Think about all of the traffic your bathroom usually sees. This traffic can cause a lot of wear and tear in a short amount of time, and this is why you should retile it once every three to five years to keep it looking nice and functioning at peak levels. The cost to tile a shower will depend on a number of factors, but this doesn’t have to be a hugely expensive project like it would be if you did a full bathroom remodel. If you notice cracked, peeling, or missing grout, you want to replace it right away to avoid water leaking through it and causing damage underneath it.
Maybe you have stubborn mold or dirt issues that spoiled your bathroom’s aesthetic, or you have tile that split. Perhaps you changed your decor style and your bathroom currently doesn’t match. Whatever the reason, knowing the cost to retile shower and bathroom requires knowing the cost so you can successfully budget for it.
There are different ways to change the feel and look of your shower, and tile is a fantastic option. Tile comes in a huge range of shapes, styles, colors, and sizes, and this allows you to create a custom, unique shower to suit your needs and tastes. Since showers come in a large variety of configurations and sizes, your cost to retile shower has a broad price point. The average cost to retile shower, including three walls and the pan, will range from $500 to $10,000. Most people end up paying $2,500 for this project.
The cost to retile shower is around $12.50 for every square foot, not including labor. Other price factors will include your contractor rate, square footage, tile type, type design, regrouting, and waterproofing layers. If you’re not sure that cost to retile shower, this is for you. We’ll outline everything you need to keep in mind when you start shopping around to ensure you get the best price possible while getting the bathroom look you want.
Your cost to tile a shower will depend on the size, type of tile, and other factors. Setting a budget at the start of the process will help you keep your expectations in line throughout the process. Ooo….new shower hardware by Jessica Merz / CC BY 2.0
Types of Shower Tile
There are several types of tile to choose from, and this will impact your cost to retile shower. Once you settle on a type of tile, you can easily use the price per square foot to get a good material estimate. This doesn’t include labor, but it’ll give you a starting point.
Crackle or Crazed
A tile that has a crackle finish comes with a glaze that is cracked. Many types of tile may craze at any time, and this doesn’t mean that there’s a tile defect. Exposing the tile to cold or heat can cause the tile’s glaze to craze. Some tile has this type of coating on it on purpose to give it a unique effect. If you choose to use this type of tile, you have to seal it using an impregnating sealer because this will prevent it from staining. The cost to retile shower using this tile type is around $5.00 for every square foot.
Floor tile is a lot more durable and thicker, and this adds a nice cushion without adding to your cost to retile shower. It comes outfitted with a glaze that can easily withstand heavy traffic without chipping or breaking. You can install floor tile on your wall, but it’s not a good idea to install wall tile on the floor because it’s too thin and prone to damage. Floor tiles usually come in two-inch mosaic, and you can also get 6-inch, 12-inch, and larger to help cover more area at one time. This type of tile starts at around $5.00 per square foot.
If you have a bigger budget, handmade tile can really increase your cost to retile shower. These tiles either come extruded by machine before getting hand cut and finished, or they’ll get completely formed by hand. They have a bigger variation in texture, color, and edging due to the hand forming process, and they need you to use a wider grout when you install them. However, they give you beautiful and dramatic results that are very eye-catching and impossible to get with machine-made tiles. You’ll pay around $25.00 per square foot for this tile type.
As the name suggests, these tiles are made entirely by machine. This produces a very uniform appearance, edge, and color in the finished product. There are rarely any surprises with this tile, and it’s very much what you see is what you get type of situation. These tiles come in a broad range of sizes that start at ¾-inches and go up to over 16-inches. Since machine made tile is mass produced, it’s very nice for helping you control your cost to retile shower. On average, you’ll spend $1.25 for every square foot.
