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Showers are one of the most important and integral parts of the bathroom and to many people’s daily lives. Over time, older showers often look dingy, out of date, or in need of a facelift. Tile is one of the most versatile materials for covering a shower, allowing you a nearly endless choice of colors, patterns, and styles. You can tile your shower in a variety of materials and create a tiled shower in several sizes and designs to suit your needs. This variety leads to a wide range of associated costs. The average cost range for tiling a shower is between $1,000 and $5,000, with most people paying around $2,400 for a 3 x 4-foot shower with 8-foot walls tiled in ceramic with a running bond pattern.
|Shower Tiling Costs|
|National average cost||$2,400|
Besides the shower size, the biggest factor in determining the cost of this project is the tile material:
|Tile Material||Average Cost|
|Ceramic||$1 - $30/sq.ft.|
|Slate||$3 - $15/sq.ft.|
|Porcelain||$3 - $20/sq.ft.|
|Terracotta||$5 - $25/sq.ft.|
|Marble||$5 - $30/sq.ft.|
|Limestone||$5 - $30/sq.t.|
|Quarry Pavers||$10 - $30/sq.ft.|
|Glass||$10 - $30/sq.ft.|
|Granite||$10 - $50/sq.ft.|
|Pebble Tile||$30 - $40/sq.ft.|
Ceramic tile comes in a wide range of colors, patterns, styles, shapes, and sizes. It is made of wet clay that has been fired to high temperatures and given a glaze. It may be fired once or twice, with twice-fired tile being more durable. Ceramic tile makes an excellent shower material, but the glaze may craze or crack over time. If this happens, the tile must be sealed when in a wet area like the shower. It has an average cost range of $1 - $30/sq.ft.
Slate is a metamorphic stone that does well in wet areas like showers. It can be gauged or ungauged and may have a naturally cleft, matte, or polished finish. The more “finished” the slate tile, the higher the cost. Ungauged, naturally cleft slate is relatively inexpensive to purchase but costs more to install. The price ranges between $3 and $15 a square foot on average.
Porcelain tile is made of compressed clay dust fired to very high temperatures. This renders it impervious to moisture, stains, scratches, and cracking. It may be glazed or unglazed and comes in a range of styles that mimic the look of stone, wood, or fabric. It comes in sizes of up to 36 inches square and can give your shower a modern look. The cost range is between $5 and $20 a square foot on average.
Terracotta is a monocottura tile, meaning it was fired once. It may be glazed or unglazed, but unglazed terracotta requires a sealant when used in a wet area like a shower because the tile’s clay body is porous. Terracotta is generally thicker than most machine-made tiles, which makes installation more difficult. It costs around $5 to $25 a square foot, depending on the size and finish.
Marble is a metamorphic stone that may be cut and polished, honed and matte, or tumbled in appearance. Some marbles do very well in wet areas, while others have problems in the shower. For example, Bianco Carrara contains iron and may rust, and any green marble that contains serpentine may flake. If marble is used in the shower, it must be sealed during installation and resealed regularly to impede staining. Costs range between $5 and $30 a square foot.
Limestone is a sedimentary rock made primarily of calcite. Some limestones should never be used in wet areas or showers, such as Lagos Azul that pits and dissolves in water. Others like Crema Luna are very hard, durable stones that hold up well, provided they are sealed periodically. All limestone must be sealed with an impregnating, silicone-based sealer during installation and resealed regularly to prevent stains. Expect to pay between $5 and $30 a square foot on average.
Quarry pavers are a unique tile made of clay that is fired to very high temperatures. Unglazed, they often resemble bricks or terracotta. However, they can also be glazed in a wide range of colors and finishes. These are very thick, durable tiles that come in a wide range of patterns, sizes, and styles. They have average costs starting between $10 and $30 a square foot.
Glass tile is a great material for showers, either used alone or combined with ceramic, porcelain, or stone. Glass tile can be cleaned with any glass cleaner and is impervious to staining. Glass tile comes in a wide range of colors, patterns, and types. Some need special installation, setting materials, and grouts, which increases the installation cost significantly. Glass tile starts between $10 and $30 a square foot on average.
