9 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Remodeling Your Shower

So you are in love with your living room, dining area, and kitchen. Now you are ready to throw an amazing dinner party for all your friends and family to come over, right?

Wrong! You forgot one crucial aspect of your home that you’ve been hiding behind closed doors for so long. Your bathroom!

Look it’s inevitable that your guests are going to need to use the bathroom at some point. While they aren’t going to shower during a dinner party, I hope not at least, they will judge you if you have a mouldy old acrylic shower area, with a rusty shower head, and out of style type walls.

Besides, don’t you want to step into a beautifully designed, easy to clean, and modern shower, with a high-pressure shower head, elegant marble tiles, and a natural stone bench? The good news is you are on the last step of grief… acceptance! You know you need to remodel your shower, now you just have to figure out what goes into the process.

So without further ado here are the 9 questions you need to ask yourself before remodeling your shower:

  • What Will it Cost to Remodel my Shower and How Long Will it Take?
  • Should I Do it Myself or Hire a Professional?
  • Why do you want to Remodel your Shower?
  • Should I Buy a Kit or go Custom?
  • Should I Get Rid of the Existing Bathtub?
  • Which Wall Materials are Best?
  • What is the Best High-Pressure Shower Head?
  • What Kind of Material to Use for a Shower Pan?
  • How Can I Increase my Home Resale Value with my Remodel?

There you have the questions – are you ready to explore the answers or at least give you food for thought? I hope you’ll get some valuable insights in our answers below.

Remodelled Shower

What Will it Cost to Remodel my Shower and How Long Will it Take?

The average cost to remodel a shower averages around $10,000 with a contractor. Assuming you have planned out the work and decided on all the materials and fittings you will use. With everything on site or in stock already then it should take the contractor around two weeks. Time and cost vary greatly with fittings and finishing materials chosen and the size of shower.

Yeah yeah, I know this is on your mind so I’ll go ahead and get to it first. Here’s the thing the price and duration of your shower remodel really depends on a few factors.

The short answer is that you should put aside around $10,000 and two weeks from start to finish.  Cost can vary widely though.

Of course, if you’re really a stickler for details, depending on your wants and needs a shower remodel can range between $2,000 and go as high as $30,000 and more. Luckily the time frame to complete the project stays relatively the same (assuming nothing is on backorder).

Anything from the material used on the shower walls to what kind of handles and fixtures you want will impact the final price tag of your new and improved shower area.

The most important step, before even choosing what kind of overhead lighting to install, is whether you want to do the project yourself or hire an interior designer, contractor, and other professionals? This is going to have the largest impact on your final price. You could easily save thousands of dollars if you can learn how to handle most of the tasks related to remodeling your shower.

Let’s talk in more detail on the various points that may contribute to the overall price of the remodel, so keep on scrolling (memories of Rawhide playing in my head).

Should I Do it Myself or Hire a Professional

If you know what your doing and don’t mind the work you can save thousands if you do it yourself. But not everyone is so great at doing every trade so if your plumbing, tiling or electrical skills are not up to scratch you’ll be better off calling in professionals.

My dad told our family he would repaint the home after the paint started chipping… that was two years ago. So if you’re up for the task and will finish, in a reasonable time frame, then go for it. But if you’re honest with yourself and know you won’t be able to handle the workload, then hire!

Most of the work that needs to be done is relatively easy to learn and doesn’t require much experience. Tasks like replacing the shower head, updating the fan, installing lighting, and fixtures or glass doors are pretty straightforward. Do some research online and be confident! And good luck with the tiling!!

Here’s where it gets tough.

You need to understand why you are remodeling the shower in your bathroom. Actually, that’s a good bonus question you should ask yourself before remodeling;

Why Do You Want to Remodel Your Shower?

If this is just a personal project and you, your partner, or room-mate know exactly what you want to do but just need the extra labor help, then you can hire a few contractors and get the job done. It’s when you actually want to sell your house and increase the property value that things get ugly.

You can’t buy taste, sorry but it’s true. If you want to increase your home’s resale value then you need to make sure that every remodeling project matches both the interior of your home and the overall atmosphere of the neighborhood.

Hiring a designer could really help in the long term because they are professionals who know exactly what’s hot in the market and what’s not. A good rule of thumb is to factor in about 10% of your overall budget that will be going to designers. So a $7000 renovation will likely have a $700 interior designer bill.

