· ·

The True Cost of a Walk-In Shower | Budgeting for Your Bathroom Remodel

walk-in shower in blue tiled floor and white subway tiled walls

We’re reader-supported. This means when you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

A walk-in shower is trendy and stylish, but it is also the most practical shower to have in your bathroom, as it can fit into almost any space with very little fuss. If you are wondering if you can afford a walk-in shower, read on.

Walk-In Shower Costs: An Overview

Walk-in shower in small bathroom. Shower has white tile walls and wood-like floor tiles.

A new walk-in shower installation might be more costly than remodeling an existing shower or bathtub, so let’s compare the prices involved.

New Installation vs Remodel/Prefabricated Kit

The table below lists the average total cost for either a new custom installation or a prefabricated shower kit:

ScaleNew InstallationRemodel/Prefabricated
Lowest costs$3,500.00$1000.00
Average costs$9,250.00$4,500.00
Highest costs$15,000.00$14,000.00

(Sources 1, 2, 3 )

Cost for New Installation

Plumber installing a shower cabin in bathroom.

A new shower installation is quite pricey, with many costs involved, from permits and labor to hidden costs like rubble removal and plumbing.

On average, you’ll spend about 90% of your budget on materials and the remaining 10% on labor. But before you can start building a new structure, you’ll need to remove any existing fixtures.


You’ll also need to pay for demolition and possible removal of other bathroom fixtures before you get started on constructing your new walk-in shower. (Unless you’re doing the work yourself, expect to pay $1,500-$2,000 for demolition, clean up, and debris haul away of an existing bathtub.)


Expect to pay $600-$1,600 for rough-in plumbing for a new walk-in shower. However, this assumes that you’ll be keeping the existing wall that has the cold and hot water lines running through it, as well as the drainpipe.

If you’re building out a new bathroom space or want to move the existing plumbing wall while renovating your bathroom, you could be looking at thousands in additional costs.

When you relocate a bathroom fixture too far away from the original location, you’ll probably need to add more pipes behind the wall that connect the fixture to the drainpipe. (All wastewater from various bathroom fixtures is disposed of through the drainpipe.) This involves opening up the walls or floor. And that’s why it can get very expensive.

Moving a line (cold, hot, or drain) can cost $80-$200 per line. So the sink or shower would cost $240-$600 above in addition to the regular installation cost.

However, if the lines that you want to move are embedded inside concrete, then the price escalates to $500-$1,000. And these days, most drainpipes are embedded in the concrete foundation

Shower Remodel Costs

Most walk-in showers require the following basic items:

Shower floorNatural stone
Porcelain tile
Cultured marble
Ceramic tile
Glass tiles
Pebble tiles
Radiant floor heating
$5.00 – $110.00 per sq ft
$2.00 – $30.00 per sq ft
$2.00 – $17.00 per sq ft
$10.00 – $65.00 per sq ft
$0.50 – $15.00 per sq ft
$30.00 – $40.00 per sq ft
$84.75 – 5 sq ft (Amazon)
$6.00 – $20.00 per sq ft
Glass blocks
Glass tiles
Porcelain tiles
Ceramic tiles
$5.00-$35.00 per sq ft
$2.00 – $30.00 per sq ft
$20.00 – $55.00 per sq ft
$30.00 – $40.00 per sq ft
From $1.30 per sq ft
From $1,000.00
$300.00 – $600.00
Shower doorsGlass
Glass bricks
From $299.00
$20.00 – $55.00 per sq ft
Shower panABS Plastic
Solid Surface
Water-proof membrane
From $136.46
From $439.00
From $398.00
From $53.95108 sq ft roll
ShowerheadWall mount showerhead
Top mount showerhead
Sliding bar showerhead
Handheld showerhead
$1,949.00 (Aquaticausa)
$1,849.00 (Aquaticausa)
$297.57 (Amazon)
$320.00 (Aquaticausa)

*Use coupon code SHANA10 for 10% off Aquatica purchases
Plumbing and drainsContractor$600.00 – $1,600.00
LaborContractor$500.00 – $8,000.00
PermitsStructural changes
Additional fixtures
HVAC Installation or upgrade
Window replacement
$75.00 – $500.00
$75.00 – $500.00
$10.00 – $500.00
$250.00 – $400.00
$50.00 per window

Walk-in Shower Remodel

Drawing renovation of a luxury bathroom estate home shower

There are two possibilites when doing a walk-in shower remodel: you can buy a pre-made kit. This is the most affordable option. Or you can create a custom-designed shower nook for which you choose all materials for walls and floor yourself. This option is more expensive and time-consuming but allows you to achieve a unique decor.

