Shower Installation Costs Are as Varied as Your Design Options

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Are you thinking about replacing your old tub/shower combo with a new bathtub? Deciding if you should tear out the tub and replace it with a spacious walk-in shower? Those are significant changes, and they come with sizeable budgets.

The ultimate cost for a new shower installation depends on many variables, including the quality of the materials you want and the cost of labor. (And it’s New York City, so labor costs are above average.)

Let’s look at the options.

Tub/Shower Combinations

If you currently have a tub with a shower, replacing it with a similar unit is cheaper than putting in a new tiled walk-in shower.

Tubs with shower surrounds come in a variety of styles and grades, which will affect the price.
The cheapest, with a standard sized tub and acrylic shower surround, are sold in kits with prices ranging from about $350 up to around $2,000. The kit includes the tub and the wall system, with panels that fit together.

One-piece sold fiberglass tub/showers are are another option. However, they are large and difficult to maneuver into your home and bathroom. Prices for these begin around $700 and go up to close to $3,000.

The installation price for a shower/tub combo starts around $1,000, not including removing the old unit.

Another option is to replace the bathtub with a regular tub and add tile walls on three sides. [Link to the new article on the cost to tile a shower here]. You’ll get a more custom look this way. You can add a glass shower door or use a shower curtain to cut costs.

Shower Options

When you have a small bathroom, removing the tub and adding a walk-in shower can be a smart move. You can gain extra space for storage or a double vanity if you make the shower smaller than the tub. Or you can design a shower that fills the entire footprint of the tub. A large shower creates an open and airy look the makes the room feel more spacious.

As with tub/shower combos, you can find a pre-made shower stall kit that includes a shower pan, wall panels, and a shower door. Using a prefab shower reduces the cost of installing a walk-in shower. However, the aesthetics of acrylic aren’t to everyone’s taste.

A custom-built tiled shower provides the most options for creating the shower space you want. Tile also lasts for decades, reducing the chances you’ll need to remodel again.

Of all the possibilities, the customized walk-in shower has the most unpredictable price. Standard subway tiles will give you a classic but budget-friendly shower, for example. For a true custom look, you can find expensive designer tiles that cost 40 or 50 times [Link here to Cost to Tile a Shower article] what subway tiles cost and create a unique and pricy shower. It’s up to you.

Many homeowners wait to replace a shower or bathtub until undertaking a major bathroom renovation. One reason is that removing a tub or shower can set off a chain reaction of other work that needs to be done.

For instance, when you remove the old tub or shower, you may find water damage, rotting wood, or mold that needs repair. Additionally, removing the tub can cause damage to the tile floor, so you may have to replace your flooring, too.

And with your shiny new shower, you’ll likely want to update the sink, toilet, and the vanity.
In fact, the National Kitchen and Bath Association says that projects with a budget of over $4,500 are 20% more likely to include new fixtures (The survey didn’t specify which fixtures, but it’s unlikely cheaper renovations included new tiled showers.)

More expensive remodeling projects are also 70% more likely to include tile than low-budget renovations. (The study included DIY projects, which is why the price range is so much lower than the cost of a professional remodel.)

Installing a new shower can bring new life to your bathroom, but it makes the most sense to do the installation as part of a planned renovation of the entire room. That way, you can fix all the problems at one time and completely overhaul the space.

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