Professional tilers can take care of shower stalls or tub surrounds quickly and efficiently. Some contractors prefer to take on larger jobs only, but smaller companies are usually happy to take on a shower tiling project if they can work it in between existing projects. Costs depend on the geographic area and the size of the project, but most tilers charge about $25 per square foot of tiled area. A standard tub and shower combo typically needs tiles for about 60 inches of length by however tall the walls are and 30 inches or 32 inches of tub width for the walls at the head and foot of the tub. So for a tile job that is 6 feet to 8 feet high, in this example, the tile installation costs would run about $2,000.
Tile costs vary widely based on what they are made of, size, shape, pattern, manufacturer and where they are made. Grout type (sanded or smooth) and color also can affect the cost. After the tiling, most contractors also seal the tile—especially if it is made of natural materials—and grout, which discourages mold growth. Most contractors can help clients choose the best tile for their situation and budget.
Some contractors specialize in tile work, which means they will have the necessary expertise and special equipment. They may even be able to order tile at wholesale prices.
Licensing and insurance
Hiring a tiling contractor who is licensed and has insurance is the smart way to go. Tile specialists have experience with different tile materials and designs and are best equipped to offer advice on what kind of tile to use.
Designs patterns other than a horizontal grid generally will cost extra for the additional time the installer will need to make cuts and lay the tile precisely to adhere to the chosen pattern. Custom designs may also incur additional costs in materials.
When buying the tile themselves, clients should get input from their contractor on how much to buy. (It’s also a good idea to find out if unused tile can be returned.) Depending on the tile design, additional tiles, such as bullnose caps that wrap about the edges of flat surfaces, may be needed beyond standard flat tiles.
If a shower is already tiled or is covered with a plastic or fiberglass surround, most contractors factor in the cost of removing and hauling away the old materials into the overall project fee.
In a shower and tub surround, contractors generally install cement backer board and a waterproofing and crack-prevention membrane. If the areas to be tiled are smooth and even, it will cost less for the installation job. If tile must be added adjacent to the floor, such as when there is a tiled lip on a step-in shower, most contractors will want to make sure the surrounding floor is in good shape. Repairs and surface preparation will add to the time and labor costs.
A number of extra features will add to the overall costs. These add-ons include insets or niches, soap holders or other built-in fixtures, and other extras such as borders or focal pieces made of tile mosaic or contrasting tile.