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Ceramic Tile Shower Cost

Ceramic Tile Shower Cost

National average
$2,400
(mid-grade subway tile installed in a running bond with mosaic floor)
Low: $850

(4-inch builder-grade tile straight set on shower walls with acrylic floor)

High: $10,000

(handmade tile of varying sizes in a random pattern with mosaic floor)

Cost to install a ceramic tile shower stall varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from shower door and enclosure contractors in your city.

The average cost of installing a ceramic tile shower is $2,400​.

In this guide

Types of Ceramic Tile
Ceramic Tile Patterns for Showers
Ceramic Tile Shower Wall
Ceramic Tile Shower Floor
Labor Cost to Install a Ceramic Tile Shower
Pros and Cons of Ceramic Tile
Cost to Replace Ceramic Tile
Ceramic vs Porcelain Tiles for Shower
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Additional Considerations and Costs
FAQ

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Ceramic Tile Shower Stall?

There are different ways to customize the look and feel of a shower, and ceramic tiles are a great option. They come in a wide range of styles, shapes, sizes, and colors, all of which create a unique, custom shower to suit your tastes and needs. Showers come in a variety of sizes and configurations, and when paired with the number of tile options on the market, it means a wide range of costs. The average range for a fully tiled shower, including the pan and three walls, is around $1,800 to $4,000, with most homeowners paying about $2,400 for the job.

Ceramic Tile Shower Prices

Ceramic tile shower installation costs
National average cost$2,400
Average range$1,800 - $4,000
Minimum cost$850
Maximum cost​$10,000


Types of Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is a manmade material that consists of two parts - the clay body and the glaze on top. What makes ceramic tile different from porcelain and other manmade materials is that ceramic tile is made of wet clay, and it always has a glaze. There are unglazed clay tiles, but these technically fall under a different heading.

There are two broad categories for ceramic tile. The first is known as monocottura, which means once fired. In a monocottura tile, the wet clay is allowed to dry and harden, then given a glaze and fired into its final, hard state. Glazed terracotta tile is a good example of a monocottura tile.

The second broad category is known as bicottura, which means twice fired. Bicottura tiles are extruded or formed from wet clay, allowed to dry, then fired in a kiln until hard. They are then given a glaze and fired in a kiln again. This two-step process makes the tile more durable. Most ceramic tiles rated for floor use are bicottura. Ceramic tiles made for wall use may be monocottura or bicottura, depending on the manufacturer and end appearance of the tile.

From there, you can break down ceramic tiles into further categories, depending on how they are made, finished, and their intended use:

Type of TileStarting Cost per Square Foot 1
Machine-made$1.25 - $10/sq.ft.

Wall tile

$1.25 - $50/sq.ft.
Floor tile$5 - $20/sq.ft.
Crazed/crackle$5 - $30/sq.ft.
Mosaic$10 - $100/sq.ft.
Handmade$25 - $100/sq.ft.


Machine-made Tiles

These are tiles entirely made by a machine. They are even and uniform in color, edge, and appearance. What you see is what you get with these tiles, and there are rarely surprises. They come in sizes ranging from ⅜ inch up to 16 inches in size. These are much less expensive, starting at $1.25/sq.ft.


White machine-made tiles in a bathroom shower


Wall Tile

Wall tile is a ceramic tile designed for use on only walls. It will likely have a glossy glaze finish, but some companies produce matte-finish wall tiles as well. They come in sizes from mosaic up to around 8x8 inches, with 4x4 inches and 3x6 inches being the two most common sizes. Wall tile has a range of costs, with machine-made tile starting at $1.25/sq.ft. and handmade tile starting at $25/sq.ft.


White wall tiles in a bathroom with bath and shower


Floor Tile

Floor tile is a thicker, more durable tile with a glaze that can withstand traffic without chipping. While you cannot install a wall tile on the floor, you can install a floor tile on the wall. Floor tiles come in a 2-inch mosaic, as well as in 6 inch, 12 inch, and larger sizes. Floor tiles start at around $5/sq.ft.


Modern bathroom with floor tiles


Crazed/crackle

A tile that has a crazed or crackle finish has a glaze that has cracks in it. Any ceramic tile may craze at any time, but this is not a defect in the tile. Exposure to heat and cold can cause any glaze to craze. Some tiles are given a glaze that crazes on purpose for the look and effect it creates. If you use a tile with a crazed finish, it must be sealed with an impregnating sealer to prevent staining. These tiles have starting costs of about $5/sq.ft.

Rectangular plate with crackle finish

Cost of Mosaic Tiles

A mosaic tile is any tile measuring 2 inches or smaller. They are sold in sheets held together with either mesh or contact paper. Mosaics are more expensive than larger tiles. If you plan to tile your shower floor, you need to use mosaics because they are designed to slope to the drain. Mosaics can be handmade or machine-made. They have starting costs of around $10/sq.ft.


