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How Much Should You Be Spending on a Walk In Shower?

Walk-in showers are one of the hottest bathroom remodel trends for 2022 - and for more than a reason! Installing a walk-in shower in your bathroom is an excellent way to make the whole room more spacious and sleek. Walk-in showers are also easy to clean and maintain, timeless in style, and can be customized to your needs.

But, according to 2021 Home Advisor estimates, a bathroom remodel, on average, costs $6,599-$16,373, making it the second most expensive home renovation project you could invest in. And, the shower is the bathroom's centerpiece!

Yes, an exquisitely made walk-in shower can last longer than 20 years, but it is important to understand what the costs involved are to avoid unwanted surprises. Let’s look at how much you should be spending on a walk-in shower - and don’t miss out on the cost breakdown!

How Much Does a Walk-In Shower Cost? An Overview

When approaching a shower remodel, homeowners have one question in mind: “how much will this project cost?”. While this is undoubtedly an important question to ask, it is also the most difficult to answer - even if you have used a bathroom remodel cost estimator!

Walk-in showers can cost between $8,500 (for a smaller walk-in shower without glass panels) and $20,000, depending on the materials chosen, number of shower heads, and design. This is higher than the cost of a normal shower, which ranges between $2,622 and $9,326. But walk-in showers also yield much higher returns on your investment!

As you can see, this is an extremely wide range! Luckily, you can create an accurate budget for your shower upgrade - and stick to it! - by understanding the project’s cost breakdown and influencing factors.

Factors Influencing the Cost of Your Walk in Shower Project

To understand what factors influence the cost of a new walk-in shower, it is important to be clear on what are the features that set this kind of shower aside from other models.

Walk-in showers are stand-alone showers that are free of enclosures such as curtains or doors, and have no physical threshold or curb. The area around the shower head is called a surround, and can be made of tiling work, half walls, or glass panels. However, most walk-in showers often remain partially open on one side, so that you can walk into it.

These unique features make walk-in showers particularly attractive - but also more expensive. Here’s what causes the cost of a walk-in shower to fluctuate.

Panels and Surround Materials

Unlike standard showers, most walk-in showers don’t have an enclosure that separates the shower area to the rest of the bathroom. However, the part of the shower containing the shower head can be partially enclosed by half walls or glass panes. This area is called surround.

Depending on the materials you choose for this part of the shower, you can see the price of your shower remodel project increase or drop. Here are estimations of the most common surround materials:

  • Ceramic tiles - ceramic tiles can cost anywhere between $1.25 to $50 per square foot, but they can last longer than 50 years and allow for high customizability.
  • Fiberglass - fiberglass panels can cost between $300 and $600. While they are not as long-lasting as acrylic, they are more affordable.
  • Acrylic - acrylic surround can cost up to $1000. This material is far longer-lasting than fiberglass and easier to maintain.
  • Cultured marble - cultured marble can cost between $700 and $2,000. This is a great material choice for luxury walk-in showers!

Other common materials include stone, porcelain, and glass tiles. And, to the surround’s cost, you will need to add the price of custom glass panels.

Photo by Vecislavas Popa from Pexels

Prefabricated Showers vs Custom Designs

Prefabricated walk-in showers are an affordable alternative to installing a custom-made shower. Ranging in price between $1000 and $3000, prefabricated walk-in showers offer a compromise for homeowners who want the luxury of a walk-in shower without the price tag.

However, because of the features of a walk-in shower, this is not always a viable option. And, most homeowners often prefer to opt for a custom-made shower design because of its unique aesthetic appeal. Nonetheless, tailor-made walk-in showers require the help of expert designers and installation professionals, which can increase the project’s cost. Make sure to get a quote before diving into your bathroom reno!

Size, Shape, and Style

The shape, layout, and style of your walk-in shower can influence how much you will spend. Of course, the bigger your shower is, the more you will need to spend. However, custom design elements - such as curved edges or a particular tile pattern - can increase the shower’s cost because they require more expertise and time.

Number of Fixtures and Features

One of the main benefits of custom-made walk-in showers is that you can add as many elements and features as you wish. For example, you can add custom-made benches, shelves, and alcoves. Other appealing accessories include multiple shower heads and lights.

