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How Much Does a Shower Conversion Cost, and Is It the Right Choice for Your Home?

April 9, 2020

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A shower conversion refers to renovating or otherwise remodeling a shower area in the home, changing the space’s footprint or overall design. Most shower conversions involve removing the bathtub, to make room for a walk-in shower space, or adding a walk-in bathtub with a door, making the space accessible for wheelchair users or others with limited mobility.

A tub to shower conversion costs anywhere from $1200 to over $7500. National averages for a shower remodel range around $3000, while a luxury shower conversion might cost up to $10,000 or more.

Since no two homes are alike, and every homeowner no doubt wants something different and unique for their bathroom space, only a bathroom renovation contractor can note an exact price range for your planned shower conversion. However, you might consider some vital details about this work, the services and products available for most conversions, and its advantages as well. This information can help you better understand your options and discuss your needs with a bathroom renovation contractor, and then plan your budget accordingly.

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How Much Does a Shower Conversion Cost?

While you might expect to pay anywhere from a thousand to ten thousand dollars for a shower conversion, it’s good to note what’s included in that price and why it can be worth it for your home! Never hesitate to discuss these details with a bathroom renovation contractor near you, so you know you’re making the right decision for your home and family.

Note that a walk-in shower conversion is often more expensive than a stall shower. The added space as well as upgraded features often included in a walk-in shower, such as bench seating and customized shower doors, add to your costs.

  • Tearing out old fixtures and hauling away debris add to your costs somewhat significantly, especially if your home currently has a bathtub with lots of surrounding tiles. A one-piece tub and shower combo, on the other hand, typically requires far less labor for tear-out and removal.
  • Needed plumbing repairs and installation also add to your costs; this includes repairs to the bathroom floor and walls after a tub tear-out and removal and installation of new electrical features as well as plumbing pipes and connectors. The older your home and the more needed repairs, and the more pipes and wiring needed to support upgraded features, the higher your expected shower conversion costs.
  • Preparing your home’s bathroom space for a conversion and other renovation work also adds to your costs. For instance, a heavy walk-in tub might require added floor bracing. Enlarging a shower area might require the removal or relocation of electrical outlets or lighting.
  • Using kits lowers your shower conversion costs, as a shower stall kit or tub and shower combo require minimal tiling. The drawback to kits is that they’re often generic and impersonal, and might look like an afterthought in your home’s bathroom.
  •  Some shower kits also require the purchase and installation of added parts such as a door. Some also lack interior shelving, so you’ll have the added cost of storage accessories along with the kit!
  • Reworking a plumbing layout also adds to your overall shower conversion costs. Before deciding to move a tub or sink to the other side of the room, for example, discuss these potential costs with your bathroom renovation contractor.
  • Custom or high-end details such as tile, a showerhead, and other such pieces also add to your overall shower conversion costs.

Is a Shower Conversion Right for Your Home?

Once you’ve considered the cost for a shower conversion in your home, you might then wonder if it’s a good choice for you and your family. There are many excellent benefits to a full-scale shower conversion, a tub to shower conversion, or an entire bathroom remodel! Note a few of those benefits here so you don’t overlook this excellent option for your home.

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  • A bathtub and shower curtain often make a compact bathroom look even smaller, creating a cramped and crowded feeling. A walk-in or stall shower keeps the space open and bright, and a glass shower door might even reflect light, for a larger look overall.
  • A walk-in shower allows space for a wheelchair, walker, or other such mobility aid, making a shower conversion an excellent option for anyone with physical limitations and health concerns.
  • A walk-in shower also eliminates the need to step up and over a bathtub wall. Walk-in showers are then safer for seniors or anyone with arthritis, back pain, or other balance issues. If you’re planning on staying in your home well into your retirement years, or are already experiencing joint and back pain, a shower conversion allows for safe, independent bathing.
  • A compact walk-in shower or stall shower is an excellent choice for smaller bathrooms. You can open up the space for added storage or a larger vanity if needed. If you need added space in an adjoining room, scale down the bathroom with a walk-in shower and then rework the footprint of those two rooms as preferred.
  • A shower conversion might allow for the addition of luxurious spa features that your home’s current bathtub cannot accommodate. For example, bench seating allows you to luxuriate in the shower comfortably, with a look more stylish than store-bought shower seats!
  • A shower conversion allows you to create a shower space in awkward areas or to take advantage of nooks or unused areas around the bathroom. As an example, if there is an unused closet or hallway nook next to your home’s bathroom, you might pull out the bathtub and tear down a wall, and create a shower conversion around that space. You then have a large and open area for bathing and storing items in the shower, making full use of every inch of your home!

What Is the Best Material for a Shower Conversion?

Once you’ve decided on a shower conversion or the addition of a walk-in shower, you might wonder the best materials for your planned renovation. As every material offers its own pros and cons, it’s good to consider the benefits and drawbacks of each choice and then choose according to your particular needs and budget.

Glass tiles are quickly becoming a favorite with homeowners, as they offer lots of shine that creates a bright, clean look, and which opens up even the smallest of spaces! Glass is also made from readily available materials, making it a very eco-friendly choice for a bathroom or kitchen renovation plan.

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Stone tiles are durable and very attractive, with a natural look and feel that many homeowners love. Ceramic tiles are also a classic choice, as they offer a natural look in a wide range of colors and tones. The drawback to both stone and ceramic is that their pitted surfaces often trap and hold dirt and mold, so be prepared for professional cleanings over the years!

Acrylic tile is durable and easy to install, but offers an artificial look and feel that might not appeal to some homeowners. Many acrylic tiles are manufactured in long sheets so you then need to replace an entire section or even a full shower surround when one part of the acrylic stains or wears away.

Fiberglass shower surrounds are durable and easy to clean, but the gel coating of fiberglass tends to wear off after some time. In turn, you’ll need a new coating or to replace the entire surround more often than if you invested in durable glass, stone, or ceramic tile.

Related Questions

Does a shower conversion add value to a home?

If your home has enough space to easily accommodate a separate tub, a new walk-in shower might add to its overall value, especially if you add spa-like features such as bench seating. A shower conversion that adds a new shower to the home, such as in a lavatory or basement bathroom, might also increase your home’s overall value.

Which is better, a kitchen or bathroom renovation?

As every home is different, only you and your contractor can decide which renovation project is best for your house and family! However, consider that a walk-in shower enhances safety and allows for independent bathing as you age. If you and your partner are rushed in the morning and feel stressed when trying to share a cramped bathroom space, a walk-in shower might create room for a larger vanity or more accessible storage, making it an excellent option for your needs in particular.

Can a homeowner install a bathtub to shower conversion kit on their own?

It’s never advised that a homeowner attempt any plumbing repairs or installations on their own, as even a shower conversion kit needs proper installation and sealing to avoid potential leaks and mold growth. If you’re concerned about a shower conversion cost, talk to your renovation contractor about scaling down your project, handling demolition on your own, and other such cost-saving measures.

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