If you are tired of stepping over a bathtub when you take a shower, consider a walk-in shower. A walk-in shower is any shower without a tub. They may be curbless with no barrier to entry, luxurious spaces with glass walls and custom tiling, or simple prefabricated stalls. They come in many sizes and appearances.
The national average cost range to install a new walk-in shower in the bathroom is $8,000 to $15,000, with most people paying $9,000 for a custom 48” x 36” walk-in shower with ceramic tile walls, acrylic pan, pressure-balancing shower valve, and standard door. This project’s low cost is $3,500 for a basic 36” x 36” acrylic shower stall installed with basic plumbing and no door. The high cost is $20,000 for a custom 60” x 60” accessible curbless walk-in shower with a seat, grab bars, tile walls and floor, and a removable shower head on a sliding bar.
|Price to Install a Walk-In Shower|
|National average cost||$9,000|
Walk-in showers can be found in two types - prefabricated and custom. Prefabricated shower stalls can be acrylic, fiberglass, or cultured marble and cost $3,500 to $8,500 to install. These units install in one to three pieces quickly, and many come already plumbed or with included doors. They have set sizes and standard features, with some more luxurious options available.
The other method is to build a custom shower, ranging from $8,000 to $15,000. A custom shower means the walls are tiled or covered in slabs, and the floor can be an acrylic, ready-to-tile, or custom pan. With a custom shower, you can create any size or shape you desire, add features like performance plumbing, steam, or niches, and a decorative appearance for the walls. Custom showers offer more options and make a beautiful statement in the bathroom, but they are more costly than many prefab units. Despite the cost, most people choose custom showers because of their appearance and versatility. Below are the average costs to install both walk-in shower types.
|Prefab||$3,500 - $8,500|
|Custom||$8,000 - $15,000|
The average cost of installing a prefab walk-in shower is $3,500 to $8,500. This includes the shower, plumbing, installation, and area tear-outs or modifications necessary to install it. Prefab units typically start at 32” x 32”, but 36” x 36” is the smallest recommended size for a walk-in shower. Many prefab units come with doors, seats, and other special features, increasing the cost. They also come in many shapes, including corner, alcove, and freestanding stalls. The larger the unit and the more elaborate the setup, the higher the costs.
The average cost to install a custom walk-in shower is $8,000 to $15,000. These are the most common walk-in showers. They have a good return on investment and allow you to customize the shower size, shape, and appearance. A walk-in shower is often the main focus of a bathroom, so a custom shower with tile walls and glass doors can add to the beauty of the room. With a custom design, you can also opt for features that best suit the user, such as barrier-free entry, seating, and better plumbing placement. You can also change the size and shape to fit your space better than a prefab unit.
Walk-in showers come in all shapes and sizes, averaging $800 to $7,000. The smallest recommended size is 36” x 36” because this is the smallest size where a person could comfortably raise their arms to shampoo their hair and not bump their elbows into the walls. This is also the minimum standard size for an ADA-accessible shower. So, while showers come slightly smaller, with 30” x 30” being the smallest size allowed by code, most come in larger sizes.
With a custom shower, you can make the space any size to suit your bathroom and needs. Because there are so many options for custom showers, it is difficult to get average costs for popular sizes. Prefab units often come in preset sizes that make it easier to get a good idea of the costs and availability. Below are some of the most common sizes for prefab units and their average costs.
|Size||Prefab Cost (Materials Only)|
|36” x 36”||$800 - $1,200|
|36” x 42”||$900 - $1,400|
|36” x 48”||$1,200 - $2,000|
|36” x 60”||$1,200 - $4,000|
|48” x 48”||$1,200 - $4,000|
|48” x 60”||$1,400 - $5,000|
|60” x 60”||$1,500 - $6,000|
|60” x 72”||$1,800 - $7,000|
Walk-in showers can be configured in several ways to better fit your bathroom and needs. They range from $800 to $7,000 for the shower. When replacing an existing tub with a walk-in shower, you are most likely going to use an alcove installation, which features three walls and one side open for a curtain or glass door.
If you choose, you can also put your shower in the corner. Corner showers have a neo-angle pan that cuts across at 45º angles or a curved pan. If you choose a prefab unit, both are available with readymade doors. You can also place a square or rectangular shower in a corner, so it has two walls and two glass walls. You can also use a freestanding shower. This has one wall and is completely open or has three walls of glass. This is good for very large bathrooms where the shower is a separate feature and a focal point.