As for contractors, those horrible people can be helpful as well. You never know what lurks under your bathroom. You could have mould growing in cracks, rust build up in your pipes, and right as you’re about to tighten your shower head, there is a plumbing leak. And NO ONE wants mould in their cracks nor to see anyone else’s problem with that!

Having a trained professional on hand could save you the headache of having to deal with everything yourself.

You just have to make sure you’re hiring the right people. Ask them where they received their formal training and whether they can give you a list of references to contact. If they have a website check out the before and after section.

Contractors on average take $2500 for a shower remodel.

Dreamline Shower Enclosure Kit
Dreamline Make some Amazing Shower Kits – Click Image for Product at Amazon

Should I Buy a Shower Kit or go Custom?

There isn’t much room for creativity with a kit – it is what it is. But they do save a ton of work – no tiling for instance – and can be easier to maintain.  They’ll also save on installation fees at the expense of customizability. If it’s design flair you want then definitely go custom.

You have to consider your price range but if you have allowed yourself some room to splurge then definitely go for the affordable yet custom option!

Most home improvement stores sell kits for any remodel project. For showers specifically, they’ll have kits for the wall materials like acrylic sheets. You could also get a shower stall kit for just $200! Or you could go the whole hog and get a ready made, almost drop in shower cubicle ready done – simplicity for a few dollars more – and a good bang for your buck.

Of course, if you’re looking to stretch your creative muscles then go custom. Custom designs and remodel project allow you to control everything from the type of shower head used to the tiles on the walls and ceiling. The material costs for a custom shower remodel go for about $2000.

It’s time to listen to the evil angel on your shoulder and go custom.  (Hey that’s no evil angel – that’s the missus!)

Should I Get Rid of the Existing Bathtub?

NO! I mean unless you want your home resale value to drop… your call. Real Estate Agents will tell you many people will mentally cross off homes without a bath. It doesn’t mean it wont sell but it will likely take longer and sell at a lower value.

Yeah sure… if you’re crazy! I mean unless you really want to, who am I to say. I’m just the guy trying to save you thousands of dollars.

Many buyers will dismiss it because it doesn’t have a bath. You might still get the same price for it, but it could take longer to sell.

Ben Hunter, Director – Winkworth Estate Agents

If you’ve been fantasizing about destroying that tub for years then think again.

First of all, if you already have a tub you can just add a shower and make it a partnership of a lifetime. Getting rid of a tub is costly in the short term. Not to mention most home buyers are looking for at least one tub in the house because it’s easier to clean children. Plus, who doesn’t want a tub?

Minimalist Shower Walling

Which Wall Materials are Best?

You’ll get the best bang for your buck with ceramic or porcelain tiles. Other options are sheet walling but stay away from anything with wood in it – laminates for instance. Some moulded plastic finishes are quite good and are easy to clean and install. Tiles can give a much more luxurious feel though.

Here you have a few options but the materials that will stand the test of time, be easy to clean, and have the added benefit of looking amazing are ceramic or porcelain tiles.

Your shower walls are what will really set the stage for the rest of the bathroom, so you really want something that will pop!

On the cheaper end, you could go for one piece fiberglass units or acrylic sheets. A contractor would say, “good luck trying to get a fiberglass unit in through your bathroom door”, and he would be right! So that’s off the table.

Acrylic sheets are generally good, they are easy to install, cheap, and come in different colors and designs. Of course, they do scratch easily and the scuffs make it difficult to clean. The worst part is because these sheets connect in corners, they are ideal spots for mold and fungus to grow. You won’t even know you have a problem until it’s severe.

On the high-end, you could opt out for natural stone or marble tiles. These are usually gorgeous large stone slabs that piece together seamlessly giving your bathroom an elegant and luxurious look. They come in different natural colors that match any home interior and set a modern atmosphere.

Apart from being expensive, these tiles are relatively prone to damage. The nature of the stone is such that it can crack and crumble. So you would be paying for something you might have to replace in a few years if you are particularly hapless.

Ceramic and porcelain tiles, on the other hand, are glazed and baked in an oven making them hard and durable, easy to clean, and water resistant. They come in all sorts of sizes and shapes allowing you to make your own little mosaic. The best part is with these tiles you could go all the way up to the ceiling and most experts recommend contrasting the ceiling tile design with the surrounding walls to accentuate the area.

Tiles are fairly affordable and go for around 1-3 dollars per square foot, it’s the cost of hiring a professional that drives the cost up to around $25 per square foot. It’s one of the more difficult tasks so you should consider hiring someone but if you can figure it out you could save hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

What is the Best High-Pressure Shower Head?

