Home & Garden

Shower Repair and Tiling Cost

  • Last Updated:
  • Sep 11th, 2019 4:49 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 1, 2015
53 posts
20 upvotes
Toronto

Shower Repair and Tiling Cost

Recently we have noticed that we are having some leaking coming from our second floor shower. The roof of the first floor has some small (~10" diameter) spots that are caused by leakage from the shower above. I am almost certain it's due to poor grouting on our shower tile since we have some non-small cracks forming in the grout and minor separation between grout and tile. The shower is approx. 32" x 40" x 80" - two sides are tiled the other two are glass wall. There's approximately 45 sq ft. of tile total.

We've reach out to a contractor that we got from word of mouth recommendation. They came over and agreed it's likely bad tiling/grouting. To fix it we need to pull off the existing tile, check for any extensive water damage or mold in the walls. If not major issues replace the vapor barrier, re-tile and grout. Then reinstall the existing shower base and two glass walls.

The quote we received seemed overpriced and I was hoping someone could give me an idea of what's normal for Toronto market. The contractors quote was ~ $6500 ($5400 labour, $1100 materials). Quote was for 2 full time contractors for 5 days which seems ridiculous for the size of the job. A rough provided breakdown:

- 1 day demo
- 1 day to repair wall, install insulation/vapor barrier and seal, install shower base and tile backer
- 1 day install tiles
- 1 day grout
- 1 day reinstall fixtures and cleanup

2 labour days of tiling and 2 for grouting seems extreme. Same with a full day for fixture installation and cleanup. Am I being unreasonable or is the quote too high? The quote assumes there's no extensive damage like mold or significant water damage.

Thanks very much!
23 replies
Newbie
Jun 26, 2019
40 posts
20 upvotes
I think you're generally right with the quote being a bit on the high side, and the days being a bit long. This said, although he states that its 2 full time people for 5 days, the fact that its $5400 for labour, seems to indicate that these are less than full days, or maybe just one of them is a helper who has a greatly reduced charge out rate.

Most of the time one worker is sufficient to do demo and most of the prep work, however 2 can speed a lot of aspects up.

Also, is there a curb, how do the walls work, do they have to take them down or interact with them at all?

If I were to scale down some of my bathroom renos to just the shower, it would probably look something like this:

Day 1: Longer day, Demo, prep/repair damage, install drywall/kerdi.
Day 2: Would be a pretty quick day, just install the floor tiles.
Day 3: Maybe a half day? install wall tiles.
Day 4: Again, pretty quick day, just grouting.
Day 5: Again, pretty quick day, fixture install.

So it would probably take 5 days, however a lot of those I would only be at your house for a bit. The main issue with projects like this is fitting them in, and they incur a lot of travel time/expenses. Also, Im assuming you're not touching the glass at all, that would add a more time as well.

So something like that, might be at least 24 hours total, x2 people, plus maybe a bit extra in travel/picking up materials to be conservative, so that bill could add up to $5400 pretty easily. Or if they are a master/helper and spend a bit more time there, that could make sense as well.

So all in all, seems a bit high, but overall I could see how all the hours can add up to this amount. It just requires more visits compared to time, and it adds up even though most of those days won't be full days. They also might be charging a premium for scheduling this in, as they may not be able to fit in other items that day.

Lastly, I would advise you install a Kerdi kit/membrane, its well worth the cost, and would stop this issue in the future.

Hope it helps!
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 1, 2015
53 posts
20 upvotes
Toronto
Thank you very much for the quick and detailed reply! Really appreciate it. Will definitely look into the Kerdi kit/membrane!

From your experience for Days 3-5 I understand that all items need to happen on different days but are two people really necessary? For tiling I can understand someone helping to prep the tiles but what's the benefit of the second for grouting or fixture install. It seems like overkill to have them; but I'm a total novice and don't really know much about the process so appreciate any insight.

I suppose I was thinking in terms of hours it would be something like:

Day 1: demo, prep/repair, install drywall and kerdi: 8 hours, 2 people = 16 hours total
Day 2: Reinstall shower base 4 hours, 1 person = 4 hours total
Day 3: Install wall tiles, 4 hours 2 people = 8 hours total
Day 4: Grout, 4 hours, 1 person = 4 hours total
Day 5: fixtures and cleanup, 4 hours, 1 person = 4 hours total

Based on that timeline (which I don't know if it's reasonable) it would be a total of 32 hours, say plus 4 hours for travel/materials pickup = 36 hours. At the quote of $5400 that ~36 hours comes to about $150/hr.
Newbie
Jan 2, 2019
48 posts
63 upvotes
That is a $3500-$4000 job with material of it being around $500. Please do not estimate hours if you have no idea about the work involved, really bugs me when customers try to do that.
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 1, 2015
53 posts
20 upvotes
Toronto
No malicious intent. I was just trying to understand the timeline breakdown. I am just trying to rationalize in a transparent way the estimate for 2 people x 5 days.
Penalty Box
User avatar
Mar 10, 2018
2795 posts
186 upvotes
Its bit on high side. Mine was small and was done in half the amount. But recently I found good people are hard to find. If the guy is good as you must have some feedback then worth it.
I dont care about Ethics, morals, rules or laws. You guys seem trapped by the confines of your own ideologies.
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Deal Addict
Jan 19, 2011
2814 posts
1014 upvotes
poor or cracked grouting should not lead to leaks. Whatever waterproofing membrane or system used in the initial construction has failed, and needs to be investigated and properly repaired. Grout is by no means waterproof.

