The national average cost to tile a shower is between $547 - $1,901 depending its size. Typically, tiling a shower costs about $25 per square foot. For a standard tub that needs six to eight feet of tile, you would spend $2,000. That's because your standard combination bathtub and shower is about 60 inches long and 30 or 32 inches wide. If your tub is bigger than standard — or (assuming you're adding wall tiles), your walls are particularly tall — you'll spend slightly more on both your tiles and installation.
While installing new tiles in your shower is no small task, it's often a key part of remodeling a bathroom. Changing shower or bathtub tile has the power to transform your bathroom's entire look and feel.
Before you hire a tile installer to help, get an estimate on how much your tiling job will cost.
What's in this cost guide?
- Tile installation costs per square foot
- Installation cost factors
- How long it takes
- Tips for hiring a pro
What you can expect to spend on a tiling a shower will mostly depend on the square footage of the shower you need tiled. You'll need to account for wall tiles and flooring, if you have a shower with no tub. Below is a breakdown of the national average cost to tile a shower by square foot:
- 0–25 square feet: $547
- 26–50 square feet: $989
- 51–100 square feet: $1,140
- 101–200 square feet: $1,503
- 201-300 square feet: $1,503
- 301–400 square feet: $1,901
The size of your shower isn't the only impact on cost for this common remodeling project. The type of tile you choose, whether you need to remove old tile and any extra features you ask for will all factor into the cost of your tile installation.
Beyond pure labor costs, the biggest factor in your cost to install shower tile during your bathroom remodeling is tile material. Some tiles, like a standard subway tile are inexpensive, and some, like high-quality stone, porcelain or ceramic tiles will cost more.
Even so, most homeowners will opt for a glazed ceramic or porcelain tile for their shower, bathroom or bathtub tile since they are less slippery than other types of tile. Cement is also a good option for tile flooring since it's not slippery.
While less of a concern for your shower walls, you definitely want a slip-resistant tile for your flooring. A moisture-resistant tile is a good necessary for all tile you use in your bathroom. Your contractor can help you decide the best tile for your bathroom.
Tile price cheat sheet
Trying to figure out if a ceramic tile will cost you less than a porcelain one can be overwhelming. Below is a rundown of different types of tiles commonly used in showers, bathrooms and around bathtubs, and what you can expect them to cost.
Price per square foot
- Affordable and easy to install
- Dent, scratch and stain-resistant
- Huge selection of colors, shapes, and sizes
- Grout can be prone to discoloration
$2 to $8
- Resists water better than other tile
- Great for bathrooms
- Naturally stain and slip resistant
- Functional look (pro for some, con for others)
- Rough texture
$8 to $13
- Economical; gives you the look of more expensive tiles at half the price
- Strong and dense
- Long lasting and easy to clean, even in a bathroom
- Can be difficult to repair if it chips
$3 to $10
Natural stone tile
- Unique look but very expensive
- Boosts home resale value
- Durable, but not as strong as ceramic tile
- Prone to scratches and chips
- Requires annual sealing
$5 to $15
- Environmentally friendly and trendy
- Not slippery, even when wet
- Expensive (for the quality)
- Highly prone to staining and difficult to install
- Porous, and will have to be sealed after installing
$2 to $10
If your contractor purchases the tile for you, ask them about discounts: There's a good chance they can order tile at wholesale prices, and save you money on your total cost.
If you want to buy the tiles yourself, that's okay! Before you do, talk to your contractor about how much to buy for installation. You'll probably want to account for at least 10 percent overage. Some designs may require buying additional, special tiles, like bullnose tiles. Bullnose tiles are rounded and often needed for trim.
You may have seen fancy mosaic tile patterns on Pinterest that transform a boring back wall into a statement. But make sure your bank account can account for the additional cost before approving a complicated tile installation on your bathroom walls. Laying tile in any design besides a plain grid will cost you extra.
Remember: Your tile installer will need to cut whole tile and pay extreme attention to precision to make sure your design comes out perfectly. If your upgraded design includes luxury tiles — even just a few — that will cost more, too.
Unless you're starting with a brand-new, just-drywalled bathroom, your pro will need to do some tile removal before you can start installation. This is the case for most homeowners undergoing a bathroom remodel and re-tiling an existing space.
The demolition will involve:
- Removing the existing tile from walls, ceiling and floors with a utility knife, or by hammering a putty knife around the grout lines.
- Pulling down your acrylic or fiberglass tub surround (a surround is a surface material that protects the area just above your tub).
If you plan to keep your current tub, or want to replace it and sell the old one, your pro should lay down a protective sheet to make sure none of the broken tiles fall and chip or damage your bathtub. After all, you don't want to add "get new tub liner" to your list of remodeling projects.
If your home is older, there may be additional complications. While most contractors factor this into the per-square-foot price, you may wind up paying extra if it ends up taking longer, and they need to account for additional labor costs.
You can't just stick tiles on drywall and hope for the best. (Sorry!) Installing new tile in a bathroom is a little more complicated than that.
To prepare the surface of your walls, ceiling and floors, your tile contractors will need to install a backer board (made of cement), waterproofing and a membrane to prevent cracks. If the areas to be tiled are smooth and even, it will cost less for the installation job. An older, crooked home may pose complications and increase your cost. The cost of these materials:
- Cement backer board: $10 per board
- Redgard membrane: $50
- Thin-set and grout: $50
If wall tile must be installed 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 condition. Repairs and surface preparation will add to the time and labor costs.
Installing tiling and a new tub (or just getting a bathtub refinishing) at the same time might be a good money- and time-saver.
Once the wall and floors are prepared to be tiled, your contractor will then start installation. They will do this by spreading a thin layer of thinset on the wall, then scraping off any excess with a trowel. They'll then press the tile into the mortar and use spacers to hold them in place. Then, they'll repeat until all of the shower tile is installed.
They will lay full tiles on the walls and floors but they may also have to cut tile to fit odd areas, like a small space above the edge of the tub or corners.
They will also add a new surround at this time.
New tiles aren't the only materials you'll need to account for in your overall budget. Once your tiles are installed, you'll need to regrout your shower.
To complete this step, you'll need to buy thinset mortar and grout. Grout comes in a number of different colors, and different tile sizes will need different amounts of grout — which could increase your costs.
If you want to install an inset (also called a niche), a built-in soap holder, or any other additional feature, expect your tile job to cost more. Add-ons will increase the price.
It will take most professionals about one to two days to install shower tile in your bathroom. After the final installation, you'll have to let the mortar dry for at least 24 hours, and won't be able to use your shower or bathtub during this time.
Before you decide on a local pro to help with your project, make sure you do the following:
Make sure your contractor is licensed. Any contractor or subcontractor who works on your house should be bonded, licensed, and insured properly according to state and local standards. Insurance can help protect you if your home gets damaged during construction or workers are hurt on site. Hiring a bonded contractor can help protect you if the contractor fails to pay workers, doesn't pay for permits, or doesn't finish the work.
Ask if your contractor is willing to pull a permit. Granted, not all towns and municipalities require a permit for tiling jobs, but if yours does, you'll want to make sure things are done properly. Otherwise, you may end up in trouble when you try to sell.
Ask about packages. If you're remodeling your entire bathroom, you can also ask about packages. Some contractors may be able to complete multiple jobs, like tiling, refinishing bathtubs or updating plumbing at the same time and for a lower rate.