What Is The Actual Cost Of A Walk-in Shower?

When considering a bathroom renovation, one of the most common questions homeowners ask is, "What is the actual cost of a walk-in shower?" 

The actual cost of a walk-in shower varies widely, typically ranging from $10,000 to $20,000. Prices depend on size, materials, design, labor, and additional features, with the average cost falling between $12,000 to $15,000 for most installations.

This article aims to provide an in-depth look into these costs, offering insights from Shower remodel specialist  and first-hand accounts to help you understand the full financial scope of adding a walk-in shower to your home.

Factors Affecting Walk-In Shower Cost

  • Size: Larger showers require more materials and labor, increasing costs.

  • Materials: Prices vary significantly between basic fiberglass units and high-end natural stones or custom tiles.

  • Design and Customization: Custom designs with intricate details or added features like benches or niches add to the cost.

  • Labor: Professional installation costs can fluctuate based on expertise, region, and project complexity.

  • Plumbing Modifications: Any changes to existing plumbing lines or the addition of new fixtures can raise expenses.

  • Demolition and Preparation: Removing old fixtures and preparing the space for installation can involve significant labor and disposal costs.

  • Waterproofing and Ventilation: Proper waterproofing and ventilation are crucial and require additional materials and labor.

  • Accessibility Features: Adding elements like grab bars or a barrier-free design for accessibility can increase costs.

  • Permits and Regulations: Local building codes may require permits, especially for significant renovations, affecting the budget.

  • Additional Features: Luxuries such as heated floors, digital controls, or multiple showerheads will significantly increase the price.

  • Design Complexity: More intricate designs and custom features require more labor and expertise, increasing the cost.

  • Location: Labor costs can vary significantly by region, affecting the overall price of the project.

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Walk-In Shower Cost by Size

The cost of a walk-in shower can vary significantly based on its size. Generally, larger showers require more materials and labor, leading to higher costs. 

Below is a breakdown of walk-in shower costs by size, offering a rough estimate for each. Keep in mind, these estimates include materials and labor but can vary depending on the specific factors discussed previously, such as materials chosen, design complexity, and regional labor rates.

Small (Up to 32” x 32”)

  • Cost Range: $4,000 to $8,000

  • A small walk-in shower typically fits into the space of a standard bathtub. Costs at this size are usually for prefabricated kits or basic tile work. It's a practical option for tight spaces or secondary bathrooms.

Medium (48” x 36”)

  • Cost Range: $5,000 to $10,000

  • Medium-sized showers provide more room for movement and can accommodate some customization options, like a bench or high-quality tiles, without significantly driving up the cost.

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Large (Over 60” x 36”)

  • Cost Range: $8,000 to $12,000

  • Large walk-in showers often feature custom designs, high-end materials, and additional fixtures such as dual showerheads or built-in niches. These showers can serve as luxurious centerpieces for a spacious bathroom.

Custom Sizes and Luxury Showers

  • Cost Range: $10,000 to $20,000+

  • Custom or luxury walk-in showers with premium materials (natural stone, high-end tiles), elaborate designs, multiple showerheads, and additional amenities like steam generators or integrated sound systems can significantly exceed average costs.

Additional Considerations

  • Design Complexity: Simple designs with basic tile patterns are more affordable, whereas intricate patterns or custom glass doors increase costs.

  • Material Choices: The selection of materials can dramatically affect the price. Prefabricated units are usually cheaper than tiled showers, and the type of tile (ceramic vs. natural stone) can also impact the total cost.

  • Labor Rates: Labor costs can vary widely based on geographical location and the skill level of the contractors. Urban areas typically have higher labor rates than rural areas.

  • Additional Features: Features like heated floors, accessibility options (zero-threshold entry, grab bars), and high-tech shower systems (digital controls, LED lighting) will increase the cost.

  • Preparation Work: Costs for demolition, structural adjustments, and waterproofing need to be factored into the overall budget. Extensive preparation work can significantly increase the project's cost.

When planning for a walk-in shower, getting detailed quotes from several contractors is advisable to understand all potential costs.

These estimates should break down the expenses for materials, labor, and any additional features you're considering, providing a comprehensive view of your project's budget.

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Walk-In Shower Cost by Type

The cost of installing a walk-in shower can also vary significantly depending on the type of shower you choose. 

Each type comes with its own set of materials, design considerations, and installation complexities, which can affect the overall price. 

