Home improvement projects can transform old abodes in miraculous ways. Flooring is one of the quickest ways to change to look of a room, and the bathroom is one of the cheaper rooms to work with. Due to their size, the cost of material is minimal compared to other areas of your home unless you plan on tiling the entire room from top to bottom. If you’re wondering the cost to tile a shower or bathroom, you’ve come to the right place.
What Type of Bathroom do you have?
While this may seem like an odd question for some, there is more than one type of bathroom. Classification of these rooms is loose and far from official, but here’s a quick breakdown behind each style.
A Master Bathroom is the main bathroom in your home, and it will have all the amnesties you’ve come to expect. That includes a toilet, tub or shower, sinks, and cabinets. These rooms vary by the size of your home but can run anywhere between 50 to over 200 sq. ft.
Whereas Master Bathrooms are typically reserved for the head of the household, a guest bathroom can be for the kids or a room that’s only put to use when company comes over – or someone is sick. Whereas most consumers spend up for their main bathroom, marble and other pricey products may not be the best choice for your spare bathroom. What’s included in these rooms varies, but sinks and toilets, closets and cabinets are common.
If you have a 3/4 bathroom, that means you have a shower or tub along with a sink and toilet whereas a 1/2 bath is usually a toilet and sink. Know what types of bathroom you’re dealing with can give you a rough idea of what to expect of cost as the smaller the room, the cheaper it will be to tile. Also consider the placement of vents, cabinets, and fixtures as some forms of tile are easier to cut and work with than others.
Remodeling or Renovation?
Are you just looking for bathroom floor tile or do you want a mosaic in your shower wall? There are a lot of ways you can go in the bathroom, but it all comes down to the floors, walls and shower stall.
This is where the current condition of your bathroom comes into play along with the type of tile you plan to use. If you have a fiberglass shower stall and want to tile your shower wall, you’ve obviously got a problem on your hands. While it’s nothing a little demo work can’t fix, it could turn into full renovation if other parts of your bathroom are affected.
Extra Cost for Special Situations
Demo work can be costly, messy, and put you out of your home in some cases. While you can shut off the water to bathrooms if needed without affecting the entire house, you’ll still need access to another bathroom with a shower until the job is complete. A neighbor or family member could help you out in that regard, but you may also have to rent a room if you have allergy issues or heavy demo work is involved.
The cost for “special situations” varies greatly depending on the issues at hand. If it’s a fiberglass shower stall that needs to come out, you’re probably looking at a $200 - $800 job. If they find rotten studs behind the wall, those will need to be replaced as well. While the cost of a 2” x 4” is low, contractors work by the hour or job, and they’ll have to remove sheetrock to get to those studs.
Mold is another thing that qualifies as a special situation, and something you’ve probably seen in your bathroom before. While you can quickly wipe away a bit of mold or mildew in a shower stall, what’s behind the walls can have a major impact on the price of your project – and your health.
Removing or testing for mold is something your tile contractor isn’t going to do and can be quite expensive. There are kits that let you check the air quality from home, but you can expect to pay around $1,200 - $3,200 for mold removal which could be more than the overall cost of your tile project.
The Cost of Tile
The cost of the tile itself for your shower or bathroom is going to be the main expense. Contractors aren’t exactly cheap, but the material you use can run anywhere between $0.80 to well over $20 per tile. It’s often sold by the box and priced by the square foot with sizes ranging from 4” squares to larger format tiles in the 24” x 12” range.
The chart below will give you an idea of what to expect from certain styles and types of tile. While there are other options available, we found these to be the most common materials used in bathrooms by homeowners today. Keep in mind, what’s used in the wall, isn’t always a good idea for the floor and the price below is just for material, not labor or any extras.
Price per sq. ft.
7” x 20”
Montagna Rustic Bay
6” x 24”
6” x 6”
$1.56 (per tile)
12” x 12”
12” x 24”
16” x 16”
Hudson Penny Round
12” x 12 5/8”
9” x 38”
Peel & Stick Vinyl
Light Grey Slate
18” x 18”
Winter Frost Chevron
12” x 12” x 9”
The Cost to Tile a Shower
The cost to tile a shower or bathroom is different even though showers are installed inside of bathrooms. As it’s only “part” of the room, tiling a shower is usually less expensive – large Roman showers aside.