Square shower drain in mosaic tiles shower floor


Handmade Tiles

These tiles are either completely formed by hand or are extruded by machine and cut and finished by hand. They are more expensive and have more variation in color, edging, and texture. They need a wider grout 2 joint 3 when installed, but they provide dramatic and beautiful results that cannot be produced from machine-made tiles. These tiles start at $25/sq.ft.


Shower with handmade tiles


Ceramic Tile Patterns for Showers

Ceramic tiles come in many shapes and sizes, including squares, rectangles, circles, diamonds, and freeform shapes. Each can be installed singularly or in combination with another, and each can often be installed in different patterns as well. Popular patterns include:

  • Straight set
  • Diagonal
  • Subway (running bond)
  • Herringbone
  • Step

Any design beyond a straight set or running bond increases the costs of your installation. This is because most patterns require more tiles to be cut to fill the perimeter. Therefore, you must purchase approximately 15% - 20% more material for the job, and your installer will spend more time laying out and cutting the tiles, meaning they could increase labor costs by $1 - $2 per square foot 1. Expect your total costs to be roughly 20% to 25% higher than if you use a simple pattern.

Ceramic Tile Shower Wall

The shower walls are the biggest part of a ceramic tile shower installation. This is true whether you are tiling the floor as well or only the walls. In most cases, wall tile installation is simple. You start in the bottom center of the main wall and move outward and upward evenly. The only obstacles involve cutting the tiles to fit around the plumbing and any niches in your shower that you want tiled.

Because shower walls are larger and often have more involved patterns, they tend to take longer than tiling the shower floor. When a pattern is installed on the walls, you may find that the labor cost is higher than for the floor area. If you only have the walls tiled, expect prices to be around $2,000, rather than $2,400 for the full shower.

Ceramic Tile Shower Floor

Ceramic tile shower floors are usually a quick-and-easy install using mosaic tiles to conform to the slope of the drain. Cutting and installing mosaics is a simple process since the sheets can easily be trimmed to fit. Individual tiles can be cut either on a tile saw or with tile nippers as needed. Tiling only your shower floor has a cost of about $400 - $500 total.

Labor Cost to Install a Ceramic Tile Shower

Tile installers charge for their labor in a few ways. They can charge by the job, by the square foot 1, or by the hour for complicated jobs. The majority of tile shower installations are calculated by the square foot 1, with most installers charging somewhere between $5 and $15 per square foot 1, depending on how complicated the pattern is. For a standard, 96-square-foot shower, expect the labor cost to total around $800 of the $2,400 for most straightforward installations.

Pros and Cons of Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is an incredibly versatile material that comes in a nearly endless array of colors, styles, sizes, and shapes. This provides many ways to customize your shower, going for a colorful and varied installation for a child’s bathroom or having a more traditional look for a master bath. Most ceramic tile is very low-maintenance. The glaze on the surface is non-porous, so the tile does not require sealing or special cleaners.

Ceramic tile glaze can craze or crack at any time, even with a matte finish glaze. When this happens, you risk tile staining, so you need to make sure that it is sealed.

Ceramic tile can be brittle, so a shower curtain rod suddenly coming free and knocking a tile could produce a chip. If the glaze chips away, the clay body of the tile will be visible. Depending on the type of ceramic tile, the grout 2 joint 3 could be anywhere from 1/16 to ¼ inch in size. These grout 2 joints 3 should be sealed to prevent staining over time.

Cost to Replace Ceramic Tile

If you change the plumbing in your shower, a tile breaks, or need to remove some tiles to access the wall behind it, the cost to replace a ceramic tile in a shower has a minimum of around $150. This is due in part to the labor involved. The tile must be cut free, the old mortar 4 removed, cleaned, and the new tile installed. Matching an existing tile is also extremely difficult and may require custom color matching by sending a sample of the existing tile to a tile company. This can take weeks for older tiles.

To avoid this, keep at least a few extra tiles on hand for future repairs. This reduces costs when replacing tiles due to damage or plumbing-related issues.

Ceramic vs Porcelain Tiles for Shower

Both ceramic and porcelain tiles make excellent materials for showers. The biggest differences in this part of the home come down to style and appearance.

Ceramic tile is made from wet clay that is fired and given a glaze. It comes in a nearly endless stream of colors with many shapes and sizes available.

Porcelain tile is made from compressed clay dust that has been fired to very high temperatures. While it can be glazed, it does not have to be. It can take on the appearance of stone, wood, fabric, and metal, but it tends to be larger in size, starting at around 12-inches square and going as large as 36-inches square.

