A shower remodel is always an exciting opportunity for a homeowner to level-up the look and feel of their bathroom and improve a home’s return on investment.
By switching out a showerhead or modernizing a shower enclosure, a homeowner can transform their bathroom to a tropical oasis or a luxe spa. Modernize is here to walk you through the ins-and-outs of remodeling your bathroom’s shower area. From the steps to consider, to the timeline and cost— here’s what you need to know about the shower remodel process.
Shower Remodel Costs
Depending on the options a homeowner chooses, the cost of a shower remodel can range anywhere from $1,400 to $10,000. The overall cost will depend on a range of factors including materials used, the necessary plumbing work, the styles chosen and more.
Because shower remodel costs can vary depending on your decisions, Modernize always recommends using a cost calculator to estimate costs specific to your home and choices.
Your bathroom’s size and the type of shower you opt for also plays a role in the project’s cost. For example…
1. Small bathrooms
A small bathroom shower remodel – with just a shower replacement and minor upgrades such as showerhead, fixture, or tile replacements – starts at about $1,400.
Types of shower enclosures that fit comfortably in small bathrooms include:
- The shower and bathtub combo with either a shower curtain or sliding glass doors, which costs an average of $350 to $830 to install.
- A small freestanding shower, which can cost $1,000 or more to install.
Note that labor and installation costs in your area add to the out-the-door cost, and other fixture or tile upgrades will be added onto your estimate.
Small Shower Remodel
A small bathroom shower remodel may include:
Small shower enclosure upgrade
Installing new tile in or around shower
2. Mid-sized bathrooms
A medium-sized bathroom shower remodel – which may include a larger shower and/or bathtub, in addition to fixture, showerhead, and tile upgrades – can start at around $5,000.
Types of showers available to homes with mid-sized bathrooms include:
- Mid-sized semi-frameless freestanding shower with glass doors, which costs an average of $1,100 to install or $510 if you are just replacing glass doors.
- A modern and airy walk-in shower, which costs between $800 and $10,000+ for more lavish designs.
Again, labor, installation, and fixture upgrades will add to your mid-sized shower remodel estimate.
Mid-sized Shower Remodel
A medium size bathroom shower remodel may include:
Medium sized walk-in shower
Freestanding shower or tub installation
New tile and grout
3. Large bathrooms
The cost of a large shower remodel, such as a shower in a master bathroom featuring a large walk-in shower, can start at $10,000 and increase from there. The overall cost can be impacted by added features and plumbing requirements, as well as any other additional upgrades you would like for your large or master bathroom.
Popular shower options for large or master bathrooms include:
- Large walk-in shower area with optional built-in seat, heated floors, and double showerheads, which can cost $10,000 to $15,0000 or more depending on customizations.
- A frameless shower enclosure with glass doors, with custom fixtures like a shower panel or hydro-massage showerhead, which can cost $500 to $3,000 or more depending on customizations.
Large Shower Remodel
A large primary bathroom shower remodel may include:
Large walk-in shower area
Best Types of Showers
There are a few different types of shower enclosures and frameworks to consider depending on your space and desires when upgrading your bathroom.
Many of your options when it comes to types of showers can be dictated by the bathroom’s size. For instance, a smaller bathroom may lend itself better to a simple, framed shower. A medium-sized bathroom may work better with a shower-tub combo, which are popular in kid-friendly neighborhoods for their resale value and versatility. Here are the basic options to consider for different types of shower frames and enclosures.
Frameless shower enclosures are sleek, strong, glass enclosures that do not need metal framework to support the edges. They are popular for their clean, metal-free look that can allow a homeowner showcase the tile or stone flooring featured inside. Frameless showers tend to work best in large master bathrooms. But they can be installed in mid-sized or small bathrooms if space allows.
Frameless shower enclosure
Frameless showers feature sleek glass doors with no metal framing. Benefits include:
Open, modern design
Inward or outward swinging glass door
Showcases tiles and fixtures inside
Easy to clean
Note that the cost to only replace a shower door on a frameless shower enclosure is significantly cheaper than replacing the entire shower enclosure. Be sure to talk to your contractor about your current shower enclosure and the cost and labor it will take to replace it with a frameless enclosure.