 A Prefabricated Shower Unit

Prefab shower units are more budget-friendly and provide a quicker solution than a custom walk-in shower. Manufactured from acrylic or fiberglass, a prefabricated shower kit is easy to install, but it has limited styles, sizes, and designs.

This type of shower kit is for a full remodel and would require the removal of the existing shower or bathtub. The unit typically includes the following:

  • 2 or 3 solid wall panels or a one-piece shell
  • A shower pan
  • A shower door

A Prefabricated Shower Wall Kit

This type of shower wall kit is a great way to use your existing fixtures and still have a walk-in shower. These panels only have seams along the top of the tub or shower pan, making them easier to keep clean, and they don’t leak.

The only downside to pre-made panels is they are difficult to repair, and you would need to replace the entire panel if a crack appears. 

With this kit, wall panels are attached to the walls surrounding the tub to create a shower enclosure. The panels can be placed directly over the existing wallboards or tiles.

This kit includes the following:

  • Prefabricated wall panels.
  • Direct-to-stud units for attaching the panels to the wall.

What does a custom walk-in shower remodel cost?

Bathroom Remodel Permit – 2

The costs for a custom shower remodel will be the labor if you are not doing it yourself, plumbing, permits, shower inserts, and new fixtures.

Shower insertsFiberglass
Prefabricated plastic
Cultured marble
$400.00 – $2,000.00
$300.00 – $500.00
$800.00 – $3,000,00
Prefabricated shower kitsShower unit
Shower wall kit
From $811.79 (Amazon)
From $369.00 (Amazon)
Fixtures and fittingsShower heads
Shower pan
From $30.00
From $89.99 (Amazon)
Shower enclosureFloor
From $0.50 per sq ft
From $1.30 per sq ft
From $299.00
Plumbing and drainsContractor
$1000.00 – $8,000.00
From $750.00
PermitsStructural changes
Additional fixtures
HVAC Installation or upgrade
Window replacement
$75.00 – $500.00
$75.00 – $500.00
$10.00 – $500.00
$250.00 – $400.00
$50.00 per window

Cost to Waterproof Your Custom Shower

Are Bathroom Tiles Waterproof

A tile backer board is necessary to protect the substrate from water damage, while a waterproof membrane provides additional waterproofing protection to the area. 

Below are the costs of various backer board materials.

Hardiebacker– Can be installed over drywall
– Waterproof composition
– Moldblock technology protection
– HydroDefense technology offers moisture and damage protection
– Easy to cut, score, snap and install
– Compressive and flexural strength
– Has excellent tile adhesion properties
– Glass and fiber-free
– Lifetime warranty from the manufacturer covers labor and materials
– Generates little debris and dust when cut
– Boards available in different sizes and thickness
– Impact resistant

– Costly material
– Heavier and more brittle than gypsum
– Requires the purchase of cement board screws
– Requires an additional waterproofing sealant
3 x 5 feet





Available from Lowes
Kerdi– Fully waterproof and vapor-tight
– Does not require a surface waterproofing membrane
– Lightweight material
– Easy to cut
– Dust-free installation
– Ready made boards won’t deteriorate when exposed to moisture
– Reinforced with a fleece webbing material
– Requires additional waterproofing on seams and joints
– Thinset required to create a bond
– Wicking issues during the installation process
3 x 5 feet



Direct from supplier Schluter
Glasroc H– Reduced water absorption rate
– Prevents mold and structure damage
– A non-combustible product
– Lightweight material, easy to install
No reviews4 x 8 feet



Available from Rona

– Moisture resistant
– Prevents the growth of mold
– Stops water at the surface
– Lightweight material, easy to install
– Does not require an additional moisture barrier
– Easy to cut using a utility knife
– Can be installed using regular rust-resistant drywall screws
– 20-year limited manufacturers warranty
No reviews4 x 8 feet

¼ inch


Available from Home Depot
PermaBase– Greenguard certified
– Designed to withstand prolonged exposure to water
– Waterproof foam core
– Mold and mildew resistant
– Impact-resistant
– Lightweight and durable
– Easy to cut
– Quick installation
– 30-year limited warranty from the manufacturer
– Requires additional waterproofing on joints and seams
– Material is not recyclable or biodegradable
3 x 5 feet



Available from Lowes

For more, read our post on how to waterproof your substrate to protect your bathroom from mold, mildew, and wood rot.