Granite is an igneous rock that comes in many colors, but it is not a very common material for showers. People use it in contemporary showers when they want the look of polished stone tile without the care and maintenance of marble or limestone. It is almost always sold in 12-inch polished squares, although some more popular colors may be honed or flamed and available in other sizes. Average costs are between $10 and $50 a square foot.
Pebble tile is made of rocks taken from beaches, usually around Indonesia, but they may be gathered from other areas as well. They are sorted for size and color and glued to mesh sheets. The sheets interlock into one another to produce a seamless installation. They require a great deal of grout to install and must be sealed to prevent staining. They can be used either underfoot for a massage, as an accent with other tiles, or cover a complete wall. They typically cost around $30 to $40 a square foot.
Showers can be tiled in plain or decorative ways, but anything other than the most basic layouts and designs increases the base project cost. One reason is that patterns like diagonal, herringbone, and running bond require numerous cut tiles along the edges, which increases the amount of tile you need and the labor. Expect to pay at least 10% more for a shower with a running bond or border and at least 20% more for accent walls, diagonal patterns, herringbone patterns, and other specialty designs. The following examples are some common ways to tile a shower:
This is the most basic and least expensive tile installation. The tiles are installed straight up and down, stacked on top of each other. The tiles may be square or rectangular in shape.
In a diagonal tile installation, the tiles are turned on their points. This creates a unique pattern but increases the total installation costs by about 20%. A basic ceramic tile installation in a stall shower might cost $600 for a straight set installation but $720 for a diagonal design.
The running bond design is arguably the most popular tile installation of all time. It is sometimes called an offset or subway pattern, and it can be made of rectangular or square tiles. It increases costs by 10% to 15%, depending on the tile size and shape.
The herringbone pattern is a decorative way to tile a shower. It uses rectangular tiles set at angles to one another. This is a very time-consuming pattern to create and increases project costs by roughly 20%.
A large format tile shower uses oversized tiles to create a contemporary appearance with few grout lines. Oversized tiles tend to cost more, around $20 a square foot, and the installation cost is higher as well because they require extra time and mortar to ensure that they are level.
Mosaic tile showers are very popular, especially with glass tile. While the tiles are small, they install 12 inches at a time on a sheet, so they do not take considerably longer. They cost slightly more to install, about 10% more on average, because the mortar must be smoothed and flattened before the sheets can be pressed in. If the mosaics are paper-faced or have brown craft paper on the front, expect to pay 20% more in installation costs because it requires the paper to be removed after the mosaics are in place.
An accent wall is a great way to add detail to a shower. A field tile is used for most of the installation, and then a smaller framed section is filled with a different pattern or tile. Accent walls increase the cost of the installation by about 20 to 30%, depending on the size and material used in the center.
Decorative borders are a common accent in bathrooms. The most inexpensive way to add a border is to cut a sheet of mosaics into strips, which reduces the costs to about $2 a linear foot, but you can also purchase decorative tiles specifically for this purpose. Borders can add 10% to 30% to the project’s cost, depending on the material and size.
There is a wide range of labor costs for tiling a shower, mostly related to the type of material. On average, expect to pay between $5 and $7 a square foot for the labor and installation of most ceramic and porcelain tile showers.
However, you may have much higher installation costs for other materials because of the extra work needed to install them. For example, some glass tiles use an epoxy setting material and grout, green marble requires an epoxy, porcelain and stone tiles may need bullnoses, ungauged slate tile may require additional installation work, and pebble tile requires time-consuming grouting. Some materials may also require sealing and color enhancers, which also increases the labor and installation costs. The following table lists the labor cost ranges to tile a shower by material.
|Ceramic tile||$5 - $15/sq.ft.|
|Porcelain tile||$7 - $20/sq.ft.|
|Quarry pavers||$7 - $20/sq.ft.|
|Granite||$7 - $20/sq.ft.|
|Marble||$8 - $20/sq.ft.|
|Limestone 8||$8 - $20/sq.ft.|
|Terracotta||$8 - $20/sq.ft.|
|Large format||$9 - $25/sq.ft.|
|Glass||$9 - $25/sq.ft.|
|Slate||$10 - $12/sq.ft.|
|Mosaic||$10 - $25/sq.ft.|
|Paper-faced mosaic||$11 - $25/sq.ft.|
|Pebble||$12 - $30/sq.ft.|
For a ceramic tile shower measuring 3 x 4 feet with 8-foot walls using a running bond installation on the walls and a mosaic on the floor, expect labor costs to be about $800 out of the $2,400 total. The same-size shower tiled completely in mosaics would have labor costs closer to $1,680, while a shower tiled in marble might have labor costs of around $1,300.