The best shower head will be the one you love the look of that does what you need it to do. If you want a massage function pick one that has that. Music speakers built in are also an option. But you need one made out of good materials comparable with your budget and easy to clean silicone nozzles are a good choice.

One issue that affects many people is low pressure from the shower.  This can be found in gravity systems where the shower head in not much below the water level in the tank. More height is called head.  More head is desirable!

Another reason your shower may have low-pressure is because of the shower head itself. If the nozzles become blocked restricted or there is build up within the shower head then pressure will drop.  Also turning the shower head to a massage or pulse setting basically constricts flow and makes it more difficult for the water to come out as it has to come out at pressure.

Luckily replacing the head is very easy and relatively inexpensive.

High-pressure shower heads feel amazing and they are better for cleaning. Depending on what brand you plan on purchasing make sure the shower head is high quality and corrosion resistant. You should look for something with a relatively narrow head, so the amount of water at any given time is highly pressurized, and something with a few adjustable settings.  The image on the right is the Kohler French Gold Fixed Shower Head – image links to Amazon.  Or you might prefer this great top quality shower head with inbuilt bluetooth magnetic speaker which I have reviewed.

You could also go for a custom build and have high-pressure side jets or a shower head with a wide mouth for a gentle rainfall like effect.

What Kind of Material to Use for a Shower Pan

Fibreglass and thin plastic or acrylic shower pans buckle on loading causing joint sealant issues avoid. Better quality acrylic pans are good, look clean and are sturdy but cigarettes burn them and they scratch. Vitreous China (sometimes called Porcelain) trays are sturdy, stain resistant and a great choice. Marble and stone as good as Vitreous China and more opulent and pricey. Concrete pans properly finished for minimalistic design and ruggedness.

Whatever pan material you choose a cement and sand based mortar is your best friend when it comes to water-resistant materials to support your shower pan.

A shower pan is a waterproof barrier between the shower floor and the supporting ground below. It’s important that the pan is supported by a base of concrete-like paste known as “mortar”.

This paste-like substance is a mixture of cement and sand and it is similar to concrete in that it hardens and becomes water resistant. A fixture with a slight incline or slope will allow the shower area to dry more quickly.

Bedding in the Shower Tray
Be Sure to Level in your Shower Tray – Ensure Slope to Drain

All you have to do is buy a bag of mortar mix from your nearest home improvement store or order it online, combine it with water and get to work… or you know you could hire someone to do it.  Setting the trays in place, after they have been ‘made up’ (meaning plumbing fittings fitted and sealed), is simply a matter of bedding them carefully into the mortar bedding using a level to ensure it drains properly. Then you tile!

How Can I Increase my Home Resale Value with my Remodel?

Upgrading and modernising your bathroom in a beautiful design will absolutely increase the value of your home. Adding some smart home technology in the bathroom will impress and stick in the mind of a buyer making your home stick and increase the chances of a sale. Do it right and be smart with interior design and do yourself a favour.

Oh buddy, I hope you read this article!  Have you not been paying attention?

When it comes to increasing your home value, remodeling your kitchen and bathroom are where the big bucks come in. Every little detail about your shower could exponentially grow your property value.

It’s in the details.

When remodeling your shower area consider how you can really kick it up a notch. Adding custom built copper fixtures is a good start. One thing home buyers love to see is a bench or seating area, this could be a fixed stone slab or a foldable variant.

You should also think about investing in a new shower fan. It’s something you don’t always think about but a good shower fan will prevent mold and mildew from building up. It’s also fairly inexpensive and easy to upgrade.

The shower door itself is also really important. Most people have curtains but opting out for a glass enclosure is so simple and worth the extra cash. They come in different styles like clear glass, frosted, and tinted.

Other special features to consider include things like a light and sound system installation within the shower area itself. You could also upgrade to a steam shower and really make the place upscale and nice.

The most important aspect, however, is the overall design and aesthetic look. If your shower doesn’t match the tone set by the rest of your bathroom, the atmosphere of your home, and the overall trend of your neighborhood and the current market, then you’re going to have a hard time selling the place.

No matter what you decide to do or how you decide to go about your shower remodel, it’s important to enjoy the process and make it a memorable project.

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Ian is the Editor for Weird By Design. An avid consumer of nice stuff, writer, blogger & computer power user.
Interested in Design, Trading Markets & the finer things in life.

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