Porcelain is often more difficult to cut, and the larger tiles are more time-consuming to install to help prevent issues such as lippage. If you opt for a large format porcelain tile in your shower, expect installation costs to rise to $15 to $20 a square foot 1 just for the labor. And while a 12-inch ceramic tile and a 12-inch porcelain tile have similar costs, a 4-inch wall ceramic tile will be cheaper to purchase and install than a 4-inch porcelain tile.

From a maintenance standpoint, both are similarly low-maintenance in showers. Because porcelain is not usually glazed, it cannot craze and never needs sealing. Ceramic tiles may craze over time, and if this occurs, they require sealing.

Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Remove Old Shower Tiles

When completely replacing your shower, you must remove the old tile first. If all the tiles are removed, this is a fairly easy-and-straightforward job, requiring a chisel, hammer, and pry bar. Expect costs starting at around $5 a square foot 1 for the removal. Alternatively, you can do this portion of the job yourself - just put down plastic to catch the debris.

Waterproofing Membrane

Always have a waterproofing membrane installed over your studs before putting up the backer board that the tile is installed on. This helps prevent moisture issues from developing later on in your shower. The cost of the membrane starts at around $10 a roll.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Showers come in many configurations, which impacts the cost of the project. Tile niches, shower seats, and different plumbing types, such as shower jets, can increase the cost of the project. Having a tub/shower eliminates the need for the floor, but you will need to tile over the tub flange. So while you have less square footage, some of that square footage may have a slightly higher installation rate.
  • Some tile installers may offer a discount if you have the shower tiled at the same time as the floor or a countertop. Speak to your installer about what may be available.
  • You may be able to save money by purchasing the tile directly. This eliminates the additional contractor fees and can save roughly 10% on material costs.
  • While ceramic tile is waterproof, you need to have a waterproofing membrane installed over the studs before the backer board is installed.
  • Ceramic tile is very easy to keep clean in a shower. If you want the easiest material, however, consider glass tile, which can be cleaned with a glass cleaner and typically uses an epoxy-based grout 2.
  • When tiling a shower, it is also a great time to update your plumbing because the walls will be open.

FAQ

  • What is the best way to clean a ceramic tile shower?

Use a squeegee after you shower to help prevent soap scum build-up. Otherwise, clean your shower with your favorite bathroom cleaner. Ceramic can be cleaned with anything unless you have green tile that contains copper in the glaze. In this case, use a pH-neutral cleaner.

  • Is ceramic tile suitable for shower walls?

Ceramic tile is perfect for shower walls. When choosing a crazed tile, remember to seal it once a year.

  • Are ceramic tiles good for showers?

Ceramic tiles are perfect for showers. They hold up well to water, but if you have a crazed tile, seal it once a year.

  • Which is better for shower tile - ceramic or porcelain?

These two materials perform equally well in the shower. Choose the one that you like better.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Footing 1 Foot: A support for the foundation of a house that also helps prevent settling. It is typically made of concrete reinforced with rebar, but can also be made of masonry or brick. It is usually built under a heavier part of the house like a wall or column, to distribute the weight of the house over a larger area.
glossary term picture Grout 2 Grout: A fluid form of cement used to seal the joints between tiles. It also makes the surface stronger because it bonds the tiles together
3 Joint: A fold, line, or groove where two pieces of material join together
glossary term picture Mortar 4 Mortar: A mixture of Portland cement or lime or a combination of both, sand, and water used to bind bricks, stones, and concrete masonry units together

Cost to install a ceramic tile shower stall varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Ceramic tile shower and tub

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Anaheim, CA
+21%
Andover, MN
+8%
Asheville, NC
-18%
Athens, AL
-40%
Athens, GA
-9%
Austin, TX
+13%
Bakersfield, CA
-6%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Baton Rouge, LA
+19%
Birmingham, AL
+6%
Bronx, NY
+32%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chelsea, MA
+36%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Denton, TX
+17%
Detroit, MI
+16%
Dunedin, FL
-14%
Durham, NC
-1%
El Paso, TX
-28%
Elk Grove, CA
+6%
Eugene, OR
-11%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Franklin, TN
+26%
Frisco, TX
+23%
Hanover, PA
-13%
Hollywood, FL
0%
Houston, TX
+24%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Irvine, CA
+23%
Irving, TX
+10%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Joliet, IL
+25%
Kansas City, MO
+4%
Katy, TX
+63%
Knoxville, TN
+10%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Lufkin, TX
-37%
Marysville, WA
-14%
Mcdonough, GA
-11%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Miami, FL
+1%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Moreno Valley, CA
-6%
Nashville, TN
+21%
Navarre, FL
+97%
Labor cost in your zip code
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Methodology and sources