The Cost to Retile a Shower
Over time, existing shower tile can get damaged and dirty. Mold, mildew, soap scum and other unwanted growths could accumulate on existing shower tiles and be difficult to remove. If all that residue seems impossible to remove, consider retiling your shower. Shower retiling is often the best or only way to get the shower looking like new again. While the cost to retile a shower is more than expected and the time to complete can be days, most homeowners agree that it’s a worthwhile investment.
Cost To Retile Shower
Reported cost of shower retiling per 100 square feet:
Average - $1,250
Minimum - $1,100
Maximum - $1,500
Homeowners should keep in mind that not all contractors will include labor costs with their written estimates. If this is the case, then homeowners can usually expect to spend about $600 to $800 in labor alone. After all, the retiling process is very time consuming. It’s actually not uncommon for homeowners to spend more on the labor and installation than on the materials themselves. Furthermore, contractors may offer to dispense of the existing tile at an additional cost, usually around $20 to $40. Homeowners looking to save money, however, can do this part themselves if so desired.
The best way to save on shower retiling is to not only shop around for the best labor costs, but to also buy the materials oneself. This way, homeowners can make sure you get the best possible price for the particular type of tile you want.
Retiling A Shower Cost Factors
The costs above are a good starting point, but as our loyal readers know, there are a myriad of factors that can increase or decrease the final cost to retile your shower. Some are obvious and some, you may never thought of. Either way, review the following list before any shower retiling project.
There are hundreds of different tiles to choose from and each come in with different price points. While variety is always welcomed when it comes to design, it can make things more difficult when it comes to pricing. In fact, we have seen tile prices as low as $0.50 per square foot or as high as $84 per square foot. We will get into specifics later on, but the following is a brief list of some of the most common types of tile and their costs:
Ceramic or Porcelain: $0.50 - $15 per square foot
Travertine: $2 - $3 per square foot
Slate: $3 - $4 per square foot
Granite: $3 - $7 per square foot
Limestone: $5 per square foot
Marble: $8 per square foot
Before you buy any tile, make sure you know exactly how much to buy.
The labor cost will largely depend on whom you hire and how large your shower is. Half of that $600 to $800 in labor cost goes towards removing the old tile. Just like adding new tile, it’s a time-consuming project. In fact, you oftentimes have to remove one tile at a time. As you can see, the larger the shower, the more intense this project gets. To get a better glimpse of the tile removal process, please watch the video below.
The larger the shower, the more expensive your shower tiling cost will be. Like we said, for removal and addition, you oftentimes have to work with one tile at a time. This may not be a big deal for larger tiles, but for those working with 3X5 tiles, it can feel like eternity. In addition, larger showers mean more materials as well. Hopefully, your spacious shower is work the extra money.
The complexity of your chosen design will also play a role in your shower retiling cost. Most contractors charge more for diagonal designs because, you guessed it, they’re harder to install. In fact, ceramic tile with a diagonal design could cost more than a standard design with travertine tile.
When you’re interviewing potential bathroom remodeling contractors, make sure you go over all design options. There should be no surprises once you sign on that dotted line.
Once the project is completed, you’ll have to regrout your shower tile. Again, this is a DIY project many homeowners can handle, but is nonetheless, time consuming and labor intensive. In addition, the material itself is not cheap. According to our regrouting material estimator, prices range from $10 to $25 per square foot (no installation).
Once the tile has been removed, your contractor should inspect the waterproofing membrane. This is your safety net between your shower and your boards/insulation. It can never get wet. Of course, if your waterproofing membrane needs some work, expect to pay extra for your shower retile project.
Why Retile Your Shower
Homeowners who plan on listing their homes for sale in the near future should think about retiling. Studies have shown that the bathroom and kitchen are the two most important rooms of the house among potential buyers. You can bet they will spend more time in your kitchen and bathrooms than any other rooms. Therefore, if either is outdated or dirty, buyers are more likely to be turned off. On the other hand, a home with an updated kitchen or bathroom is more likely to become a top contender for a potential buyer, even if other areas of the home may be lacking. Therefore, homeowners with damaged or dirty shower tile can certainly benefit from a retiling job.
Furthermore, even if you don’t plan on selling soon, everyone enjoys a fresh shower. In the shower, you are cleansing yourself so it only makes sense that the actual shower is clean of residue and other ugly brown spots. Additionally, other than a full bathroom remodel, few bathroom projects can transform your watering hole more for less money. As such, shower retiling is in fact one of the most common bathroom remodeling projects.
In the materials section above, you saw the average prices for the most common shower tiles. However, price is not the only determining factor. Whether it’s touch, design or color, there are other imperative factors you must consider for each tile type.
Ceramic or Porcelain: $0.50 - $15 Per Square Foot
Ceramic and porcelain tiles are the most popular shower tile types. They’re not only beautiful, versatile and sturdy, but as you can see by the price, are two of the most affordable options on the market. The range of prices, styles, colors and patterns is unmatched by almost any other flooring type. Once it’s laid in its pattern, the tiles’ design possibilities can be taken even further.