Shower tiles range from ⅜ of an inch to 36 inches. Mosaic tiles are typically installed in 12-inch sheets, while the majority of other tiles are put in one tile at a time. Mid-sized tiles usually install the fastest because mosaics and large format tiles both have special concerns with installation that make the process more labor intensive.
The most common shower tile sizes are 4-inch square, 6-inch square, 3x6 inch, 4x8 inch, and 12x2 inch for modern showers, but any size can be used on shower walls. For shower floors, the floor must use 2-inch tiles or smaller to ensure that the tile slopes to the drain. Keep in mind that the smaller the tile, the more grout the shower will have.
Costs to retile a shower are not tremendously higher than the cost of tiling a new shower. The biggest added cost is the removal of the old tile, which has a price of around $5 a square foot. For the average shower, this adds a total of $480 to the project, assuming that there are no major changes to the shower size or shape and that nothing significant was found behind the shower walls, such as mold or rot. To retile a 3 x 4-foot shower in ceramic tile with a mosaic floor, expect to pay about $2,880.
Walk-in showers are not the only shower type that can be tiled. Tub/shower combinations are often tiled above the tub. This changes the shower shape and size and eliminates the shower floor. However, the tub needs a tile flange attached to its edge to make the installation go more smoothly. The average cost of tiling a tub/shower surround with ceramic tile in a running bond design is around $1,500 on average.
Tile is one of the most versatile materials for showers. It provides nearly endless customization for colors, materials, patterns, and styles and allows you to create a variety of shower sizes and shapes. With tile, it is possible to add things like tile benches or extend the wall coverings to the ceiling.
However, all tiles require grout, which can stain and be difficult to clean. Some shower tiles require more maintenance, including sealing, drying the tiles after each use, and using special cleaning supplies. Having a tile shower installed is usually more expensive than having solid shower walls in acrylic or a one-piece fiberglass shower installed.
The type and amount of maintenance your shower needs is directly tied to the tile used. Ceramic tile and porcelain tile are both low-maintenance. You may choose to seal the grout to impede staining, but if your ceramic tile crazes or crackles, it must be sealed. Otherwise, these showers are easy to maintain.
Glass tile is also easy to care for, particularly if it uses an epoxy-based grout. Use a glass cleaner to clean the tile.
All-natural stone tile needs to be sealed in the shower. Very soft stones, such as limestone and travertine, must be sealed with something designed for very porous stone. If you have tumbled stone or pebble tile, you may also want to apply a color-enhancing sealer at least once yearly to deepen the color.
Most stones eventually stain in the shower. Some also rust, and green marble spalls, meaning becomes flaky and scaly, when exposed to water if not sealed very carefully on a regular basis.
If you use any stone tile in your shower, use a squeegee to dry the shower walls after use, seal the tile at least once yearly, and always clean your tile with a pH-neutral cleaner.
When retiling a shower rather than installing a new one, the old tile must first be removed. This costs about $5 a square foot.
All tile shower installations need a waterproofing membrane installed over the studs to help prevent moisture damage. The membrane costs around $10 a roll.
While uncommon, an electric in-floor heating system can be installed in your shower. This has a total cost of approximately $20 a square foot. Proper installation is necessary to ensure the safety of this project.
It is common for tile showers to have a marble threshold. If you have stone elsewhere in the bathroom, such as a countertop, you may choose to use a piece of the same slab for the threshold. Readymade thresholds are available in a few colors and cost around $50.
This depends on the size and materials you choose, but the average cost is around $2,400.
This depends on the shower size and the materials you choose. Expect at least 5 to 6 hours of tiling, plus additional time for curing, grouting, and drying.
A cement backer board that has been treated for use in wet areas is the best material to use behind the tile in a shower.
You should cover your studs with a waterproofing membrane and use a cement backer board that is designed for use in wet areas.