Why are showers so costly to tile?

Showers cost more to tile because there is quite a bit more involved with showers than with other types of tile installations such as a kitchen floor or a kitchen backsplash. A quality shower installation involves:

  • a lengthy process of preparation, including demolition of previous material, building or reinforcing the framework
  • building in special features such as soap niches and benches
  • waterproofing — using a variety of materials and techniques to insure a maximum protective barrier from moisture. A “Hot Mop” moisture barrier, or membrane, for the shower floor can easily take a day. Tar is often used for this, and needs time to set before the contractor can go to the next step.
  • Perfectly even walls are mandatory to insure a proper fit of a glass shower door — especially if custom fit glass is being ordered to fit. Truing up the walls to be even takes time, patience, commitment, and accuracy.
  • Plumbing, ventilation, and lighting are often part of the deal. These items take planning and extra money to execute. If you’re replacing any shower plumbing — the time to do it is when the shower walls are down to the studs.
  • Getting all the details right.
  • Providing beautiful finish work. This involves the art and skill of understanding perspective, how the tile needs to be cut and placed in order to look continuous and seamless. Specified tiles can sometimes have different thicknesses and have to be compensated for when placed next to each other to look flush.

So you can see, it is very involved and very labor-intensive. There is a great deal of precision involved. All of this must be factored in with the price of the tile, tile trim and tile specialty pieces.

While most people see a shower as a space with tile in it, there can be a wide variation as to how well the shower is crafted, how durable it is, and how many years it lasts, problem-free. It is worthwhile to find someone reputable, with the skills to do a great shower tile installation.

This is why showers are so costly to tile.

Tile installation of a shower bench. Materials sold at New Metro Tile, Los Angeles.