Educating The Budget Client on Tile shower pricing

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by RedShoecounterbalance, Apr 27, 2014.

  1. RedShoecounterbalance

    RedShoecounterbalance Active Member

    Messages:
    459
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Professional tradesman ( NO JIM you don't qualify!!!) but im sure you'll chime in.


    Lets open A discussion on the price of a tile shower ?

    How do we educate clients that are shopping your services that have already been mis-informed by the online community, box stores etc.. They want the quality you offer but at the price of a cheap craigslist deal say? surely all of you Tile pros run into this. ( AD nauseum)

    This guy has some valid videos on youtube

    http://youtu.be/hIQ92ZW8nVQ


    In a world of vendor's and MFG's telling homeowner's to DIY and cheapening the tile trade as a whole, Im getting some classic lines from homeowners these days!!!


    " I was gonna do it myself I just dont have the time, i watched the video "

    "I already bought all the materials!!!! the ( $12/hr) guy at The orange store set me up with this orange box kit and bucket of the glue and grout!! he said a tile shower is usually around 3K all said and done, I found a guy on craigslist for 2K but he wants to return the bags of mortar and use mastic to speed it up and save us time and money, how come your price is 6K?"

    "We dont need A plumber to install the valve and drain, ill get someone from craigslist if you wont do it for me. we dont need permits or inspections its my house" ( AD nauseum)


    I'm finding people these days are confused with online "opinions" (FWIW JIM) and really have no grasp of what it takes and how much it should cost to build a professional quality tile shower in 2014 (Location and market specific of course).


    Sure we can explain again and again : Skilled vs. Not, Licensed vs. Not, Insured vs. Not, Quality vs. Slop, Warranty vs. NOT, materials and TCNA methods, ANSI specs , DRY/CURE time, Flood testing, NTCA etc.


    Straight from The PROS mouth:


    John? Roberto? Just a drip?


    A. WHY does a Tile shower cost what it does?

    B. Why does it take a few weeks or more? this other guy says it will be done in 2 days and ready for use and hes only 2K!

    C.What questions SHOULD the novice homeowner be asking ?
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2014
  2. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,554
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Great discussion idea.

    I built this shower for some clients here in North Vancouver a couple years back.

    [​IMG]

    They called me a month or so back and asked me to price their brothers place. They had three quotes come in. My quote was double the others... I lost the job.

    I priced in a total rebuild. Added structure. Double subfloor. Levelling. Strata Mat. Custom shower. Cement Board...... you know. My style of building things to last.

    But the other guys came in with a low ball quote......

    Seems they where OK installing 12"x24" Travertine over plywood subfloor and Ditra. The other guys planned to use a foam kit for the shower base. Drywall I guess for the shower walls.

    Now the home owners watch a lot of DIY TV and they where fine with the material selection.

    It will be a good case study for me. Since I know the clients well they will be able to compare the two jobs. Their shower and bathroom is two years old and looks mint. Will see how the new shower and bathroom look in a couple of years. I suspect the floor grout will turn nasty and the tile outside the shower will crack. I could feel deflection underfoot and there was a strange crown to the floor. I fear that the floor joist where cantilevered over a support beam (my gut read). Time will tell.

    This would be a great discussion if the Kerdi Salesman stays away. But you know what's coming? Millions of installs.... blaa blab blaa

    A. WHY does a Tile shower cost what it costs?

    - Material Selection
    - Flood Test
    - Fastener Choice
    - Cement Board vs crap drywall
    - waterproofing materials
    - tolerances
    - micro bevelling of tile edges


    B. Why does it take a few weeks or more? this other guy says it will be done in 2 days and ready for use and hes only 2K!


    - Material Selection
    - Flood Test
    - Fastener Choice
    - Cement Board vs crap drywall
    - waterproofing materials
    - tolerances
    - micro bevelling of tile edges

    C.What questions SHOULD the novice homeowner be asking ?

    The homeowner should ask every question under the sun. What are they getting? Who is doing the work? What products will be used? What is acceptable as a standard....