Travertine: $2 - $3 Per Square Foot
Typically used for bathroom or kitchen floors, travertine tile is one of the most durable options on the market. It's very easy to care for and is relatively low maintenance. There's no need to seal it or otherwise protect it, but you can add a sealant if desired.
Please note that the price above assumes you’re purchasing natural travertine.
Travertine that's polished, brushed for an aged appearance, honed or tumbled for a rough appearance can cost significantly more. These types of travertine generally cost between $15 and $30 per square foot.
Slate: $3 - $4 Per Square Foot
Another popular stone used in the bathroom is slate. Like travertine, slate comes in a wide array of colors. In fact, it is produced all over the world so one shade of black could range from light to very dark black. Slate is also a brittle rock, making the surfaces of cleft slate tile rough and uneven. Therefore, if you’re looking for a rustic appearance in your shower, slate could be the perfect choice.
Granite: $3 - $7 Per Square Foot
A very popular kitchen or bathroom countertop material has hit the shower bug in granite. Since 2010, granite has gained momentum across the home. Granite is pretty, unique, durable and versatile. In fact, it can be used for counters, floors and showers. Furthermore, many potential buyers associate granite with an updated home. While that assumption can be dangerous, it’s an assumption you nonetheless have to consider.
Just beware that granite can get slippery when wet. In addition to more maintenance than other materials, wet surfaces are not ideal in the bathroom.
Limestone: $5 Per Square Foot
If you’re willing to spend a little extra, limestone is terrific shower tile choice. Unlike ceramic tile, natural limestone can give any bathroom a soft and elegant look. Furthermore, if you prefer wood, limestone should be high on your list. Limestone has the added benefit of forming striations, which causes it to look similar to wood. Finally, limestone works great in warmer climates and is an eco-friendly option, unlike many of the other materials discussed.
Marble: $8 Per Square Foot
If cost is no issue, you wont find a more eye-catching or lavish material than marble.
Marble tiles can take on high shine and polish, which make the colors easy to admire. This high shine makes marble nearly translucent, reflecting light and making a small space seem larger. Therefore, if you have a small bathroom, marble could be ideal to make it appear larger than it really is.
Advantages Of Retiling A Shower
As already stated throughout this cost guide, there are plenty of advantages to retiling your shower. Whether it’s updating an outdated shower, sweetening the design of one of the most important rooms in the home or you’re just tired of your old shower look, retiling your shower provides a handful of benefits.
Other shower retile advantages not previously discusses include:
New tile is easier to maintain
You can DIY
Provides a new color palette
Relatively cheap if you go with ceramic or porcelain
Disadvantages Of Retiling A Shower
Of course, any remodeling project comes with a few downfalls as well. In terms of retiling a shower, the biggest drawback is the time investment. As previously stated, this is not a quick project. Whether you’re removing your old shower tile or adding in your new shower tile, you most likely have to do so one by one. Some tiles do come in sheets, but more often than not, they do not. Therefore, if you plan on making this a DIY project, expect to spend at least a few days completing the job.
Other than time, cost is another disadvantage. While some homeowners forgo hiring a bathroom contractor, others bite the bullet and pay for professional labor. Since the job is labor-intensive, pros tend to charge more than the average project. As such, depending on the size of your shower, as well as the other options mentioned above, the overall cost could exceed a $1,200.
How To Retile A Shower
Those of you looking to get their hands dirty can forgo that high labor cost and tile your shower yourself. In fact, the process of retiling a bathroom is actually quite straightforward. The contractor will most likely start by using a chisel to get rid of existing tile. It will have to be chipped away a little bit at a time, which can be time consuming because it needs to be done carefully so as not to damage the drywall underneath.
Once the existing tile is chipped away, the surface will need to be smoothed out to make way for the new tile and grout. This step is especially important because if the surface is not level and smooth, the new tile job will be uneven and will likely not last as long. A contractor will likely use a sander to smooth out the surface as needed. Once that is done, he or she will apply grout to the surface and begin laying each tile one at a time, being careful to ensure that the tiles are properly spaced out.
How To Add Shower Grout
Grout plays a huge role in your shower’s overall appearance. It is the material that locks tiles together and keeps moisture from penetrating your expensive tile. It is used throughout the house, but mainly in the bathroom, all over your shower and tile floors. Over time, grout too can get dirty. Therefore, when you retile your shower, you will have to replace your grout as well.
To do so, follow the steps below:
Put on goggles, dusk mask and rubber gloves
Cover tub and shower with masking paper
Turn on bathroom fan
Use grout remover (can buy electric) and place blade directly on grout
In one swift motion, go across the grout multiple times
Start in the middle of the shower and complete vertical lines first
Clean your entire shower
Mix your grout (if required) with water or grout enhancer
Place chunk of grout on grout float or spreader
Apply onto shower at a 45-degree angle
Cover entire surface and work at a steady pace
Once all grout is added, clean with a wet sponge
Let rest for 30 minutes
Use your grout saw to give it an even appearance
To see how the pros do it, please watch the video below.
Find A Pro
As you can see, the cost to retile a shower can vary, largely depending on your materials and whether or not you hire a pro. All in all, plan on spending at least $1,000 if your hire a bathroom contractor. If not, plan on spending less, but taking a few days to complete.