A bathroom remodel is one of the best projects for a good ROI (return on investment). Simply upgrading the fixtures or tiling the shower is an easy way to provide a facelift and give a boost to your resale value. However, you may decide to install a whole new shower to upgrade to modern design or new technology. This can be a complicated project and may require hiring a professional. The average cost for a professional shower installation is between $1,143 and $5,370 with an average cost of $3,208. There are a few common factors that will impact the price to install a shower.
Showers come in two basic types: full showers and shower/tub combinations. This can affect resale value. You might see a shower as the more sophisticated option, but remember that many potential buyers have young children. A shower/tub is far more suited to them. It gives them the safety of bathing their children in a tub as well as the convenience of a quick shower.
A small bathroom might do better with a regular shower. They take up much less space and with a few simple upgrades can feel very luxurious. It’s easier to replace a shower/tub combination with a shower because the shower takes up much less space. Going the other way is costlier due to the extra plumbing that must be run and the extra room required.
Shower/tubs are designed to have the dual appeal of a shower and a bathtub. The average cost is $400.00 to $600.00 for the tub and walls. Installation costs another $1,000.00 or more depending on complications such as running new plumbing, installing a unit on an upper floor, etc. They are often made of fiberglass, though other materials are available.
Available in many styles – There are many aesthetic touches to these units that let them fit into any style you may choose. Color options are also wide, and the prices allow them to fit into any budget. You can also get different types like alcove, clawfoot and drop-in tubs.
Suitable for Any Lifestyle – Whether you want a luxurious bath or a quick shower, the shower/tub combination is a convenient way to have the best of both worlds.
Space Saving – Even though they are larger than a single shower, a shower/tub can do the work of two fixtures in one space. They are well-suited for small full baths, neatly fitting along the wall.
Easily Remodeled – Giving a facelift to one of these units is as easy as installing tile around the walls or just replacing the faucets. A few small accessories can turn a common shower/tub into a mini-escape!
Resale – When selling your house, the shower/tub will appeal to a wider spectrum of potential buyers. Families with children will appreciate the tub for its safety while on-the-go couples will appreciate a shower for convenience.
Complex Plumbing – Because they combine two different features, plumbing repairs can be a little more complex than a simple shower. Some can be DIY, but others may require a plumber.
Large Footprint – Although they fit neatly in small full bathrooms, mid-sized bathrooms can feel cramped with a large fixture. The fit may even make the bathroom look like an afterthought.
Accessibility – The elderly and the disabled can find it difficult to step over the edge of the tub, which can measure 16 inches or taller.
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Remodeling a Shower/Tub
Remodeling a shower/tub is pretty easy. A bathtub liner is an easy remodel. It fits neatly over your existing tub and can dramatically change the appearance. They cost around $150.00 to $250.00 while the surrounds (walls) can cost another $120.00. With a little patience and know-how, this can be a DIY project. If you have it professionally installed, it can cost another $300.00 for labor.
Some people prefer to tile their shower/tub. There are many different types from ceramic to natural stone. It’s a fairly easy DIY project and can cost from $1.30 per square foot to $5.00 per square foot.
Another easy remodel is updating the fixtures. Many are chrome-plated plastics or cheap metals. By upgrading to a brushed nickel or gold-plated fixtures you can set the tone for the whole bathroom.
Finally, and not everyone thinks about this, replacing the curtain with a glass door can be a good upgrade that is easier to clean. Curtains can develop mold and are fairly tough to keep clean. Glass doors can benefit from any number of routine cleaning products including daily spray cleaners and automated systems.
Stand Alone Showers
Stand-alone showers work great in small bathrooms. They tend to appeal to young, on-the-go couples. Some upgrades can make them as luxurious as a full bath.
A shower stall by itself can cost around $400.00 for a basic model. Installation can cost another $300.00 to $400.00 depending on various factors such as local labor rates, level of finishing work, and complexity of the project.
Cost Effectiveness – Showers use half to less than half of the water used by a bathtub, especially when using low-flow shower heads.
Easy Fit – A shower can fit along a wall or in a corner with equal ease.
Safety – The elderly and the disabled don’t have to worry about stepping over a tub wall.
Resale Value – To maximize the resale value of your house, experts recommend at least one bathtub. If you have a one-bathroom house, removing the tub has a great chance of hurting the resale value no matter how nice the shower is.
Mold – Mold tends to build up quicker with a shower.
Remodeling a Shower
Remodeling your shower is a little more involved than a shower/tub, but it can have a bigger effect. Tiles can be used on the walls, floor, and ceiling, making it feel like a separate room.
Fixtures can be upgraded and the styles are numerous. Besides various finishes, the showerheads themselves have many features available. This includes removable massage showerheads and programmable units.
Most DIY shower remodels are relatively minor, costing around $250.00. A complete, professional makeover costs around $4,000.00.