Most showers can also be curbless or barrier-free. This means the shower floor is flush with the bathroom floor. A wheelchair user can roll straight into a larger curbless shower, while smaller units are easier for people with mobility issues or vision problems because there is no step or curb to enter the shower. Many barrier-free showers also include seats in the design. Below are the average costs of prefab showers for the different types in their most common sizes.
|Type||Prefab Cost (Materials Only)|
|Corner||$800 - $1,400|
|Alcove||$800 - $3,000|
|Curbless / Barrier-Free||$900 - $4,000|
|Freestanding||$1,000 - $7,000|
Prefab showers have several material options. They come in three basic materials - acrylic, fiberglass, and cultured marble, costing $800 to $5,000. Acrylic is the most common, comes in the most sizes and configurations, and can be found nearly everywhere. Fiberglass is the most expensive but often comes with more luxury-appearing walls and features. Some fiberglass units are also multi-piece, which is better for remodels because they are easier to bring into the bathroom than a single stall. All materials come in several colors and sizes, depending on the manufacturer. Below are the average costs for prefab showers of the different material types.
|Prefab Material||Cost (Materials Only)|
|Acrylic||$800 - $2,500|
|Cultured Marble||$800 - $3,000|
|Fiberglass||$2,000 - $5,000|
Custom walk-in showers have different material options than prefab showers. Custom showers are built differently. While the floors can use an acrylic pan, the most common option is to tile a readymade pan or use a custom tiled pan while the walls are tiled or covered in solid slabs. The cost to tile a walk-in shower can be one of the biggest costs in the project, but a slab shower usually has higher costs because of the high material cost.
Most custom shower materials are sold and installed by the square foot, averaging $1.25 to $400. Each has many color, style, and design options. Tile has the most custom looks because you can mix and match materials and patterns throughout the shower. Below are the average costs per square foot for the most common materials in custom showers.
|Custom Material||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)|
|Ceramic Tile||$1.25 - $100|
|Porcelain Tile||$3 - $30|
|Stone Tile||$5 - $100|
|Porcelain Slab||$8 - $30|
|Glass Tile||$20 - $50|
|Stone Slab||$40 - $400|
|Solid Surface||$100 - $200|
While you can use a curtain with some smaller alcove walk-in showers, most use a shower door. Shower doors come in many styles and sizes to accommodate the different shower types and configurations, ranging from $300 to $5,000. Most prefab walk-in showers come with a door included, but some low-cost and budget options do not. For custom showers, you need to order a separate door to be installed during the project. Doors can be readymade or custom, depending on your needs. The doors can be framed or frameless, come as doors only, panels, or full enclosures for freestanding showers. The most common doors tend to be frameless and swing or hinge, but sliding doors are also options. If you add steam to your walk-in shower, you need a door or enclosure that reaches the ceiling. Below are the average costs of the different shower doors available for walk-in showers.
|Type of Door||Custom and Readymade Cost (Materials Only)|
|Framed||$300 - $1,200|
|Bypass||$400 - $2,000|
|Swing||$600 - $900|
|Half-Height||$700 - $1,000|
|Hinged||$700 - $1,000|
|Bi-Fold||$800 - $2,000|
|Frameless||$900 - $2,300|
|French||$1,000 - $2,400|
|Inline||$1,500 - $2,500|
|Neo-Angle||$1,500 - $3,500|
|Enclosure||$1,800 - $5,000|
Many reputable brands make prefab showers or shower walls and kits, ranging from $800 to $20,000. Some make units readily available for purchase in a range of sizes, colors, and configurations. Others come out to your home, measure your area, and install a modified set of walls and flooring. Kohler, Safe Step, and Bath Fitter are three brands that do this. This can make their costs different from companies that make their units in readymade sizes.