Semi-frameless showers come with the same sleek, refined look as frameless showers, but can often better accommodate more layout options and smaller budgets. These showers have sturdy metal window structures, but keep the door portion frame-free.
Semi-frameless shower enclosure
Semi-frameless showers feature slim amounts of metal framing. Benefits include:
Sliding or swinging door options
Opens up small bathroom spaces
Great for mid-sized or guest bathrooms
This shower option is the perfect middle ground between totally frameless enclosures and framed enclosures. It will cost you less to install compared to a frameless shower, plus you have the option of sliding glass doors or a swinging glass door.
Framed Shower Enclosures
The framed shower enclosure is a more traditional option that utilizes a strong framework to add clean lines and support. The shower framing outlines the whole enclosure, including the doorways. Homeowners can tie the whole look together by matching hardware to the finish of the framework.
Framed shower enclosure
Framed showers feature metal framing along shower door edges. Benefits include:
Works well in smaller bathrooms
Popular with sliding glass doors
Sliding glass doors and freestanding showers with a swinging door are both available when you choose a framed enclosure.
Double showers are becoming popular choices for master bathrooms and larger bathrooms. They feature two separate shower heads, often on opposite walls, allowing partners to shower at the same time. Double showers also allow for better water pressure, spaciousness, and can be great for added accessibility for seniors, or homeowners with disabilities or mobility limitations.
Double showers can be frameless or semi-frameless. Benefits include:
Great for couples
Works well in master bathrooms
Open, airy look and feel
The cost to install a double shower varies greatly depending on the size, features, and materials. Be sure to ask your contractor for a quote to be certain about installation and labor costs.
Walk-in showers, sometimes known as open showers, are great choices both from a design perspective and home accessibility perspective. Many homeowners prefer the look and added convenience of being able to walk into their shower without using a shower door. These showers are great modern additions to master bathrooms and larger bathrooms.
Walk-in showers often feature a half glass, natural stone, or tile wall and no doors. Benefits include:
Great for large and master bathrooms
Built-in seat option
Various showerhead options
Tile, glass, or natural stone material options
Walk-in showers are also great home accessibility modifications, as they can allow homeowners who use wheelchairs or have mobility limitations to shower safely and comfortably. Walk-in showers that are used to help those in a wheelchair shower safely are often called roll-in showers.
If you have a smaller bathroom, or are looking to transform a half bath into a full bathroom to boost your home’s resale value, corner showers are the perfect solution. Corner showers are just 42 x 42 or smaller, and fit against two of your bathroom walls. They are designed to save space while still giving you a full shower in a small bathroom.
Of course, once you choose a type of shower, the customization options are nearly endless. From door styles, frosted or unfrosted glass and designs, to built-in benches, matching hardware and varieties of stone and tile work to consider, the cosmetic element alone is enough to completely overhaul a bathroom’s look and feel.
Choosing Shower Heads
Shower remodels typically involve two big components: the shower and the fixtures. After choosing the best type of shower for your needs, it is time to choose a shower head.
Based on the bathroom’s purpose and who it is serving, the best shower head option for you can vary. A family bathroom with a shower-tub combo will probably require different shower head and fixtures than a couple’s suite bathroom that might feature jets or a rain shower head. Explore a few different types of showerheads so you can find the one that best fits the needs and preferences of your bathroom and its users.
Replacing Glass Shower Doors
A homeowner may want to only replace the glass shower door, rather than doing a full shower remodel project. Swapping out the glass door on your shower for a new one can take care of any damage to the door or fix any leaks coming from the shower area. It is also a quick and easy way to modernize the look and feel of your bathroom. Replacing only the shower door costs an average of just $425 including materials and installation.