Affordable and attractive, ceramic tiles are seeing a rise in popularity. Part of their appeal is their variety. They come in any color and design imaginable and combining them creates stunning patterns. Mass-produced tiles are noted for their consistency while artisan tiles have the charm of individuality. You can even mix the two styles, creating a uniform wall with decorative touches.
They can be applied individually or in sheets. The sheets have interlocking edges to help mask the joints and keep the lines straight. They give quick coverage for a small tile design, and make an interesting accent when used with large tiles. Large tiles help open up a space, making it look bigger. Small tiles make a space look busy or smaller. Large tiles don’t provide a lot of grip when they’re wet. Use tiles of no larger than 4” x 4” to maintain a slip-resistant floor.
Ceramic tiles usually cost $1.30 per square foot, but hand-crafted tiles and other high end tiles can cost as much as $20.00 per square foot.
Deciding on a shower door or curtain probably isn’t something you’ll lose sleep over, but it’s worth considering. While it’s mostly a matter of personal preference, there are advantages to each. Shower doors have clean lines. However, in a shower/tub they reduce your access by 50%. Curtains make for a cozy look and work well in small spaces, but after a while, even the best-maintained ones can start to look worn and in need of replacement.
Doors come in two basic types: framed and frameless. Frames are made of a lightweight metal in a variety of finishes and slide on tracks. These tracks can collect water and need periodic cleaning. Frameless doors are easier to clean and give an open, modern look.
Some people with shower/tubs may feel that they are stuck with using a shower curtain, However, glass doors come in a variety of finishes that are sure to fit your tastes regardless of your bathroom decor:
Clear glass is smooth and transparent, allowing maximum light in.
Frosted glass offers great privacy and can have designs as well as colors.
Rain glass is textured on one side to look like raindrops. It affords privacy and hides water stains and fingerprints well.
Tinted glass comes in varying degrees of opaqueness and provides warmth to a bathroom’s color palette.
Hammered glass has indentations that look like hammered metal creating many kinds of visual effects as the light passes through.
Shower doors have varying costs depending on manufacturer, type, and finish. In general, however, a typical sliding glass shower door can cost from $100.00 to $300.00, with another $200.00 to $300.00 for installation. Higher end doors such as frameless corner shower doors can run as high as $5,000.00 installed.
Sometimes a shower just needs a little touching up to have a modern, luxurious look to it. Replacing the shower pan can give a great boost to your shower’s looks. A basic pan costs around $100.00, but you can also get pre-fabricated ones that look like tile or stone for $500.00 to $600.00.
Faucets and shower heads are another quick way to spruce things up. Prices can range from around $20.00 for new, updated showerhead with multiple settings to almost $300.00 for an eco-designed, height-adjustable fixture. Taps and bathtub spouts are equally variable in price depending on type and material.
Bathtubs can be replaced with spa-like models equipped with jets. Though the jets can be harder to clean, the luxury they afford is often worth the effort. They cost from around $800.00 to well over $10,000.00. Most people spend around $1,000.00 for the tub. Installation costs vary depending on the number of jets, bathroom location, etc.
Full-body showers are truly luxurious. In fact, they are where you stop taking a shower and start experiencing it. Multiple heads covering your whole body aren’t necessarily new, but they were once so incredibly expensive that only the very wealthy could afford them. Some units have color and/or aroma therapy, and some have systems that remember your settings. Some are easily attached to an existing shower and spray from one side, but others surround you with water. In price they can cost as low as $250.00 for an attachable shower panel to $4,000.00 for a fully-integrated electronic system.
One of the easiest ways to improve the quality of your shower without spending a fortune is to add customizable shelving for storage of things like soap, shampoo, etc. Many adjustable shelves are designed to fit into the corner on poles while others attach to the walls. They can be placed wherever you want at any height. They cost from $12.00 to $20.00 for a basic shower caddy, $70.00 for water-resistant teak, to around $100.00 for recessed shelving.
If you have a shower, you need a fan. The fan helps move the humid air through vents and out of your house, helping to prevent molds and mildew. If you are adding a new bath fan, it’s best to let a professional do it. It can cost about $200.00, but you know it will be done right.
Upgrading an existing fan is something that many people do DIY. You might replace your existing fan because it’s running too slowly. You can tell because the mold will start showing. If it’s noisy the bearings could be wearing out. You can buy a basic 100 cfm exhaust fan, good for most bathrooms, for $25.00 to $60.00. Some fans are integrated into lighting fixtures and cost around $110.00.
If you don’t feel comfortable working around electricity, a professional can do the job for around $85.00 to $125.00. It can be done a by a handyman as well as by a professional electrician.
A shower can be a convenient place for a quick clean-up, or it can be a luxury retreat. The choice depends on your tastes and your budget. Whichever way you go, a shower is a good investment for your home.