Last updated 9th April, 2020
All you need to know about retiling a shower, including costs of tiles, boarding, sealants, other required products, labour and time frames.
Many people think tiling is easy and the results of this "easy tiling" can be seen on bathroom walls and floors all over the UK. Another way to describe this "easy tiling", of course, would be to say it is simply uneven, poorly cut, with thick grout lines and an obvious amateurish finish. Which can often mean more work being required to fix the mistakes; retiling or regrouting tiles. Nothing looks worse than a new bathroom suite and accessories contrasted by an uneven tiled wall. If you have invested in a quality bath, sink and/or toilet, you will be completely spoiling the effect by leaving a bad tiling job. Some do have the necessary skills and patience required to tile/retile a bathroom or shower, but most of us would be much better off hiring a professional. Tiling may initially seem like one of those jobs that anyone can do, but there are pitfalls which many first-time tilers and even the more experienced can fall into.
The first step in any retiling job is to remove all the old tiles and clean up the surface (try to minimise damage to the all to avoid expensive plastering work. Then work out how many tiles you need. This is done by measuring the area which needs tiling and then working out how many tiles are required to cover that area (tiles come in boxes with this area printed on them to make it easy). In addition, you should always buy tiles with matching batch numbers and at the same time from the same store or source. As there is often variation in colour and texture, even within the same type of tile from batch to batch. Always buy more than you need to avoid running out and not being able to buy more tiles that perfectly match. The next step is to choose the grout and adhesive. Never use grout as adhesive to stick your tiles to the wall. The best type of grout and adhesive will depend on the type of tile you are buying and the surface you are working with, so do some research first or get some advice from a professional. If you are using a natural stone tile in a shower area you will also need to buy some sealant to achieve a waterproof finish.
If you plan to do this job yourself, then before you even begin tiling make sure the walls are as flat and clean as possible. If you cannot achieve a good surface you may have to put up new boards/plaster. If this is the case, then you will need to leave them for a few weeks before tiling on top. Plan the job carefully by thinking about where the eye is drawn and therefore where the centre line should be, take plenty of time with planning to save you time later and to get good results. Use a spirit level to find a level starting point and to ensure all tiles are straight and draw a vertical line so that you can see your tiles are straight up and down too.
The next step is to spread your adhesive on the wall then put the first tile into place making sure it is fixed to the wall and even. Continue to check the level as you go throughout the job and start adding the rest of the tiles to the wall using spacers. Keep going until you have completed all of the full tiles removing any excess adhesive as you go. Use a cutter to make the rest of the tiles fit along with some sandpaper to remove any sharp edges. Cutting can involve some trial and error so expect to make mistakes and always ensure that you have plenty of tiles. Finally, you can grout the tiles after a day or so spreading it into the spaces and using your finger or suitable tool to neaten the grout line. Wash the tiles after the grout has hardened and the job is complete.
One of the most important things to consider is your choice of tiles. Natural stone requires some sealing to be used in bathrooms or shower enclosures, plus light colour tiles can stain easily with watermarks. Mosaic tiles look great, but need a lot more labour and more grout to install, they also will need more frequent cleaning. Glass mirror tiles look glamorous, but show up smudges and need near constant cleaning to look their best. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are the most popular choices as they are hard wearing, don't stain easily and are available at prices to suit all budgets. If you love the look of stone or marble, then you can get Ceramic and porcelain tiles with a stone effect which are incredibly realistic and often difficult to distinguish from the real thing (but are much cheaper and more practical).
The primary materials that will be required will be the tiling itself, new boards/plaster and any necessary adhesives to seal. In some cases the majority of the cost can be spent on the tiling itself, due to the amount of tiles required. Cheaper tiles would typically cost around £10 per square metre - for higher quality this would be higher and will increase the total cost proportionally by the amount required. It is worthwhile having a clear understanding of the cost for the tiling required, by knowing the surface areas needing to be tiled and the tile prices available, before any tiling is started.
The tradesperson will likely determine their own price per day or for the amount of work - typically this would be in the region of around £250, but could be higher or lower depending on the size of the shower and the complecity of the tiling work involved.
Below are some estimated costs of retiling a shower.
|Job Description||Avg. Cost||Duration|
|Cheap Ceramic Tiles - Supply-Only||£10 per square metre||N/A|
|Average Labour Costs||£30 per square metre||N/A|
|Typical price for labour and materials||£45 per square metre||N/A|
|Typical shower tiling job supply and fit||£250||2-4 Days (Room Dependant)|
Individual costs of retiling a shower - Total Cost: £250