However, each of these features will make the cost go up! Getting a custom quote before you begin your project can help you know exactly what to expect.

Costs Involved With Installing a Walk in Shower

As we have seen, walk-in showers can vary in price. Understanding the cost breakdown can help you stick to your budget and avoid overspending. Start here!

Labor Cost

Labor cost is one of the biggest variables to consider when remodeling your shower. Depending on how accessible your home is and the level of expertise required to work on your custom project, you might spend around $100-$150 per hour.

Demolition Costs

If you are looking to install a custom walk-in shower, you will need to start by removing the existing bathtub or shower. Whether you are undergoing a tub-to-shower conversion or a total bathroom renovation, your project will start with the demolition of old features. This phase can cost between $500 and $1000, depending on how much labor is required.

If you have some DIY experience and the right tools, completing the demolition step by yourself can help you save some money!

Initial Plumbing Rough In

The initial plumbing rough-in is perhaps the most important step of all - and you should not attempt to do it by yourself! Leave this task to experienced professionals who know how to:

  • Install shower valves
  • Connect water supply lines
  • Run pipes and drains through bored holes
  • Position and install pipes and drains

Depending on how long this phase takes, you can be expected to pay around $2000 to install or replace the shower’s plumbing.

Photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels

Lining and Waterproofing

After the plumbing rough-in phase is completed, the shower case will need to be lined with a waterproofing membrane. This step can cost between $1500 and $2000, depending on how large the area to be lined is and the type of membrane you choose. Make sure to check out the benefits of the Schluter®-KERDI cutting-edge system!

Shower Pan and Flooring Installation

Constructing and installing a shower pan requires specific skills and expertise. Unlike other types of shower in which the pan is raised, a walk-in shower’s pan won’t have a threshold. Therefore, the shower floor will need to gently slope towards the drain, keeping the shower’s streamlined appearance and ensuring drainage.

Depending on the type of shower floor you choose, you will be looking to spend around $2500 - but you can considerably lower this cost to around $1000 by opting for a pre-built pan.  

Walk In Shower Tiling Work

After choosing the materials for your walk-in shower, you will have a more accurate estimation of how much the tiling work will cost. Some factors to consider include:

  • The cost per square meter varies depending on the material chosen
  • Larger tiles are more expensive to install
  • Built-in features such as windows, lights, and niches can increase the tiling work cost.

Depending on the labor required and materials, you can expect to spend around $2,000 to $3,000 for the tiling work.

Plumbing Fixture and Panels Installation

Once the shower surround’s installation is completed, the bathroom remodel experts at EZ Bath will install trims, fixtures, and finishes. Lastly, if your custom-designed shower includes them, the team will proceed to install the glass panels. This installation phase can cost anywhere between $2,500 and $5000.

Other Costs To Keep in Mind

No matter how accurate your walk-in shower cost estimation is, it is never pleasant to deal with unexpected costs. Some additional costs to consider include:

  • The installer might need to re-level the bathroom’s floor to facilitate drainage
  • Custom elements such as niches and alcoves can take longer to build
  • Renovating just one aspect of your bathroom might be less cost-effective than renovating the whole bathroom.
Photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels

Is a Walk in Shower the Right Investment for You?

As we know, bathroom remodels and shower upgrades are among the most expensive home renovation projects to embark on. However, according to Zillow estimates, a bathroom remodel is also one of the renovation projects yielding the highest returns. Upgrading your bathroom can offer you a return of over 70%!

So, whether you are looking to increase your home’s market value before selling it, or you wish to create a more comfortable bathroom for your family, upgrading your shower can be a smart investment. And, one that lasts for over 20 years!

The experts at EZ Bath are always available to answer all of your questions and offer tips to increase your walk-in shower’s lifespan. Get in touch today to learn more about taking care of your new walk-in shower!



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Written by
Mitchell Clay

Proud father and husband. A big comic book nerd and sweets are my kryptonite. I fell in love with the remodeling industry in 2008 and it's held a tight grip on me ever since.

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