    I have a question Interview discussion here: http://www.terrylove.com/forums/sho...enovation-contractor-Top-Ten-Questions-to-ask!
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2014
    higgledy likes this.
  3. eurob

    eurob master tile and stone installer

    Messages:
    775
    Location:
    Montreal
    That's a good idea RSCB .

    In all my on line experience , a real pro's advice is not an opinion . When homeowners or OP are asking questions , most of the time the real pros will answer with the right ways of doing it , not opinions .

    The real question is how you discerned among the answers on line ? If You have to rely on answers and recommendations from manufacturers , then you don't need to look at any other external answers , but follow their advice -- mfgs -- .

    If tricks of trade , construction tips and ways of doing is needed , then discussions are relevant . However , since discussions go from basic materials and construction , to specific , complex and specialized materials and construction , it is a gamble to choose where you stop in choices .

    We all want the best service and professional installations , but there are many which say '' It is not necessary '' or '' I don't believe you '' or etc. A professional will always have the best materials and techniques ready to be applied on the specific project . It gets problematic when the decider -- client -- start to reduce the quality of the materials used and the deadline of the completion of the work.

    Take grout for example , using a regular cementituous grout is cheaper than an epoxy one , but the degradation and contamination of the regular one is much more pronounced than the specialized -- epoxy -- grout . It is so easy to say no to the more expensive choice , but when the maintenance becomes a problem , all of the best advices and materials resurface . Pointing fingers is too late , especially when the options were available before the starting point of the build.

    Deadlines are most of the time standing in the way of doing it right . The balance in between the amount charged and the longevity of the installation may tell a lot , right from the beginning . If a shower is completed in 3 days , then you know for sure that the flood test -- one of the steps needed -- was not done .

    So much to explore .....let's see how it turns . :)
  4. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,554
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    We should also do "how to build a shower as cheap as possible" discussion. This really is how most showers are built anyway.

    If we define the cheapest possible as a benchmark we can then go up from there.

    In BC you can use a $14.00 drain. A 30 mil Oatley liner (no pre-slope needed). Densheild on the walls. Sand and cement shower pan. Some expanded lath and roofing nails (making sure to hammer into the liner of course) Mastic on the floors and wall and Kerabond grout....

    Good to go!!!

    Approved in every city.

    How most showers are in fact built in Vancouver.

    What's not to love.

    Fast.

    Code Approved.

    Everyone does it.... Why change from what's done millions of times every week in North America?
  5. RedShoecounterbalance

    RedShoecounterbalance Active Member

    Messages:
    459
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Good idea John.... Lets say a 3x3 shower. Lets say its demo'd already and the plumber already installed a basic valve, head, and a new clamp ring drain flange. Assume its all in good clean shape and over 16" o.c joist with good 3/4 ply. 8' ceiling??? Lets budget for 110sqft of ceramic tile at $5 sqft.
  6. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,554
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Most tile men here in Vancouver charge between $250.00 and $350.00 for the mortar bed over the liner.

    Most drywall crews can install Denshield for 80 cents a square foot.

    Tile install from Home Depot is cheap. Like $3.00 a square.

    Done and done.
  7. RedShoecounterbalance

    RedShoecounterbalance Active Member

    Messages:
    459
    Location:
    Minnesota
    OK so lets do some aprox. math here...... based on Johns numbers and big box avg prices....


    CHEAP BUDGET shower Materials list. *

    7 ea denshield @ $80

    Screws or fasteners, fiber tape,@ $30

    4 bags shower pan/mud mix. @ $30

    1 Preslope ( proslope) $50 ( code required in my area)

    5 ft' oatey liner @ $55

    110 sq ft tile @ $550

    4 bags good! thinset @ $120

    1 color grout @ $20

    2 silicone/grout caulk. @ $15

    1 sheet Lath @ $15

    Fat mud for curb @ $5

    Basic materials needed. lets add some tax and call it $1K USA

    ???what are we missing here for a cheap fast buget build?????



    Cheapest Budget shower labor *

    Install Backer $.80sq/ft @ 75 sq' = $60

    Install preslope @ $??? ( cheapest is a foam pre slope and required in my area)

    Install pan liner @ $ ???? ( in my area the tile guy does this? plumber? )

    Screed/pour pan/curb & set drain height.@ $ 250-350?