This can make a Kohler walk-in shower cost or Safe Step walk-in shower cost very different from other companies. Trying to compare the cost of a Bath Fitter walk-in shower and an American Standard walk-in shower cost can be difficult because Bath Fitter can modify their units to fit your space, while American Standard units are more standard. Each company offers different things. MAAX offers fiberglass units of varying sizes and features, while Glacier Bay, DreamLine, and Ella offer shower doors with their higher-end units. Kohler’s shower walls most closely resemble real marble and come with plumbing. These companies offer many options for your home. This includes barrier-free models, different shapes, sizes, and colors, and options like seats and grab bars. Below are the average costs for each brand uninstalled. Installation for a company that takes measurements can be different or higher than those for prefab units.
|Brand||Cost for Prefab Showers (Materials Only)|
|Glacier Bay||$800 - $1,700|
|DreamLine||$800 - $1,800|
|American Standard||$800 - $2,000|
|MAAX||$900 - $2,300|
|Bath Fitter||$1,000 - $10,000|
|Ella||$1,500 - $4,000|
|Safe Step||$4,000 - $10,000|
|Kohler||$5,000 - $20,000|
Your labor costs for installing a walk-in shower range depending on the shower type, size, and condition. New construction has the lowest costs because the walls are open, and you do not have to do any demo or remove existing objects. Adding a new shower to an existing space or replacing a shower or tub with a new shower can have higher costs because demolition or other changes may be required.
Prefab units usually have the lowest installation costs. They require your plumber to install the rough plumbing, drain, and valves first and the finish plumbing after they are in. Plumbers typically charge $75 to $150 an hour. You may also need to waterproof the area over the studs first. You can also have different costs for installation if there is a shower door with the prefab unit. Expect labor costs of between $2,700 and $3,500 for installing a prefab unit. Your costs may be higher with demolition or damage restoration from water or mold if you replace an existing tub or shower.
Installation costs are much higher for custom showers. In addition to the plumbing costs, you have waterproofing, backerboard installation, and tiling costs, ranging from $4,000 to $8,000 in labor, depending on the plumbing, pan, and tile or wall material type. Tile installers usually charge by the square foot, but they may charge by the hour or project if you are using a bathroom renovation company, with plumbing, waterproofing, and tile installation having separate line costs. Below are the average labor costs for installing both prefab and custom walk-in showers and total costs.
|Type||Labor Cost||Total Cost|
|Prefab||$2,700 - $3,500||$3,500 - $8,500|
|Custom||$4,000 - $8,000||$8,000 - $15,000|
If you have an existing walk-in shower, the time may come when it needs to be replaced. Older showers can leak, causing water damage behind the walls and mold and mildew growth. Older showers can also be stained, discolored, or look dated, impacting your bathroom’s appearance.
Replacing your walk-in shower typically has slightly higher costs than a new installation. This is because there is some demolition involved in removing the existing materials. This demo costs between $500 to $1,000. If there is water damage or mold, you need to address this before the new shower can be installed, increasing costs. After the old shower is out and issues are addressed, the new shower goes in similarly to any new installation. The plumbing is roughed in, the studs are waterproofed, and the prefab unit is installed or backerboard and tile is installed before the finished plumbing is put in. With the demo, it costs an average of $3,200 to $4,500 in labor, resulting in costs of $4,000 to $8,500 for a prefab shower replacement. The costs for a custom shower replacement are $4,500 to $9,000 in labor costs, for a total of $8,500 to $16,000.
If you have an existing bathtub/shower combo that is difficult to use or does not meet your needs, you may want to replace it with a walk-in shower. Many homes have standard bathtubs installed that are only 14” tall. This is not a truly usable bathtub beyond bathing very small children, but it is a big barrier to entry for some people because climbing over 14” or more can be difficult for those with mobility issues.
Removing the tub and replacing it with a walk-in shower can enhance the shower’s function and make it look more appealing at the same time. You can have a bathroom remodeling company do this work for you or hire a plumber or tile installer separately, depending on the walk-in shower type you are replacing it with.
The average cost to replace a tub with a shower is similar to replacing an existing shower. You have costs of $500 to $1,000 to demo the tub and surround, waterproof and plumb the new shower, and install the finished walls and plumbing. This results in a total cost range of $4,000 to $16,000, depending on the shower type.
If you have an existing walk-in shower that looks old, outdated, or is leaking, you may want to remodel it. Remodeling is essentially the same project as replacing a shower. In many cases, your costs can be lower if you leave the shower size, shape, and plumbing the same. You still need to demo the existing shower, take care of water damage, and waterproof the studs. But if the plumbing update is minimal, this can save you around $1,000 to $2,000. If you change the shower valve type, relocate the plumbing, or upgrade it, your costs are the same as a full replacement. This can make the total cost range of a remodel between $3,000 and $16,000, depending on the project scope and shower type.
