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When You Need a Shower Remodel vs. Shower Replacement

5 min read
  • Design Trends

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Shower Remodel vs. Shower Replacement

Enhancing the functionality and aesthetics of your shower is achievable through two options: shower replacements and shower remodeling. While each approach addresses different aspects of your shower space, how do you know which avenue is right for you? Understanding the differences between a shower remodel and shower replacement is key to building the shower of your dreams.

What is a Shower Remodel?

Shower remodeling is a comprehensive transformation that involves altering your shower’s layout, design and location. A shower remodeling project involves the help of contractors, plumbers, electricians and interior designers, giving you the power to change almost anything in your shower. Depending on your project’s needs, a shower remodel can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

What is a Shower Replacement?

Shower replacements require little to no demolition, tile work or plumbing modifications. As the ideal choice for situations where only the facade of your shower needs to be updated, shower replacements give you the opportunity to upgrade fixtures and materials based on your changing style preferences or routines. Shower replacements still update the look and feel of your shower but take less time to install and cause fewer disruptions.

Walk-In Shower

woman wrapped in towel in bathroom

For a shower that needs a reimagined look and added accessibility, a walk-in shower is the perfect solution. Replacing your old tub with a low step-in base creates more standing space within your shower. Your walk-in shower can include a combination of sleek design features plus comfort and safety features that make your rinsing ritual easier.

Tub-Shower Combo

woman standing by a bathtub with sliding glass doors

While a walk-in shower adds plenty of functionality to your showering routine, adding a bathtub base makes space for a relaxing soak. Tub-shower combos allow you to end your evening in an indulging rinse or a calming soak and are ideal for a bathroom with multiple users and routines.

Key Differences Between a Shower Remodel and a Shower Replacement

The key difference between a shower remodel and a shower replacement is the scope of the project.


Because a remodeling job takes ample planning, expect demolition day to be messy and labor-intensive. Based on your shower, demolition may take longer than expected, especially if you’re moving your shower and dealing with the plumbing system.

With a shower replacement, your shower is completely removed and replaced with a new unit. This doesn’t enable you to change your shower’s location, but you can still add more sprays or expand the size of your shower’s footprint. Installation can be completed in as little as one day, taking significantly less effort to get the job done.

Plumbing Rework

If you want to move your shower to another part of your bathroom or change its overall size, a shower remodel is the best course of action. Extra plumbing work isn’t typically required when upgrading your shower’s appearance and function like in a shower replacement. Reworking a plumbing system and moving your shower’s location will require outside help—a plumber can assess your bathroom and configure the best plan for your shower remodel.

Structural Fixes

A spongy tub or shower floor likely indicates damage to your shower’s structure, often requiring a remodel. If left unresolved, damage to your shower’s structure may cause problems for the rest of your bathroom and even your home’s foundation. A shower replacement may fix the problem temporarily, but you’ll need to address any damage at the source to prevent future issues.

Drain Repositioning

Kohler LuxStone shower bases and walls are customizable to match your bathroom style.

Walk-in shower and tub-shower combinations typically offer three drain configurations: left-handed, centered, and right-handed. If you’re unhappy with your drain’s location, remodeling your shower to rework drainage pipes and plumbing is an option, though it can quickly get expensive. Replacing your shower will allow you to replace any fixtures but will not allow you to adjust their placement.

How Much Does a Shower Remodel Cost?

Each shower is unique, so the final cost of a shower remodel depends on the intricacies of the project, the features and accessories chosen and the shower style you select. Before you make any decisions, it’s best to set a budget for your shower renovation, which may help you decide whether a remodel or replacement is the best option.

Transform Your Shower with KOHLER® LuxStone®

During your free in-home quote, your KOHLER Authorized Dealer will help you to determine which type is best for your project based on your needs, style preferences and budget. Elevate your bathing routine by scheduling your free estimate today!

Request A Free Design Consultation

or call to speak with a KOHLER Authorized Dealer (800) 704-9847