Walk-in showers are making an emergence in 2020. With the recent stay-at-home measures forcing homeowners to spend more time at home, many are getting creative with their bathrooms.
Generally speaking, a walk-in shower renovations will cost homeowners $1,000-$3,000 if a pre-fab shower unit is installed, or $8,000-$15,000 for a fully-customized walk-in shower.
Why get a walk-in shower?
When it comes to bathroom renovations, the fully-customized walk-in shower is considered to be the holy grail.
Most walk-in showers are either partly- or fully-enclosed by glass, giving the bathroom a natural and open appeal. Many are designed to be curbless, which means the bathroom floor seamlessly transitions into the shower floor, so you can just walk in. A custom walk-in shower can typically be built into nearly any space.
The other obvious advantage is the easy-entry access. Older couples prefer walk-in showers, and typically opt for a built-in bench inside the shower.
Walk-in shower renovation costs
In U.S. and Canada, the average walk-in shower renovation will range between $8,000 and $15,000.
While a DIY, pre-fabricated shower may cost homeowners anywhere between $1,000-$3,000, a custom walk-in shower is most common due to its aesthetic appeal. Here we will break down the average cost for a walk-in shower renovation.
This is the first step of the renovation. Typically, an existing bathtub (or old shower floor) will be removed, along with the wall tile surrounding it. The wall tile must be removed, as the tub is usually connected behind the tiles. If you’re handy and want a fun activity to do with your partner, consider doing this part yourself – you will also save some money.
2. Plumbing (rough-in)
This part is best left for the pros. Get a plumber to install shower valves (which will control the flow of water), water-supply lines, and position and install the shower drain. Depending on the set-up of the existing tub or shower lines, this price will depend on how many changes will occur.
Avg. cost: $1500-2000
A water-proofing membrane will need to be installed, before the shower tiles are put in place. The Kerdi waterproofing membrane from Schluter is the highest-quality and most popular product for this, but can cost up to $1000 for the materials alone.
Your tile setter is normally responsible for installing the waterproofing system.
4. Shower pan
Avg. cost: $2500 ($1000 if pre-built)
Building a shower pan for your walk-in shower requires a lot of skill. The shower floor will need to slope towards the drain in order to prevent the water from entering into the bathroom. A medium or small-sized floor tile will need to be installed overtop. A cheaper, but less attractive alternative would be a pre-built shower pan placed over the floor.
Avg. cost: $2000-3000
Labor and materials cost will largely depend on the specific tile being installed. Larger tiles are usually more expensive to install because they’re heavier.
This part of the project usually takes between 3 days to 6 days depending on the size of your shower and any special features like windows or niches (a built-in shelf).
6. Finish plumbing
Avg. cost: $2000
The bathroom is almost done. All that’s left is to install the shower trim and fixtures. This price is largely dependent on the fixture itself. For example, Kohler is sometimes more expensive, but also has a sturdy and high-quality finish.
7. Install glass panels or doors
The last step is to install the glass panels. Materials and labor may cost $1500 if you decide to install a fixed pane of glass, or closer to $3000 for a sliding glass door.
It is best to let professionals handle this installation, as handling glass panels can be dangerous. It is best practise to leave space between the top of each glass pane and the ceiling, in order to prevent mould build-up.
If the new walk-in shower will be curbless, the existing floor needs to be at least on the same level as the shower floor. If it’s not already, the bathroom floor should be re-levelled, and a new one installed.
As mentioned before, a shower niche will normally cost more because it takes longer to build and tile. A niche makes for a more convenient way to store soaps inside your shower.
Bathroom remodels are generally more cost effective when all at once. While you’re renovating your shower, consider updating the rest of your bathroom fixtures as well.
Bathroom cost calculator
If you would like to see a more detailed breakdown of material and labor costs, we have built a free bathroom-designer online. Use it to build your own custom bathroom with a walk-in shower, to see how much it will cost. When you select your preferred materials, all the materials prices will be automatically calculated at the bottom of the page.