How much will a Walk in Shower installation cost?
Say goodbye bath and hello new ultra-modern walk-in shower room.
You've consulted with your family and friends, GP or Occupational Therapist. You have made the important decision to upgrade your bathroom to a reliable, safe and ultra-modern easy access shower room, but how much will it cost to replace the bath with a walk-in shower?
I've been involved in over 1000 bathroom adaptions at every stage from initial design to installation and finally handing them over to the main user and their family members. In this article, I will discuss the options available when installing an easy access shower room, which companies you should contact to get a walk-in shower estimate and how to save money in the longer term and to future-proof your investment, so the bathroom adaption doesn't suffer any secondary and unexpected cost - so, what is the price of a walk-in shower?
The average price of a new Walk-in Shower is between £3500 - £20,000
"Ugh!" I hear you exasperate, "that isn't very helpful. My new easy access shower room will cost me between £3500 to £20,000".
Although some are very similar, not all bathroom adaptions are the same, and no 2 customers have the same requirements; for example, Mrs Smith and Mrs Jones are both elderly and feel unsafe getting in and out of the bath. They live in identical properties, and both used the same contractor to carry out their bathroom adaption, but Mrs Jones's shower room cost 5% more than Mrs Smith.
Unfortunately, Mrs Jones has a weak left arm and will need her right arm to access the walk-in shower controls and showerhead; she also will use her right arm to grip on to the safety grab-rails for these reasons, the installation required additional plumbing to Mrs Smith's shower room and Mrs Jones's required additional plumbing and wastewater drainage.
Let me point out that Mrs Jones was extremely pleased with both her new easy access shower room and the price she paid for a walk-in shower because it was installed exactly for her requirements, allowed her to continue with independent showering and additional alterations afterwards would have been far more expensive.
This article will not tell you how much you can expect to pay but how certain factors and decisions affect the price of a walk-in shower installation detailing the cheaper options and pitfalls you might run into.
1 - Install the Walk-in Shower yourself.
It isn't rocket science and clearly obvious, but the cheapest option is to do the bathroom adaption yourself if you are competent. The highest cost on some installations is Labour, and that can be up to 75% of the price to install a walk-in shower.
You will need skills in; carpentry, plumbing, tiling, flooring and possibly cement / concrete work and own or have access to hand and power tools related to these skills. Beware though as there may be issues with Gas pipes or Electricity cables which by law require suitably qualified persons to carry out the works.
In my experience, I would strongly try to dissuade anyone from carrying out the work themselves or being talked into getting a family member or friend to do the installation unless they are not just experienced in bathrooms but also level accessed shower room installations. Walk-in showers require many trades and involve many unknowns inside the walls and floor area where the bath used to be.
I also have seen sub-standard D.I.Y installations, tiling not lining up, shower trays not installed low enough because of a raised Gas pipe or tough concrete/rebar. Hence, water runs out of the bathroom through the door, leaking amateur plumbing, dirty and leaking mastic sealing joints.
To rectify these problems not only involves redoing the bathroom but sometimes the room below. Some leaks are small and not obvious, and over time water soaks through brickwork and ceilings and after months of constant exposure to water, they also require a new kitchen.
2 - Pay in cash for your Walk-in Shower
I don't advise doing this, and it's more to point out why the price estimate installation of a walk-in shower may differ vastly between installers. A reputable bathroom adaption specialist estimate will probably be the more expensive, but they say, "you get what you pay for".
Most contractors who asked to be paid in cash will not put the money through the books and may not give you records that you may later need - invoices and guarantees. There is also the waste from the old bathroom, which will need to be disposed of properly. For some of these installers, the removal of waste is either not included in the price, or it could be fly-tipped. You could end up having to pay any subsequent fines or costs.
My advice would be not to make your decision on the lowest price but who you would rather let into your home and make contact with after the installation if you have any queries or issues with your new walk-in shower.
Presentable Reputable Organisation
The reputable walk-in shower installer's priority will be to ensure the adaption is designed and installed correctly for your needs and suitable for your home. They will also be members of or use contractors who are members of the correct trade bodies NICEIC - electrical work | Gas Safe Register - gas work | Construction Line - Installation safety and standards. Most will not ask for any money upfront and detailed payments at stages of completion or when you are satisfied, the agreed works have been carried out.
