Dumb Q -- which is more expensive, tub or stand-alone shower?

jaycoOctober 27, 2011

I can't find an answer to this, even though it seems an obvious question: which will be more expensive for a new bath: an enclosed tiled shower of moderate size (c. 36 x 40), or a tub/shower combo with tiled surround, assuming the same level of materials -- decent quality but not fancy. Thanks!

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I'd say that it depends on the tub.

If you go with a basic but nice tub in the $200-$300 range, the tub will take the place of the shower pan, curb, and membrane, the shower drain, the floor tile, and the lower tile on the walls. Usually a simple tub and tub surround will be less expensive than a fully tiled shower.

If you get up into more expensive tubs, then the fully tiled shower can be less expensive.

For what it's worth (and it it's a factor), per building code, for sanitary purposes in residential construction you need at least one tub in the house.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 4:48AM
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If you have glass shower doors (vs. shower curtain in tub/shower combo), the shower will definitely be more.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 9:20AM
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Thank you.

We need only a basic tub, but either way we would like tile. Would this make them roughly equal cost?

We do already have one tub, so that's not an issue, but money is, and the space will accommodate a tub more easily -- width issues along the one plumbing wall, but enough depth.

My spouse feels an enclosed shower is more comfortable, but I think space considerations are more important (not having the fixtures too close together, as the shower is inevitably wider) -- unless cost sways it in one direction or the other.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 9:27AM
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Thanks, weedyacres, I didn't see your post until after I posted my reply. We would want glass shower doors. Would this up the $ a lot? Honestly I am trying to convince the spouse to go with the tub, which will fit much better into the room. And we all know money talks ;)

So the comparison is between an enclosed shower approx 36" x 40", tile on three sides, with a glass door; vs. a basic tub, c. 30" x 60", tile on three sides, with a shower curtain. Sorry not to have been more clear.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 9:37AM
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If you go with a tub, consider using a curved shower rod. We used one in a recent remodel and it really increases the usable space while showering. The curtain is held away from you so the tub space feels much roomier. The one I used (Crescent Rod. After much research!) is linked below.

Here is a link that might be useful: crescent rod

    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 1:53PM
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Sophie Wheeler

THe labor will be the big cost difference here. A correctly done shower is a lot more labor than is a simple alcove tub with tiled walls, especially if you have to hand build the shower floor. Using a prebuilt pan does help to cut down the labor, but it still a bit more time involved than a tub. The two also have different plumbing requirements, so that is another area where labor costs can be different. You will have to have the drain relocated and enlarged for a shower if the area is already set up for a tub. And while you will still need to waterproof the walls for either setup, the actual amount of tile involved won't be dramatically different. If you do a shower curtain instead of tub door (which are nasty and difficult to clean) the costs will be less expensive. Even a box store stock door can run you $400 if you want frameless.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 3:03PM
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My GC said it will be $1000 more to go with a shower.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 12:50PM
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We paid $1500 for 2 24" glass shower doors (french door style) and nearly $3000 for a 60"x60" neoangle glass surround. That was 3/8" semi-frameless. A single glass door would be less expensive, but still more than a shower curtain. :-)

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 1:37PM
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Well, my spouse prevailed and we are going with the shower. I won on some other things, though... Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 2:00PM
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