If you want mosaic tile, this is any tile that is two-inches or smaller. You’ll purchase this type of tile in sheets on contact paper or mesh, and it’s a mid-range price that you’ll add to your total cost to retile shower. If you want to tile your shower floor, you’ll want to use this type of tile because they naturally slope toward the drain to encourage water not to stand on the floor. You can get machine-made or handmade mosaic tile, and the starting costs are $10.00 per square foot.
This is tile that comes designed to use strictly on walls. It usually has a glossy finish to the glaze, but you can also get matte glazes. You’ll find a huge range of sizes from two-inches up to eight by eight-inches. The most common wall tile sizes are three by six-inches and four by four-inches. There is a huge price range with this tile, and it can be as low as $1.25 per square foot up to $25.00 per square foot. This allows you to match your tile price to your cost to retile shower budget without sacrificing quality.
Tile Patterns and Price Points
One nice thing about tile is the sheer choice you get. You have a lot of freedom without blowing your budget on the cost to retile shower. It comes in dozens of sizes and shapes, including rectangles, squares, diamonds, circles, and freeform. You can install them in combination with one another or singularly, and you can install them in a range of patterns. A few very popular patterns for the bathroom include but are not limited to:
You should know that your cost to retile shower will start to go up if you pick any design other than a straight set or a running bond. This is due to the fact that you’ll have to precisely cut the tiles to fill the perimeter on the wall or floor. So, you’ll have to buy between 15 and 20% more materials to have tile to cut.
If you hire a contractor, be aware that more complicated designs will result in spending more time laying out, cutting, and fitting the tile together. This could cause your contractor to increase their labor costs by $1.00 to $2.00 per square foot, and this can increase your total cost by as much as 25% than it would be if you picked out a simple pattern.
For example, say you want a diagonal pattern. You’ll pay between $2.00 and $4.00 more per square foot, plus the base rate of $12.50. Multicolored, patterned, graphic, or encaustic cement tiles are also popular, and they come with a matte finish that costs around $11.00 per square foot.
Cost Difference for Tiling the Shower Floor vs. the Shower Walls
Ideally, you’ll tile both the shower floor and the shower walls at the same time. Doing so will help to ensure that you get a completely sealed area that won’t allow water to sink behind it and cause damage to the floor or walls. Since there is more space to cover on the walls, they’ll cost more.
Average Price to Tile a Shower Wall
The biggest part of the cost to retile shower is the walls. This remains true no matter if you want to just tile the walls or tile the floor and walls. The good news is that installing wall tile is straightforward and simple. To start, go to the bottom center of the main wall and start moving upward and outward evenly. The only obstacle you’ll have is cutting your tiles to fit around your plumbing and cutting the tile to fit into any niches in your shower.
Most shower walls are larger than the floor, and this is where people want patterns. This means that it usually takes longer to tile than it does the floor. When you decide to install a pattern on your shower walls in the tile, you could find out that there is a higher labor cost than you’ll pay for the flooring. If you only want to tile the walls, this will take your cost to retile shower to around $2,000. For a full shower retile, you’ll pay an average of $2,500 for materials and labor.
Tiling a floor generally takes a shorter time than the walls because the mosaic tiles come in a sheet that is easy to trim to your specifications. Bathroom and shower by John Donaghy / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Average Price to Tile a Shower Floor
Covering the floor of your shower shouldn’t increase your overall cost to retile shower by too much because it’s a relatively easy and straightforward process. Using mosaic tiles, you’ll ensure that your tile conforms to the drain’s natural slope to encourage water drainage and prevent flooding. Laying, cutting, and installing mosaic tile is easy to do since it comes in sheets that are easy to trim. You can use a tile saw or tile nippers to trim them, and this keeps your cost to tile a shower floor between $400 and $500.
Price to Replace Shower Tile
At a minimum, you’ll pay at least $150 to replace your shower tile. This includes only replacing a single cracked or broken tile. The cost to retile shower and replace your existing tile will depend on the tile material, how easy it is to source, the minimum cost job, and the contractor’s hourly rate.
