Tile is a quite popular material for useful design around the home, and for a good reason. It is durable, easy to clean, and can come in an enormous variety of shapes and sizes for visual interest. The shower is one of the most popular places in the home for tile installation. Shower tiles can cover the floor and the walls, all the way up to the ceiling, and even extend outside of the shower to create lovely, unified accents across the entire bathroom. A shower tile installation can be very exciting as you watch the new look and design take shape.
But if you’ve had the shower for a long time or you are rehabilitating an older home that has outdated tile, you might start thinking about a shower tile replacement. This is especially true if any of those tiles have cracks, dents, or discoloration from years of faithful use. Whether you are looking to replace old tiles or install new shower tiles, Modernize is here to help. Below you will find everything you need to know about shower tile installation – including popular options you have to choose from and the installation cost to expect.
Choosing Tiles for Your Shower
There are several points to consider when choosing tiles for your shower. When thinking about the best tile for your project, we recommend considering three main factors – style, cost, and durability.
Of course it’s important to keep your style choice in mind. Since you’re going to see that shower every day, you want it to be something you enjoy looking at.
You will also need to take a close look at your budget, figure out how much tile you really need, and assess how much you can afford to spend. Can you go with high-end options, or do you need to stick with something more basic and affordable?
There are many different types of tiles out there. But some are better than others when it comes to the durability and water-resistance necessary for the shower. To get the best return on investment for your shower remodel, it is important to choose a material that will stand the test of time.
You will quickly find that the most common tiles are popular for a reason. Popular choices for a shower tile installation will come in a wide variety of colors and styles, hit all price points from budget to luxury, and can make quite a statement in the bathroom. These include ceramic, natural stone, porcelain, and even mosaic tiles.
How Much Does it Cost to Tile a Shower?
Shower Tile Replacement
A full shower tile installation will cover the shower floor, walls, and even unique accent areas
Your choice of tile style and design
Boosts home value and refreshes the room
More affordable than replacing the whole shower
Let’s cut to the chase with the cold, hard numbers, and then break them down below. The average cost for a shower tile for a full tiled shower runs between $1,800 and $4,000, depending upon the size of the shower and the tiles chosen. This includes three walls and the flooring. Expect the costs to go up if you add in little bells and whistles, such as mosaic tile accents or handmade tile.
Here are the most popular tiles for the shower and their relative costs.
This quite popular tile is in demand for a good reason. It works very well as flooring in the bathroom or for shower walls and floors. While ceramic shower tiles can be very slick when not glazed, they are usually glazed and textured when installed in the bathroom to avoid that problem.
Ideal type of textured, glazed tile for shower walls and floors due to its versatility and wide array of style options
Stain and scratch resistant
Extremely water-resistant when glazed
Endless design options
Can last 75 to 100 years
At an average of just $2 to $5 per square foot, there is an enormous range of possibilities to fit any budget. When choosing ceramic for your shower tile installation, you have high-end luxury to budget-friendly options – all of which work just as well in terms of performance.
Ceramic tile can come in a dizzying array of colors and styles, including mosaic tile (something we will discuss more below). These tiles are great for the shower floors, especially with slip-resistant texturing, and work well for walls too.
Ceramic and porcelain might look the same, but there is a key difference. Porcelain tiles are fired at a higher temperature than ceramic, which means the porcelain is stronger and tends to be more durable than ceramic. This is why it is often found in other highly used areas of the bathroom, including the sink.
Harder, denser version of ceramic tile that is great for the shower because it is less prone to water damage
Glazed to be anti-slip
Wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes
Slightly more expensive than ceramic
Can last 75 to 100 years
At $3 to $10 per square foot on average, porcelain is on the more budget-friendly end of shower tile installation options. As an added bonus, porcelain has what is known as “through body” construction. If an area gets chipped, the color underneath is the same as what is on top. It is recommended that homeowners use a professional to install porcelain tiles in the shower, since they tend to be harder to work with.
Looking for a more luxurious, natural surrounding for your shower? Natural stone can be used on shower walls and floors, and usually has a natural texture that makes it easy on the feet. There are numerous types of stone tile that fit any décor – including limestone, granite, travertine, marble, and slate, among others.
Natural Stone Tile
Sealed for strong durability
Natural colors, textures and grains
Your choice of natural stone
Can last 100+ years
At an average of $4 to $16 per square foot, natural stone tiles can be quite affordable. Natural stone must be sealed when used for the shower, first during installation and again at least a few times over the lifespan of the tiles. You will not have as many unique color options as you would with the other types of tile. However, you will have the advantage of the beautiful natural stone look, with textures, patterns, and unique veins that make your shower one-of-a-kind.
Often used as borders or accent pieces since they can add bold visual interest, mosaic tiles are usually made of ceramic. They typically measure two inches or smaller on each side, and are often sold in sheets with mesh backing to hold the design together.
