The Cost to Tile a Shower Depends on the Materials You Choose

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If you’re renovating your bathroom, tile is an excellent choice for a shower surround because it resists moisture and the mold and mildew that can grow in a moist environment. Tile also comes in a fantastic array of sizes, shapes, and materials that allow you to create a customized look.
Tile is also easy to maintain and can last for decades. That makes it a cost-effective choice, even if it’s not the least expensive option.

The cost of the tile has a significant effect on your remodeling budget. While you can find basic ceramic tiles starting at about $1 a square foot, tiles of other materials have a more significant price tag. Some designer tiles may cost up to $50 a square foot.

Different Materials, Different Costs

Popular choices for tiles include:

  1. Ceramic is hard-working and durable. It’s available in a variety of styles and sizes, with prices starting as low as $1 a square foot.
  2. Porcelain tile is similar to ceramic tile, but it’s harder and more durable than ceramic tile because it’s denser. That makes it more scratch-resistant. Porcelain tile starts at about $3 per square foot.
  3. Natural stone tiles are cut from marble, granite, travertine, or slate. Depending on the stone, you may find tiles as low as $5 per square foot, but some natural stone is quite pricey.
  4. Cement tiles are growing in popularity because of the many colors and patterns available. Expect to pay $15 or more per square foot.
  5. Glass tiles can cover the entire surround, or you can use the as an accent. Prices start around $12 per square foot.
  6. Mosaic tiles are made up of small tiles in a pattern or design. The small tiles are typically mounted on a mesh backing in a standard size, such as a 12-inch square. Mosaics might be made of glass, natural stone, river rock, or a combination of kinds of tiles. Standard ceramic tile mosaics start around $4 per square foot, but those with more exotic materials and designs may go to $50 or higher a square foot.

Cost Calculator

The price per square foot doesn’t mean much until you know how many square feet you want to tile. Multiply the width by the height for each wall of the shower surround to figure out square footage for the shower walls. Multiply the width by the depth of the shower floor, and add the wall and floor square footages together for your total.

Use a tile calculator to figure out exactly how many tiles you’ll need and the total costs. Because there’s always some waste due to cuts for corners and edges, plan on buying at least 10% more tile than the square footage you measured out.

Design Affects Installation Costs

Your choice of tile can affect how much you’ll spend on installation. You’ll generally pay less to have basic ceramic tiles installed, for example. If you go with porcelain, the installer may charge more because porcelain is harder to cut than ceramic tiles.

You may also pay a premium for installation if you select an intricately shaped tile rather than a square or rectangle. Mosaics may also cost more because the installer has to work with tiny pieces.

Expect to pay more if you’re asking the tile installer to create an intricate pattern with tile, or to install decorative pieces that require lots of cuts on the field tiles. These projects simply take more time and skill, and you’re paying for both.

Decorative accents such as mosaic borders or bullnose pieces along the top of the shower add a polished look. But they create more work for the installer, so they will increase the cost of your project.

With the array of options available, you can create an attractive tile shower and still keep within your budget.

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