You must carefully cut the broken tile free and remove the old mortar. You must then clean up the area and install the new tile. It can be very difficult to source new tile to match your existing tile, and it could require custom color matching where you send a small sample of your tile directly to the tile company. It can add weeks on to your project as you get stuck waiting for your matching tile to come in. This is why it’s a good idea to buy a few extra tiles in case you need to replace one or two in the future to help control your costs.
Replacing shower tiles are necessary because neglecting broken tiles allows moisture to slowly seep beneath the surface of the tile to the floors or walls underneath. Over time, this could cause damage to your subfloor or framing, and this can result in a very expensive repair or remodel in the future.
How Much it Costs to Retile a Smaller Bathroom
You don’t have to worry as much about the cost to retile shower in a smaller bathroom because it’ll cost you around $1,000. This works out to $12 to $23 for every square foot. You can measure your bathroom’s size to get a good idea for how much tile you need to buy.
Generally speaking, a six-foot by six-foot bathroom is very small. However, a five-foot by eight-foot family bathroom is large. Your labor fees will differ from contractor to contractor in your local area, and this is why you want to shop around. The tile design and type also play in.
If you have stains or a mold problem in your shower, you’ll have to regrout it to make it look nice again without replacing the entire tile surface. When you regrout, you strip away the old grout and replace it with new. You’ll pay between $10.00 and $25.00 per square foot, and this doesn’t include labor. If you go with a contractor, they may have to do more work to fix your waterproofing membrane if they notice that it’s damaged. They’ll check for damage and tack on charges to your cost to retile shower.
Comparing Ceramic and Porcelain Shower Tile
Porcelain and ceramic make excellent materials for tile for your shower, and the biggest differences between the two are the appearance and the overall style. Ceramic tiles come from a wet clay that the manufacturer fires and adds a glaze to. You can choose from a huge range of colors, and there are a lot of sizes and shapes available to help fit your decor.
On the other hand, porcelain tiles chrome from compressed clay dust. This dust gets fired at high temperatures, and it comes glazed or unglazed. This type of tile can look like metal, fabric, wood, or stone, but it’s generally larger. This tile usually comes in 12-inches square up to 36-inches square.
Additionally, porcelain tile is more delicate and challenging to cut without breaking them. The larger tiles are also more time-consuming during the installation process to prevent lippage. If you choose to have the larger porcelain tiles, your installation cost to retile shower can rise by as much as $15.00 to $25.00 for every square foot for your labor costs. A 12-inch porcelain and a 12-inch ceramic tile are close in price, but the smaller ceramic tiles are going to be more cost-effective.
Both are more low-maintenance in your shower. As a bonus porcelain usually isn’t glazed, and this means that it has a zero percent chance of crazing. You also never need to seal it. Ceramic tiles can slowly craze over time, and you’ll have to pay to have a contractor seal them if this happens. It won’t increase your cost to retile shower, but it will increase your ongoing maintenance costs.
Tile Improvement Costs
There are a few things you can do to enhance or improve your tile to keep your bathroom looking nice and protect the subfloor or walls behind it. These things are generally less expensive than the original cost to retile shower, but you should still budget for them.
- Remove Old Tiles – When you want to replace your shower, you have to carefully remove the old tile. If you’re going to remove all of the tiles, all you’ll need is the correct tools like a hammer, chisel, and pry bar. You’ll pay around $5.00 per square foot to remove the old tiles. You can also do this part yourself to help save money. Just remember to catch the debris to make cleanup easy by laying down plastic.
- Adding a Waterproof Membrane – It’s essential that you always install a waterproofing membrane over the studs in your walls before you put up the backer board. This is what the tile will get installed on. A waterproof membrane will stop moisture from seeping through, and this can head off problems later down the line. This membrane is cost-effective, and you’ll pay around $10.00 a roll.