Custom Tile Shower

bathroom with glass shower tile

If you’re installing a custom tile shower, you’ll want to be sure to waterproof your walls first. Then add tile from floor to ceiling. When choosing floor tile, be sure to choose non-slip materials.

There are a huge range of tile materials, shapes and designs. The most affordable option is ceramic, which can start at $0.50-$20.00 per square foot.

Glass tiles can range from $5.00-$50.00 per square foot depending on tile size and design.

And you can find granite tile that ranges from $5.00-$140.00 per square foot.

Ceramic$0.50 – $20.00
Terracotta$1.00 – $6.00
Limestone$2.00 – $11.00
Travertine$3.00 – $15.00
Porcelain$3.00 – $25.00
Slate$4.00 – $15.00
Glass$5.00 – $50.00
Granite$5.00 – $140.00
Marble$8.00 – $85.00
Terrazzo$15.00 – $30.00
Onyx19.00 – $59.00
Quartz$36.00 – $75.00
Metal$50 – $200.00

Here is a designer’s guide to choosing bathroom tile for your shower nook.

Are permits necessary for a walk in shower remodel?

bathroom remodel blueprint

In the US, if you make structural changes to your home or move plumbing or electrical wiring, you will need a permit. Failure to obtain the correct permits could result in heavy fines, or you could be instructed to tear down your remodel, apply for the necessary permits, and start again!

Local Building Regulations

Local building regulations differ between states, so always check with your local zoning office and find out what your local regulations allow.

Changing the Plumbing System

If you make any changes to your plumbing systems, you’ll want to consult The International Building Codes (IBC) and ensure your structure complies with the code.

HOA Members

If you are a member of an HOA, check with them before you begin planning your outdoor shower, as some HOAs might not allow this project or might have stringent rules and regulations.

How to Save Big Money on a Walk-In Shower

If you know some pro tricks, you can save big on your walk-in shower remodel. Here are some tips:

DIY Some of the Labor

A subcontractor drills holes during a bathroom remodel

Since you’ll pay 10-20% on labor costs, see what you can do for yourself. Do you feel comfortable building a walk-in shower from the ground up? Oh no? Consider shoring up your DIY skills by taking a course with the Bathroom Repair Tutor. They offer a course on walk-in shower plumbing for beginners, and another in how to design, build and waterproof a curbed shower.

And even if you don’t want to DIY the whole project, you certainly can screw on fixtures and do some caulking on your own. Shaving off a bit here and there on installation costs can add up.

Use Engineered Quartz Instead of Tile

luxury bath with gorgeous bathroom tile

You might be able to find quartz remnants at a salvage shop like the Habitat for Humanity Restore. People often have leftover quartz from bathroom vanity countertop projects. You can use these slabs to line your shower walls.

This material is made from quartz powder mixed with resin and it’s completely nonporous, while giving a look of luxury like natural stone. Your shower will look clean and sleek because there will be fewer grout lines to contend with. Just be sure to use a non-acidic cleaning agent. While quartz will never be as cheap as ceramic tiles, you may be able to pull off a truly upscale look for less than you’d expact.

Hunt for Bathroom Mold

Pink Mold on Bathroom Tile

This hack isn’t going to save you money immediately, but it is likely to pay off in the long-term. Bathroom mold and mildew can grow beneath fixtures and behind walls. When you’re yanking out an existing tub or shower to make way for a new one, this is the perfect time to scour the bathroom for hidden mold.

Here’s why: By the time you smell mildew or see the mold, you’re likely to need professional remediation which can cost a fortune. Instead, take advantage of the opportunity that pulling out your old shower affords you, by scouring for hidden mold before you install the new one.

A moisture meter is a little device that you can point at any surface. It will instantly tell you if there’s moisture beneath that surface and how much. You can get a moisture meter like the MMD4E on Amazon for $23. This little device is backlit, can detect moisture in studs and drywall, and can tell you if a leak is old or new.