Shower Materials: Walls and Floors
When choosing a material for your shower walls and floors, think about functionality, cost, and style. You want the walls to be sturdy and easy to clean. At the same time, shower walls are often a focal point in the bathroom, so many homeowners also prefer to choose a material that stands out. There are multiple options to choose from for both walls and floors.
Some homeowners choose to maintain the same material for both the shower walls and floors, while some decide to vary them. For example, an acrylic shower floor pan is usually more affordable than installing tile on the shower floor, so you may want to install tile on just the walls.
To determine the best choice for your bathroom, the best place to start is to weigh the pros and cons to each shower material.
Acrylic is an inexpensive and highly functional material for showers. Many U.S. homes have showers that use acrylic floor pans. Acrylic in the shower is easy to maintain, lasts 10 years or more, and can even be installed DIY. However, it is not as sturdy as other materials and can be very hard to fix if damaged.
Many homeowners choose tile for shower walls and floors because they come in a variety of unique choices – including ceramic, porcelain, stone, and even glass – and add a nice aesthetic to the bathroom. Homeowners can opt to replace only their shower tile, rather than replacing the entire shower, to cut costs on a shower remodel.
You can match the tile in your shower walls with tile in other areas of the bathroom, or add an accent wall. Tile can last 10 to 75 years or more and depending on the type you choose, can be very affordable. Because tile is installed using grout, it can be tricky to clean and can build up mold if not maintained properly.
Natural stone comes in tiles and can be used for shower walls and floors – or both! This material can give your shower a unique, natural, and high-end look, but note that these tiles tend to be more expensive than typical porcelain or ceramic shower tiles.
There are plenty of options when it comes to natural stone tiles for your shower. For instance, marble tiles in the shower can add a beautiful, sleek, and timeless look to your bathroom. You can match the marble shower floors with your bathroom counters for an elegant design. Marble can also be installed in various shapes and designs – for instance, subway tiles, hexagons, or classic four by fours.
Travertine is also a popular natural stone that homeowners love to use in their bathrooms. It comes in beautiful shades – including earth tones and grays – and features earthy textures, giving it great visual appeal. Travertine is also slip-resistant.
One of the biggest benefits to using fiberglass for showers is that it does not use grout. This can help to prevent mold build-up and makes your life so much easier when it comes time to clean the shower. Fiberglass is also very cheap. However, there are not many styling options as it usually comes only in solid white.
Some homeowners are surprised to learn that aluminum can be used for shower walls! They are often used as accents rather than for the entire shower. However, aluminum is a great material for showers because it is rust-resistant, lightweight, and easy to clean.
Finding a Shower Remodel Contractor
A bathroom remodel will give you enough tricky decisions — finding a reliable shower remodel contractor doesn’t have to be one of them. Modernize can help you find and compare contractors with ease. We recommend comparing three to four full bathroom shower quotes from different contractors to find the best option for your needs and budget.
It is important to consider and talk to potential shower contractors about the following topics:
Your ideal timeframe
Your ideal project timeline may limit some of your bathroom renovation options. On the other hand, some bathroom remodel projects can be completed in as quickly as one day! Bathroom and shower remodel projects are not one-size-fits-all. It is important to account for a chunk of time without a bathroom or plumbing access.
Your ideal start date
Timing is not just about the length of a project. The start date of your shower remodel project can impact the competitiveness of contractor bids and your final cost.
Winter is the off-season for bathroom renovation. This can mean an opportunity for discounts, since it is a slower time for home improvement projects. Quotes should be more competitive than during the summer or spring when contractors are sometimes booked weeks in advance. Additionally, fixture manufacturers may run discounts to align with the off-season, which can lead to more affordable upgrades on showerheads and enclosures.
Planning ahead for your bathroom project is important. Multi-day or longer-term bathroom projects typically call for water being turned off while work is being done. Much like any fixture replacement or room remodel, noise or dust can also be factors. Modernize recommends working through a plan for these issues ahead of time and discussing options with a contractor.
However you decide to proceed, a shower remodel is an exciting chance to upgrade your bathroom, and Modernize is ready to help you with it!