In addition to the basic shower, several additions can enhance its appearance and function. Some of these features make the shower safer to use, such as grab bars and slip-resistant flooring. Other options make the shower more comfortable, such as a bench or seat, while things like built-in shelves or niches help keep the shower organized and easier to use.
You can also add steam to your shower, provided you do not use absorbent materials on the walls, such as stone, and that the glass door or enclosure reaches the ceiling. A shower screen is another option. This glass panel can keep water in without enclosing the shower like a door. Costs vary, so the cost of a walk-in shower with a bench ranges depending on the bench material and shower size. Below are the average costs of adding various options to the shower.
|Built-In Shelves||$75 - $300|
|Niches||$75 - $300|
|Grab Bars||$85 - $300|
|Bench||$100 - $300|
|Slip-Resistant Floor||$200 - $1,000|
|Shower Screen||$400 - $700|
|Steam||$400 - $4,000|
The maintenance of your walk-in shower depends on several factors, especially the material. Prefab showers are the lowest maintenance because they do not require special cleaners or sealers. A walk-in shower made of tile has grout, which can stain, while a shower with stone tiles or slabs requires sealers and special cleaners to prevent staining.
The best way to care for a walk-in shower is to squeegee the walls and glass after use to prevent water spots and soap scum. Otherwise, clean with the recommended cleaner for the material. Look for missing caulk in the corners or missing grout between tiles because these areas may allow water to reach behind the shower, causing damage. If you notice missing caulk or grout, contact your installer to replace it as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
Walk-in showers have many benefits for users. They use less space than a tub, making them good for small bathrooms. They are also easier to use and more accessible because there is no tub to climb over. If the floor is flush with the bathroom floor, they can be even easier to use and enter, making them good for the elderly and disabled.
Walk-in showers are also very attractive. For some homes and areas, they offer a good return on investment and may even raise the home’s value. A glass door or screen can also make the space seem larger, making the bathroom more visually appealing.
Walk-in showers are beneficial because they are attractive and easy to use. Another alternative to a walk-in shower that is easy to use and has no barrier to entry is a wet room. Walk-in showers range from $8,000 to $15,000 compared to the $15,000 and $25,000 for wet rooms. A wet room is a bathroom that is completely waterproofed. This means there is no need for a shower door, glass enclosure, or shower curtain because the water can freely leave the shower area without damaging the bathroom. This makes a wet room a good choice for small spaces where a separate shower may take up too much room.
However, wet rooms are more costly to install. The entire space must be waterproofed, increasing costs. The floor must also slope to the drain, limiting the flooring type. For larger spaces, it may make more sense to have the shower be separate from the bathroom rather than attempting to waterproof the entire space. Both shower spaces are very accessible, easy to use, and make for an attractive bathroom that appears to be larger than it is. Below are the average costs to install a walk-in shower and the cost to create a wet room.
|Walk-In Shower||$8,000 - $15,000|
|Wet Room||$15,000 - $25,000|
If you are installing a new shower and do not want to upgrade your water heater, you may want to add an electric shower. An electric shower heats the water used just at the shower, so you have a dedicated supply of hot water. It can be installed with the shower and plumbing and costs $400 to $3,000, depending on the type.
For many people, walk-in showers are worth it. They are easy to use, more accessible for the elderly and disabled, and very attractive. In some areas, they can raise your home’s resale value.
If you do not have another tub in your home, a walk-in shower can lower your home’s value. While some walk-in showers are large, others can be very small and cramped. They can be expensive and look dated if you tile them.
If you have another bathroom with a tub, a walk-in shower can help raise your home value. However, if this is your only bathroom, removing a tub to install a walk-in shower can hurt the resale.
There are many good sizes for walk-in showers. The smallest recommended size is 36” x 36”, but larger showers offer opportunities to install benches, steam, or more plumbing like body sprays if you have the space.
This depends on many things, including the size of each and the material. A usable tub that is deep and long enough for an adult can be more expensive, but a shallow tub for resale purposes can be less expensive than a walk-in shower.