If you do discover a problem, then you’ll need to call in an expert for help. But if there’s no problem, then proceed with the rest of your renovation. 

Will you recoup your investment?

Golden coins on bright background, online payment and refund

First, before you demolish an existing bathtub and replace in with a walk in shower, you may want to consider that having at least one bathtub in a home in a mid-to-upscale market is often considered essential. Also, if your home is in a kid-friendly area, you’ll want to have one tub available as well.

An amazing tool to use to consider how your investment might pay off is the cost-vs-value report from remodeling.hw.net. It allows you to enter your zip code and search the value recouped by homeowners by the year and type of remodel.

For example, they looked at 22 universal bath remodel projects completed across the US in the year 2022. The project included removing an existing bathtub and installing a curbless, tiled, walk-in shower with an adjustable showerhead, fold-out seat, thermostatic mixing valve, and bi-directional glass door. It also included many other renovations to the bathroom.

The bathroom remodel projects cost an average of $42,105 and homeowners recouped $23,869 at sale, so 56% of the cost was recouped.

Walk-in Shower Types

luxury stone tile bathroom

Walk-in showers can make any bathroom look classy, but can a walk-in shower fit into any bathroom?

Well yes but not all walk-in showers have doors. (In this case, you can call your space a “wet room” as the whole area will get wet and you’ll need to squeegee water into a drain.)

Some walk-in showers are open, while others have curtains or partial walls for privacy.

A walk-in shower might include a shower tray or it might not have a curb at all, making it ideal for the elderly or those with limited mobility.

There are different shapes and sizes available, so if you do want to make a statement by having a walk-in shower as a statement piece in your bathroom, you have a few different types to choose from:

Shower typeDescription
CornerFits into any bathroom corner with 2 glass screens.
FloatingHas a single static glass screen to allow for access from either side.
Recessed/AlcoveCan fit into any alcove and is generally used to replace a bathtub. This style features a single glass screen attached to a wall with entry from one side only.
CurblessNo curb or raised floor allows for easy access.

A curbless shower is compliant with the American with Disabilities Act and may be better for seniors. If you are aiming to build an ADA-compliant shower, you’ll need to figure in extra costs such as adding grab bars, reinforced walls, and a built-in shower seat.

Shower Heads and Systems

rainfall showerhead

You’ll need to purchase a shower head for your new walk-in shower. There are a variety of types of shower heads to consider including those that are energy-efficient, smart, LED shower heads, rainfall shower heads and shower systems that come with a handheld and wall-mounted shower head.

Low FlowA low-flow shower head has a flow rate of 2.0 gallons of water per minute (GPM) (9 liters) or less, compared to a regular shower head with a flow rate of 2.5 GPM (11.3 liters) or more.
The modern technology used in low-flow showerheads makes it possible to have a high-pressure shower.
$50-$1,000 USD, depending on size, material and features
SmartA smart shower has built-in technology for greater control, connectivity, and automation.$1,200 – $25,000 USD, depending on size, material and features
RainfallDesigned to provide a natural rain shower experience for the bather.$300 – $900 USD, depending on size, material and features
LEDLED shower heads work through water pressure. The water in the shower head turns a small dynamo, which generates power and feeds it to the LED lights. They don’t use electricity.$50 – $500 USD, depending on size, material and features.
Shower Heads with Built-In FiltersShower filters can strain out contaminants in hard water. These contaminants can cause problems with hair, skin and nails including hair dullness, breakage and even hair loss.$50-$70 USD, depending on shower head type.
High PressureShower delivers high water pressure for a great all-over body massage.$300 – $800 USD, depending on size, material and features

So what will a walk in shower cost you?

The amount you’ll spend on a walk in shower is highly variable and depends if you’ll go prefab or custom, if you’ll build to ADA specs, and if you want cultured marble on the walls or you’ll be satisfied with ceramic. It’s up to you. But the average cost of a new custom walk-in shower is about $4,500-$9,250.

Want to save big on a bathroom remodel? We’ll send you the Save Big $$$ Cheat Sheet that has designer hacks worth thousands of dollars. Just join our newsletter by filling out the form below and we’ll send it right over.

Tags: budgeting shower remodel, cost of walk-in shower, custom tile shower, walk-in shower, walk-in shower installation, walk-in shower permits

Similar Posts