High quality, unique type of ceramic tile that comes in a variety of colors and patterns
Great for shower accent areas
Unique and colorful
Mosaic shower tiles are much more expensive than most other tiles. They tend to cost between $16 and $30 per square foot for machine-created mosaics and as much as $50 per square foot for handmade mosaics. Due to their price, many homeowners use mosaic tiles for smaller areas – such as a built-in shelving area or a one-row accent area. Mosaic tiles can be used over the entire shower, not just as an accent piece, if you are looking for an exceptional design for your bathroom.
Other Costs Involved During a Shower Tile Installation
The cost to tile a shower does not just involve the expenses for the tiles themselves. To properly budget for your shower tile installation project, it is important to also take note of the following costs, if they apply to your situation.
Removal of the existing shower
If you have a fiberglass shower, for instance, and want to replace it with tile, demolition of the existing shower will factor into your final cost. Demolition can run between $50 and $200. If old tile must be removed, count on a cost of about $1 to $4 per square foot of removed tile. Some contractors may charge $30 to $120 for removal of waste after demolition.
Surprises behind the walls
Sometimes when contractors open up shower walls during demolition, they can discover unexpected problems. For instance, a contractor may find leaks or out-of-code electrical work behind the walls of older showers. Depending upon the issue and how bad it is, it could cost a few hundred or a few thousand dollars to fix. It is always a good idea to put aside a little extra budget for unforeseen problems.
Testing for mold
One of those nasty surprises could be mold, which will need to be tested before you proceed with the project. Some mold is not harmful, but some is extremely hazardous. Testing the mold is relatively cheap, but removing it can cost as high as $1,200 to $3,200 depending on the extent of the problem.
If your contractor does not discover any mold during the shower tile replacement, this is all the more reason to clean and maintain your shower properly once installation is complete.
The majority of material costs you will see on your shower tile installation quote will be for the tiles themselves. But there are a few other materials you will be responsible to pay for. Expect the cost of grout, thin-set, and other materials to run between $200 and $300.
The possibility of leaving the home
Your bathroom will be out of commission for a while, and that can be a problem. An even bigger problem could be the dust and pollutants that will fly around when the contractor begins demolition or cutting new tile. Those who suffer from allergies, or those who simply have only one bathroom in the house, might want to consider renting a room during the shower remodel process.
Local labor costs
Contractor labor costs are almost always involved with any home improvement project. Depending on where you live, you can expect overall labor to run about $8 to $10 per square foot of shower tile installed.
Can Shower Tiles Be Repaired?
If you are not ready to commit to a full-blown shower remodel but you have a few tiles that are cracked, chipped, or otherwise showing serious signs of wear, you might wonder if shower tile repair is possible.
The answer is yes. It is possible to chisel out the tiles, the thin-set holding them in, and the grout, then replace the tile with something new. However, keep in mind that if you have a uniform color of tile in the bathroom, that new tile will stick out like a sore thumb. Also, depending on how long ago the shower was originally tiled, you may not be able to find that same tile to match the other tiles exactly. For example, the manufacturer may have discontinued it after many years.
If you decide you need to replace only a single tile or two, a professional can do the job within a day for a price of somewhere between $300 and $400. Expect to give your shower a few days for the grout sealant to cure before you use it.
However, there are some cases where you might end up in a job that is much larger than you expected. Here are some of the signs of serious water damage that might mean replacing all the tiles in the shower makes the most sense:
- Tile grout that is swelling, cracking, or showing signs of discoloration
- Single tiles suddenly crooked or otherwise out of alignment
- Musty odors that don’t go away no matter how well you clean
- Tiles pulling away from the shower wall
- Caulk peeling away from around fixtures and the tile base
If you are seeing these problems, ignoring them can result in more costly problems to your home down the road. Get in touch with a bathroom remodeling contractor to help you determine what needs to be done.
Additional Shower Remodel Considerations
When you replace shower tiles, you may want to replace a few other things at the same time. And if not, maybe now is a good time to replace some worn and degraded parts anyway. Here’s what that might cost you to replace common items.
- Glass door. If you want a glass door on your shower, the installation cost depends upon whether it has a frame or not. Framed shower doors are easier to install and can run between $400 and $1,100. Frameless doors are more expensive at $600 to $1,900 on average.
- New showerhead. There are numerous showerhead options, and the one you choose is a matter of personal preference. These can run anywhere from $20 for a very basic model to over $200 for one with luxurious features.
- Shower fixtures. Fixtures and hardware might come in a set that include the showerhead, or they can be sold separately. Again, this is much a matter of preference. Expect a full set to run between $50 and $500, depending upon how fancy you want to go.
- Shower frames and seals. Shower door frames and seals might need to be replaced from time to time, especially if you are seeing water leaks after using the shower. Replacing these should be relatively inexpensive, even if the rest of the shower is not. Look to pay between $20 and $50 for seals, and a bit more for frames.
- New shower drain. A shower drain, including installation costs, can run between $300 and $400, on average.
Finding a Shower Tile Installation Contractor
When you’re ready to find a contractor to handle your shower tile installation or anything else in the bathroom, let Modernize help. We can connect you with contractors in your area who can give you the quotes you need to make an informed decision on moving forward with the project. We even offer a contractor checklist to help you vet them beforehand.