redesigns, you may need to recruit the help of a number of different pros including a plumber, contractor and even an interior designer, all of which can add up in terms of labor prices, and cost as much as 50 percent of your total project expense,’ says Carson. 

What are the shower remodel options?

A shower remodel can range from a simple update to an overhaul of the entire room. 

A low cost upgrade is to get a new shower door enclosure and base kit. Take on the work yourself and you’re looking at an economical remodel. 

However, bear in mind this advice from Eric Phillips of Dripfina: ‘In order to install it, you’re going to need to be able to seal and grout the base yourself , and buy a new shower if you need one of those. So, if you’re trying to remodel a whole shower for under $2,000 or $3,000 you’d better be extremely handy.’ 

If it is time for a new shower, a stylish new showerhead and faucet could cost less than $100. As for shower installation cost, expect to pay from around $500 for labor if you call in a pro.  

In the UK, you could pay from around £250 for a new shower enclosure and tray plus mixer shower.

It’s worth thinking about the longevity of your shower, too.  ‘When purchasing a shower fixture, buy from a well-known brand,’ advises Jake Romano of John The Plumber. ‘The reason being (aside from the reputation) that it’s easier to find replacement parts down the road if you purchase a brand that’s carried everywhere and well-known.’

If your remodel is more extensive, are you going for a tub-shower combination or a standing shower?

‘Typically, a standing shower will cost more than a tub,’ says Tsedaka. ‘If you’re in need of a full tub to shower conversion, there are a lot of additional details that go into this. For example, you will need to remove the tub and then you need to relocate the location of the drain, build a custom shower pen and waterproof the floors and walls. Lastly, you will need to change the location of the controller (ie, raise it to waist height, etc) as well as incorporate plumbing changes, a shower door, and additional tiles to fill the shower space.’

How much does it cost to remodel a tile shower?

Shower remodel cost if the tile is looking old fashioned can be relatively low, and assessing the cost is relatively easy. ‘Measure the square footage of the tile you need and do the math on the cost per foot of a few tiles you like,’ says residential real estate developer and Illinois licensed general contractor Bill Samuel of Blue Ladder Development

‘Next you should figure that most tiling jobs will cost about $5 per square foot in labor so having an accurate measurement of the tiling work performed can help give you a ballpark estimate.’

Alternatively, you might want to remodel with a fiberglass base unit with custom tile walls. ‘This is a mid-range option allowing a homeowner a custom look but without all the additional waterproofing and tiling costs associated with the shower bottom,’ explains Jeremy Boulanger of Boulanger Construction. ‘A base cost for this option would start around $4,200.’ (That’s around £3,000.)

How much does a walk-in shower cost?

Been inspired by walk in shower ideas and wondering how much you’d have to set aside as the shower remodel cost? A complete custom tile walk-in shower could be super luxurious and can be barrier-less or traditional curb. 

‘A base cost for this option would start at $6,000 and go up from there based on size and options,’ says Jeremy Boulanger. ‘Things like body sprays, multiple shower heads, and size can really begin to add up quickly.’ (Around £4,400 in the UK.)

What are the costs of shower and bathtub combos?

As part of your bathroom renovations you might want a bathtub and shower combo. It will give your room maximum flexibility but doesn’t require the space separate fixtures do, so it works for smaller rooms. In this case, the shower remodel cost can be lower.

‘If you’re starting from scratch on a tub-and-shower combo, materials and labor average out at around $3,000,’ says Bailey Carson. (That’s around £2,200.)

How much does it cost to redo a small shower?

It is possible to save money if you redo a small shower. ‘Again, it’s not necessarily about the size of the space,’ says Tsedaka. ‘You can always opt for a “one day shower” installation. For this, they typically use fiberglass and install this inside your bathroom. Those costs can range anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000. While it will be a fast and cheap option, it is more low-end, doesn’t include real tile, etc. 

‘If you opt for a full remodel, that can range anywhere from $15,000 to $40,000 depending on the state of the space, the quality of material, if you decide to keep your tub or convert it to a standing shower, if you have tiles all over the walls or not, if you’re including new faucets, painting, etc. The more topical details will be closer to the $15,000 number. 

‘However, even with a small shower, if you want to convert your tub into a shower, you will be looking at a number closer to $20,000. Ultimately, a great way to save money is to avoid changing the location of any plumbing or electrical, which avoids the need to pull permits.’

In the UK, expect to pay from around £3,000 for a complete renovation of a small shower room.

Sarah Warwick
Sarah Warwick

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes – long enough to see fridges become smart, decorating fashions embrace both minimalism and maximalism, and interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves testing the latest home appliances, revealing the trends in furnishings and fittings for every room, and investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper. For Realhomes.com, Sarah reviews coffee machines and vacuum cleaners, taking them through their paces at home to give us an honest, real life review and comparison of every model.

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