The cash in hand installer priority will be to get the most money for the least amount of work. Also, beware, they usually ask for full payment upfront - never do this.
3 - Wall and floor finishes to a Walk-in Shower room and fixtures and fittings
The biggest variation of cost can be the finishes to walls and floors. Tiling to both can be expensive, and the cost increases with the choice of tiles and the more walls you do - If you only have the shower area tiled, it will be cheaper than tiling every wall.
If an easy access shower is installed because of the user's reduced mobility, I prefer to use an anti-slip vinyl floor. This option is both cheaper and safer than a tiled floor. A tiled floor will also require underfloor heating again; this can be expensive and add the additional time required to complete the bathroom adaption.
The fixtures, fittings and shower room products can also vary greatly with showers ranging from £60 - over £1000; if a shower is required because of a user's reduced mobility, I would recommend a thermostatic shower a good quality one would cost around £300 + labour.
4 - A Disabled Facilities Grant
A Disabled Facilities Grant - DFG - is a grant from the council which can assist or pay in full the cost of any home adaption, including a walk-in shower room.
To be eligible for a DFG, you or someone living on your property must be disabled. Either you or the person you’re applying for must:
- own the property or be a tenant
- intend to live in the property during the grant period (which is currently 5 years)
You can also apply for a grant if you’re a landlord and have a disabled tenant.
The council needs to be happy that the work is:
- necessary and appropriate to meet the disabled person’s needs
- reasonable and can be done - depending on the age and condition of the property
These grants help and mean anyone who is assessed to require an adaption, including an easy access shower, can have one installed. The bathroom adaption will usually be designed by an Occupational Therapist working with the user and their family's requirements.
Although the products specified to be used by the Occupational Therapist are of good quality, the choice is limited and not of the higher end of the market.
You can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant here.
5 - Existing plumbing
Even though you will have a cold and hot water pipe in your bathroom from the basin and bath, the flow rate - how much water passes through the pipe-work and tap - may not be at the correct pressure to operate your new shower correctly. To rectify, this usually requires additional plumbing external to the bathroom.
The same factor could apply to the existing drainage for wastewater. Although there are waste/drainage pipes for the bath, toilet and basin, if these are not lower than the new easy access shower tray, additional plumbing or suction pumps will be required.
6 - Pay no VAT
If you're disabled or have a long term illness, you will not need to pay VAT. Adaptions to the home that facilitate and aid for reduced or limited mobility can be charged VAT free. To qualify, you must
- have a physical or mental impairment that affects your ability to carry out everyday activities, for example, blindness
- have a condition that’s treated as a chronic sickness, like diabetes
- you’re terminally ill
You will need to confirm in writing that you meet one or more of these conditions.
To give a more accurate estimate of walk-in shower prices, an assessment of personal requirements and a survey of your bathroom and home's plumbing/pipe-work, electrical installation, and building construction will need to be carried out. Some bathroom adaptions require little or no additional plumbing, electrics or building work, and for some, the additional work required could even double the cost to put in a walk-in shower.
A walk-in shower installation price, like all building projects, is largely affected by the quality and functionality of the fixtures and fixings installed and of the bathrooms wall and floor size. Although a Disabled Facilities Grant can, in some circumstances, pay for all or part of an adaption, your choice of products and even colour scheme options may be limited.
The most important factor I could recommend and advise to you is that the lowest quote to install a walk-in shower is not necessarily the best or cheapest option in the long and short term. You wouldn't buy a car just on its price. The car would need to be suitable for your personal needs and requirements for today and for the duration you intend to own it, reliable and recommend with a 5-star after-sales service and be appropriate for the road systems, fuel filling stations and service garages in your area.
The best judge of character is your gut feeling, and if something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.
Help contribute to this article and others reading it and leave us a comment below and tell us the cost that you have or would be happy to pay for a modern bathroom adaption—many thanks.
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Able (South) Ltd