Essentially you are looking at a basic re do of the shower enclosure, but ensure it is done properly this time, as it clearly was not done properly by the first contractor or builder.

Your price quoted, and timeline is a relative bargain if the job is done properly.
"The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is."
Just a guy who dabbles in lots of stuff learning along the way. I do have opinions, and readily share them!
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 2, 2012
2648 posts
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KINGSTON,ON
fieldhousehandyman wrote:
Sep 10th, 2019 6:52 pm
poor or cracked grouting should not lead to leaks. Whatever waterproofing membrane or system used in the initial construction has failed, and needs to be investigated and properly repaired. Grout is by no means waterproof.

Essentially you are looking at a basic re do of the shower enclosure, but ensure it is done properly this time, as it clearly was not done properly by the first contractor or builder.

Your price quoted, and timeline is a relative bargain if the job is done properly.
I concur. The tile and grout have zero to do with leakage. In fact, you should be able to shower without any grout in place at all.
You also don't mention the shower base composition. I'm going to assume it's not tile.
Also, be prepared for the costs to increase if the leakage has gone on for any length of time.
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 1, 2015
53 posts
20 upvotes
Toronto
MrFrugal1 wrote:
Sep 11th, 2019 1:53 am
I concur. The tile and grout have zero to do with leakage. In fact, you should be able to shower without any grout in place at all.
You also don't mention the shower base composition. I'm going to assume it's not tile.
Also, be prepared for the costs to increase if the leakage has gone on for any length of time.
Thanks for your response. It's a Utile Maxx Base (not tile). Yeah we recognize the price could go up steeply if there's any significant hidden issues like mold, extensive rot, or anything else.
Newbie
Nov 10, 2015
64 posts
37 upvotes
Thornhill, ON
You are already spending in the thousands so id recommend doing it properly so itll never leak again. Go for a kerdi kit or similar. Maybe buy the products yourself and just pay them for labor? That way you know the materials are good
Member
Sep 5, 2011
280 posts
208 upvotes
MISSISSAUGA
ethanpurdy wrote:
Sep 11th, 2019 9:12 am
Thanks for your response. The quote was for a poor shower membrane; something like this: https://www.homedepot.ca/product/everbi ... 1000113373

Based on the feedback from here and elsewhere I think I'm going to look into getting a better kit. Something like a Kerdi Kit.
That is not for waterproofing. It is just insulation vapour barrier--one pin hole in that plastic and you will have to rip everything out again.
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Jan 2, 2012
2648 posts
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KINGSTON,ON
Have you exhausted all possible leak points?
Here are some things that I've come across over the years.

1)Tile grout lines that run through the shower control escutcheon, (or other penetrations) which negates the foam seal.
2) A leak at the shower arm/drop ear connection in the wall (this often doesn't show on testing without the pressure resistance of a shower head attached).
3) Improper caulking at the glass to wall location, especially on those Maxx assemblies. The silicone must be applied to the exterior only, otherwise the metal tracks fill with water. This is often accompanied by peeling paint on baseboards and sometimes spongy drywall at the corners of the shower base.

The grout cracking is odd, and while it could be a result of a poor water to grout ratio when installed, it usually means there is movement going on. That could be caused by bad tile to wall adhesion, bad substrate (wall board to studs), or the wall assembly itself moving.

The price does seem a bit high, but there are so many variables. Perhaps the contractor has built in the cost overrun somewhat, rather then come back to you half way through to ask for more money. Most clients are reasonable and understand that there may be other things going on that will affect the price. Sometimes they don't, or lack they funds to cover the overruns.
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 1, 2015
53 posts
20 upvotes
Toronto
kammj1 wrote:
Sep 11th, 2019 9:32 am
You are already spending in the thousands so id recommend doing it properly so itll never leak again. Go for a kerdi kit or similar. Maybe buy the products yourself and just pay them for labor? That way you know the materials are good
Thanks a lot for your response. A bunch of people hare recommended a Kerdi Kit so I think we will try to go with something like that. It looks like the Kits some with a pre-fab base, waterproofing membranes, and corners. If we already have a good base we could just buy the other parts separately right?
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 1, 2015
53 posts
20 upvotes
Toronto
Thanks a lot for your response. A bunch of people hare recommended a Kerdi Kit so I think we will try to go with something like that instead. It looks like the Kits some with a pre-fab base, waterproofing membranes, and corners. If we already have a good base we could just buy the other parts separately right?

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