Average Cost to Convert a Tub to a Walk-in Shower

A walk-in shower is an increasingly affordable luxury. Whereas showers once consisted of low-pressure pipes above a bathtub, it’s now possible to install almost any type of multi-jet, expensive tiled, room-sized shower in your home. The only real limits are your imagination and your budget. The range of costs involved in a walk-in shower (not to mention removing the old bathtub) will mean that you can get options to fit almost any budget.

If you’re interested in learning about other possible bathroom renovation ideas, see our pages on Walk-in Tub and Shower Combo and Walk-in Tub Pros and Cons.

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This guide is designed to help take you through the process of deciding on what is best for you. Although the figures below are ballpark ones, they will be able to help you understand precisely what is involved in each step of the process so you can start doing some planning. Knowing what is - and isn’t - in your budget is the first step to building your dream walk-in shower.

Overall Costs

Before you even decide if you want a walk-in shower, you need to understand the basics, such as what is involved in the process, and a ballpark idea of costs.

The process involved

The process of converting a bathtub to a walk-in shower is fairly straightforward, although it does depend on precisely where your bathtub is located in your home, as well as the type of conversion you are actually undertaking. Generally, however, the process will go something like the following, as the contractor:

Removes the old tub as well as the surroundings (usually tile or drywall); they will tidy up the area to prepare for the new shower
Installs the new surroundings and a waterproof layer
Replaces the tub drain line (which is usually 1.5 inches) with a shower drain line (usually 2 inches)
Installs the new shower system and tests for leaks
Installs the fixtures and valves
Adds in the glass doors

This process is usually one that takes a day or two and is work that a contracting firm should easily be able to handle (although you should still get multiple quotes and check references).


Overall, for the work described above, you’ll likely pay somewhere between $2,500 and $15,000 for a conversion from a tub to a walk-in shower. Walk-in showers tend to be more expensive than shower stalls because of the additional size and the additional water pressure required. However, even with a walk-in shower, there are plenty of ways you can save (or spend) money, depending on your needs and your budget. The rest of the guide will discuss this in more detail.

Breakdown of the

As the large average price range suggests, there are a lot of factors involved in shaping the final bill when it comes to converting a tub to a walk-in shower. At every step of the process, you can choose a cheaper or a more expensive option, which culminates in a great deal of variance when it comes to the final bill. Some of the step-by-step costs are outlined below:




Removal and cleanup of the previous bathtub



Preparation for installation of the shower



Prefabricated shower stall



Tiling for a custom shower



Customer shower pan



Glass shower door



New fixtures (including faucets)



New shower valve



Shampoo shelf or niche



Grab bars



Plumbing installation



Permits (depending on location jurisdiction)



As the above suggests, it’s best to let the budget shape the vision rather than the other way around. You can very quickly end up designing your dream walk-in shower and find yourself well beyond your budget. Instead, you should sit down and work out what you’re comfortable spending and work it from there. Be sure to get at least three quotes for any work to ensure that you’re working with the right people and you’re getting a good deal. But don’t always assume that the cheapest quote is the best.

A contractor will be able to help you with that, explaining how your budget will cover your specific circumstances. However, you should make sure that you include a 10-20% contingency in any budget to ensure that you have room for error. If you are right up against your limit and something goes wrong, you could end up with an unfinished walk-in shower, which is no good to anyone.

Different Types of Conversion

Obviously, depending on which type of conversion you opt for, there are different price points. Again, you need to weigh up what your budget is, as well as what type of aesthetic you are going for. A key factor also is what your existing tub situation is, as a big part of the cost involved is in the removal of the tub, rather than just the installation of the new shower.


Tiled Shower

One of the most common types of walk-in shower is the tiled shower. These are usually placed in a recessed alcove with tiles on three sides (the remaining side is the glass entrance). The cost for the tiling can be high and usually runs between $800 and $3,000 (including materials and labor). You’ll also need to pay for the shower pan, which will cost you somewhere between $900 and $3,500, again, including materials and labor.


Garden Tub

If you have a large, self-standing tub (often known as a garden tub), the cost of removal can be fairly high. In addition, you will likely need the new shower to be framed out before it is properly installed. As such, you’ll likely pay somewhere between $2,000 and $12,000 for this service, with an additional fee of $400 – $800 for the removal and disposal of the existing tub – because garden tubs are large, heavy pieces of equipment.


Tub Cut

A cheaper alternative to the above is a conversion from a tub to a walk-in shower. These so-called ‘tub cuts’ involve making a cut in the side of the tub that allows the tub to become a walk-in shower. Because this method has far lower labor costs, it means that the overall costs are cheaper. Usually, a tub cut conversion will cost somewhere between $800 and $1,800.

Different Types
of Shower Stalls

The type of shower stall you want (or need) will also have a huge impact on the price. You cannot fail to notice that there is a huge range of different options available on the market. A contractor will be able to walk you through which options will fit best in your own home, although there is undoubtedly an aesthetic element to consider as well.


Some of the features you’ll need to think about:

Built-in shelves that contain niches for toiletries
The actual material the stall is made from
The location of the drain within the shower pan (you’ll need to make sure that it matches the location of the drain already installed for your tub).
The doors on the shower (handle type, size, material, etc.)

Each additional fixture you’ll need will cost somewhere between $40 and $500. The type of doors you choose can greatly impact price. You can expect to pay somewhere between $400 and $1,900 depending on the style, design, and material that you go for.

Different Shower
Stall Prices

Below is an outline of the different types of shower stalls and the price range you can expect to pay. Again, you can go through the options with your contractor, as not all of those listed below will be viable in all circumstances. Your budget will also play a major role in dictating which option is viable.




Alcove or regular shower stall



Square or corner shower stall



Neo-angle shower stall



Curved or rounded shower stall



Barrier-free or curbless shower stall



These ranges are all contingent upon additional cost factors, such as those mentioned above (the type of existing tub you have, and so on), hence the relatively large price ranges in some cases.

Ultimately, there’s an option for almost everyone on the list above. The key facts about budgeting remain – work out what you can spend and then spend 80% of that amount, ensure you get at least three quotes and don’t be tempted to upgrade mid-project. All of these will mean that you’re not left with any horror stories – at least from a financial perspective.

You should also use the above figures as a start point. Because of the range of options available, you should start with a budget and then plan your project, and not the other way round.

A less ambitious shower with quality fixtures and fittings will work far better than an over-ambitious shower with shoddy pieces. After all, the most important thing is that it a) provides hot water at a decent pressure and b) doesn’t leak. Everything other than that is a bonus. Plan accordingly.