If you plan to install shower tile yourself, set aside some time and make sure you have somewhere else to clean up. It’s unlikely you’ll finish within a day without help or experience. The cost lies in the material, but you still need to purchase thin-set mortar, spacers, and grout.
You’ll also need tools like a trowel and tile cutter along with buckets and sponges when using porcelain, ceramic, or stone in your stall. Vinyl tiles and linoleum are not an option for obvious reasons. Other things that can raise the cost include backer board if needed and new fixtures, which is something most people pick up when redoing their shower.
On average, you’ll spend around $5 - $15 for each bag of thin-set and grout has a comparable price. Sponges and buckets are cheap as are manual tile cutters, but a wet saw is something you’ll want to rent for a one-time job. After figuring out your square footage and pricing your tile, expect to add $100 - $200 for additional materials and tools.
Bathroom Tile Installation Cost
If you want to tile your bathroom, the same rules apply, but the price will vary wildly as you can use more materials in the walls and floor of your bathroom than you can in the shower. That opens up the new possibilities in the style department as well but may also open the door to a few new headaches if you plan on handling things yourself.
Tile in the main area of your bathroom is found in the same locations, but as you can use laminates, vinyl, linoleum or engineered wood (if you’re brave), you have to consider two things. That would be seams and sealants as tile has seams by design and many materials may need to be sealed – especially if they are porous.
Depending on the size of your bathroom, the area you want to tile and the type of tile, those additional costs can range from $40 for a razor knife and some caulk to well over $1000 if you need to replace wall or floorboards.
Shower Tile Installed by a Contractor
When you’re dealing with water and flooring, sometimes it’s better to call in a professional. Bathrooms are damp places, and there are three things that can leak with the toilet, shower, and sink. As mentioned, you can also run into a variety of issues beneath your current flooring or wallboard, something a contractor can handle with ease.
Contractor pricing for a shower installation can be priced one of two ways; by the job or by the hour. You still have to factor in the cost of material which could come at a discount or actually cost more depending on the contractor. With labor and supplies, the cost to professionally install tile in a shower is around $7.00 to $20.00 per square foot if they don’t run into anything too unusual along the way.
Again, things aren’t much different if you are installing tile outside of the shower aside from the price. There’s more square footage to cover overall, but walls tend to be more expensive as they will have to install tile on two of them compared to only one section of flooring.
While it’s difficult to give an accurate estimate due to the variations involved, our pricing tool will let you know what to expect from contractors in your area.
Potential Problems you may Neglect
Try to consider any issues you could potentially run into ahead of time when planning to tile your bathroom or shower so you can be prepared. If you’re expecting to spend $1000 on your project, go ahead and set aside an extra $500 in case you run into any of these common problems.
Have you ever tried to install tile over sheet vinyl? Well, it doesn’t like to stick, so you’ll need to spend time roughing up the surface beforehand or rip it up.
That adds time to the job, which means more money if it’s a contractor or potentially an extra day off work if you’re going the DIY route. The type of surfaces you have in your bathroom can have a major impact on your project overall, as does the age of your home.
Older homes tend to have old fixtures which can leak behind the wall. While some will outlast modern homes by decades, that isn’t always the case. Houses settle over time, and plumbing leaks, so you could have a problem waiting to happen if you have antique pipes running through your house. It pays to know the condition of the pipes behind your walls as a bad leak can ruin your new bathroom tile in under an hour.
As for the floor, we’re not going to spend much time here as you’ll know if it’s buckled or damaged. If it needs to be removed, you can encounter the same issues you find in the walls with bad board or mold, but as floorboards carry weight, they have to be sound. That’s generally not an issue, but something to keep in mind if you’re planning on installing heavy stone in your bathroom.
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There are many reasons why tile is a great choice for bathrooms, and installing tile in a shower or bathroom will vastly change the entire look and feel of the room. Regardless of whether you plan to install tile yourself or call in a pro, keep safety in mind when choosing flooring and be sure to check out our guide on the best tiles for bathrooms if you haven’t settled on a style.