Here's a look at the cost by type of walk-in shower:

1. Prefabricated Units

  • Cost Range: $8,000 to $10,000

  • Prefabricated or pre-built walk-in showers are manufactured in single or multiple pieces that are assembled on-site. These units are typically made from acrylic or fiberglass and are the most cost-effective option. The lower price range reflects basic models, while higher-end versions may offer more features or larger sizes.

2. Tiled Showers

  • Cost Range: $8,000 to $15,000+

  • Tiled walk-in showers allow for a high degree of customization in terms of size, shape, and materials. Costs can vary widely based on the type of tile chosen (ceramic, porcelain, stone), the complexity of the design, and the need for waterproofing and custom glass doors. Tiled showers at the higher end of the price range often feature luxurious materials and intricate patterns.

3. Solid Surface

  • Cost Range: $8,000 to $15,000+

  • Solid surface showers are made from a homogenous material that offers a seamless look and is available in a variety of colors and patterns. These showers are easier to clean and maintain than tiled showers and can mimic the look of more expensive materials at a lower cost. The price varies based on the brand, design, and installation requirements.

4. Custom Glass Enclosures

  • Cost Range: $1,000 to $4,000 (for the enclosure alone)

  • Custom glass enclosures are often a component of tiled or solid surface showers and can significantly impact the overall cost of the project. Frameless glass enclosures are at the higher end of the price spectrum due to the thicker glass required and the precision needed for installation. The cost depends on the size, type of glass, and hardware options.

5. Barrier-Free Showers

  • Cost Range: this spect adds $1,500 - $3,000 to initial cost

  • Barrier-free or zero-threshold showers are designed for accessibility, eliminating the step into the shower to accommodate wheelchairs or individuals with mobility issues. These showers may require additional floor preparation to create a gentle slope towards the drain, along with waterproofing and possibly larger dimensions, all of which contribute to a higher cost.

6. Luxury Showers

  • Cost Range: $12,000 to $20,000+

  • Luxury walk-in showers encompass a wide range of high-end features, including multiple showerheads, steam functions, digital controls, and custom lighting. These showers are custom-designed and often feature premium materials and elaborate tile work. The cost reflects both the materials and the complexity of the installation.

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How to Set a Budget for a Walk-in Shower

To set a budget for a walk-in shower, follow these steps:

  • Research Costs: Start by understanding the average costs for materials, labor, and any additional features you're considering. This gives you a baseline for what to expect.

  • Define Your Needs and Wants: Distinguish between what you need (basic features) and what you want (luxury upgrades). This helps prioritize spending.

  • Get Multiple Quotes: Contact several contractors for detailed quotes. This will provide a clearer picture of the project's potential cost.

  • Include a Contingency Fund: Set aside an extra 10-20% of your budget for unexpected expenses. Renovation projects often encounter unforeseen costs.

  • Prioritize: Based on your research and quotes, decide where to splurge and where to save. Prioritize spending on structural and functional aspects over aesthetic upgrades if necessary.

  • Consider Financing Options: If your dream project exceeds cash on hand, look into financing options like loans or payment plans offered by contractors.

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FAQ On The Cost Of A Walk-in Shower

What are the hidden costs?

Hidden costs in walk-in shower installations can include unexpected plumbing work, waterproofing, and the need for additional fixtures or features not initially planned for.

How long does installation take?

The installation time for a walk-in shower can vary from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the complexity of the project and whether you opt for a custom design or a prefabricated unit.

Can I install a walk-in shower myself?

While it is possible to install a walk-in shower as a DIY project, it requires a good level of skill in plumbing, tiling, and general construction. Consider your experience and the time you can dedicate to the project before deciding.

How can I reduce the cost?

Reducing the cost of a walk-in shower can involve choosing more affordable materials, doing some of the work yourself, or simplifying the design to minimize labor and material expenses.

What are the benefits of a walk-in shower?

The benefits of a walk-in shower include enhanced accessibility, a modern and spacious look, increased home value, and the potential for a more luxurious showering experience.

Cost of Setting Up A Walk-in Shower

The cost of setting up a walk-in shower in your home can vary widely based on a range of factors, from the choice of materials and design to labor costs and additional features. 

By understanding these factors and carefully planning and budgeting for your project, you can create a functional, beautiful, and value-adding feature in your home

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About the author

Hi my name is Jeremy Maher. My wife, 2 kids and I went through Contractor Nightmares for 3 years straight.

Ben, Mark, and I teamed up to start Phoenix Home Remodeling to help homeowners remodel without the common contractor nightmares.

Learn more about Jeremy's expertise and topics he likes to write about on his author page.