You want to take steps to improve your tile’s appearance and the shape it’s in throughout the years to help it last longer. If not, you’ll find your cost to retile shower going up with constant fixes.
Additional Considerations to Keep in Mind
There are a few points you want to keep in mind when you’re trying to figure out the cost to retile shower and balance your budget with your wants and needs. Keeping these points in mind will help you make decisions and stay inside your budget during the project.
First, you have to understand that showers come in several different configurations. These configurations will impact the project’s total cost. Things like shower seats, tile niches, and plumbing things like jets can cause the cost to retile shower to climb. Having a tub/shower combination eliminates the need to tile the floor, but you will have to tile over the tub flange. So, you’ll have less square footage to worry about. However, you could have a higher installation rate because of the configurations the contractor has to work around.
You should try and purchase your tile directly from the company to help save money. Doing this will help to get rid of the additional contractor fees, and this can end up saving you as much as 10%. Additionally, some contractors can offer a nice discount if you tile the shower the same tile you tile the floor or countertop. Maybe you’re doing a kitchen remodel. See about combining the two for a discount.
It’s also a great time to consider updating your plumbing when you tile your shower because the walls will be open. At the very least, have a professional take a look at the plumbing and see if it’s in good shape while the walls are open.
Finally, ceramic tile is a very easy medium to keep clean and free of mold. If you’re looking for an even easier material, consider installing glass. You can clean it with a glass cleaner, and it usually uses a grout with an epoxy grout.
DIY Installation vs. Hiring a Professional Tile Installer
While it’s true that controlling the cost to retile shower by doing it yourself can give you a huge feeling of accomplishment, there are downsides to worry about. This is a more complicated project, and it’s best to hire a contractor instead of trying to do it yourself.
For example, you’ll need specialized cutting equipment and skills to make sure your tiles fit into tight or awkward spaces. A professional-grade contractor will also know how much material you should order, and this ensures that you won’t waste money by ordering a lot of tile you won’t use. Finally, spacing group lines even distances apart requires a lot of skill. Someone with experience will do it much quicker than an amateur, and this can move your project along.
Where to Find a Tile Installer
If you need a professional tile contractor to help you tile your shower, here is a good resource to help you find one near you:
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the best way to get ceramic tile clean in the shower?
Surprisingly, steam cleaning is a great way to clean ceramic tile. Steam cleaning is very fast, it cleans more thoroughly, and it’s not abrasive. You could hire steam cleaning equipment to complete the job, but it might not be as good as getting a professional-grade product or hiring a company to clean it for you.
2. What is the average cost to retile shower if it’s a walk-in style?
To tile a walk-in shower, you’ll typically spend anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000 for the total cost to retile shower. Depending on the tile, some contractors could charge upwards of $10,000 to complete this project.
3. Can you use ceramic tile for your shower walls?
Yes. Ceramic tile works very well for shower walls, and it helps to keep your cost to retile shower lower. However, you’ll have to seal it once a year if you decide to go with a crazed ceramic tile.
4. How much will you spend for a new tile shower per square foot?
On average, a new tile shower installation will cost right around $25 per square foot. It’s more expensive to tile than it is to retile because you’ll take more time to prepare the shower. Contractors have to level, clean, and prime the floors before they start tiling. They also have to peel off the old paint and adhesive from the walls and lay down a waterproof membrane before they start the job.
5. How long does it take to retile a shower?
To retile an ordinary shower, it should take two days. If you run into complications, it can easily take longer. On day one, you prepare the site, put the tile down, fill in the mortar, and let it cure. Day two involves grouting with a possible second grout layer, wiping it clean, and finishing.
The cost to tile a shower depends on a large variety of factors, and it’s easy to drive your cost to retile shower up very quickly. No matter if you have a simple or complex project in mind, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a professional to make sure you get a high-quality finished space. This guide gave you the biggest factors to consider when you’re figuring out your cost to retile shower, and you can take it and apply it to your situation to see how your costs stack up.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.