    Big box installer 3 sq.ft @ $330 ( do we really believe this is the end actual price? do big boxs mislead folks?)

    Grouting/sealing/ silicone @$????


    Okay John is that all it takes ??????? what are we missing here ???? can you fill in the blanks ......


    Should WE even consider time and fuel to procure materials? protecting the clients home/surrounding area, additional framing, jobsite conditions, weather restraints to cutting outside, tool upkeep, $50 saw blades, buckets, tapes, insurance, permits , Flood testing, invoicing/bookeeping/phone and site visit consultation time, unruly clients, JOBSITE CONDITIONS etc?



    People all day long want to know why a tile shower isnt $2-3K even a low budget cheap fast shower but lets try and get there?


    Any of you tile pros have anything to add?????
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2014
  8. Vegas_sparky

    Vegas_sparky Eat kitty

    Messages:
    321
    Location:
    LV,NV/ Nowhere,UT
    You guys that do this for a living are nuts. There's easier ways to make money for sure!

    Every other floor in your house just has to hold stuff up. Damn shower floor has to hold stuff up, get soaked with water, and direct all that water to a hole you've put in it. After all that, it better last. Sure sounds easy enough. Yeah, right.
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,882
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    All you can do is give them a price, and hold to it. IF they are interested, they will ask questions, but if they are just "kicking tires", or have already selected someone and just want to make sure he is "cheapest', then you are better off not wasting your time. Hwever, I NEVER give a detailed parts list of what I am going to use, nor do I tell them HOW I am going to do it. Let "George" figure it out for himself.
  10. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,554
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Who's George?

    Does he tile? LOL

    Nice to see your town requires a pre-slope. In Vancouver and surrounding areas it's recommended. It's in the Plumbing Officials hand book. But not enforceable so rarely do I see it.

    I see more showers where the drain is raised and the shower liner holds a 1/4" plus water than I see a pre-slope. The better builders insist on it but the budget crews just slap it down. Sometimes the guys sweep at least under the liner.... LOL

    Your break down excludes a niche. Like $250.00. Excludes Tile edging. About $45.00 up charge.


    Those low ball quotes are for snap cut tile. No wet saw work. No micro bevel.

    No mitered corners....

    I'll call Home Depot tomorrow and ask for a price list. Will see what they say.

    They have many "PROS" they recommend. I'll find out what they charge.


    The only way to build a shower from Home Depot is to use a Kerdi Kit. But of course you can not buy Ardex 8+9 there. Or Kerdi Fix. And if you want to flood get the shower your SOL because Home Depot in vancouver does not sell test plugs....
  11. RedShoecounterbalance

    RedShoecounterbalance Active Member

    Messages:
    459
    Location:
    Minnesota
    OK were almost there ....now im thinkin we cant even do it for 3k. Were gonna need lunch for the 3 day duration and i need my coffee, also we forgot about shower glass, or curtain rods??? Theres a variable of say $25-$1200?
  12. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,554
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    [​IMG]

    About $400.00 with tax for Material.

    $60.00 Shower fixtures

    $450.00 plumber

    $450.00 install

    Under $1500.00

    Nice!
  13. eurob

    eurob master tile and stone installer

    Messages:
    775
    Location:
    Montreal
  14. RedShoecounterbalance

    RedShoecounterbalance Active Member

    Messages:
    459
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Good read Roberto, great products better support at the blue company!! never have orange headaches with this type of pan, Richards type image.jpg
  15. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,554
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Counter Balance that is not true.

    You can still use the orange product - just buy Dal Seal TS. It's the same as Noble Seal TS but orange. Made for Dal Tile - private label.

    Other than out preforming Kerdi in almost every way Noble Comapny's NobleSeal TS can be tied into any two piece clamping drain. And you can use the liner as a traditional kind (mortar on top) or as a topical approach (when using the Noble Flex Flashing) as shown above.

    What I like about this is when you get to a job and there is a cheap liner. Just rip it out. Add your pre slope (use the Noble Flex Flashing) and you can upgrade a cheap drain cheap liner to a more premium install. The flashings are under $30.00....
  16. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,554
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Roberto that test plug works fine. It fits inside the drain and inside the vertical leg of the waste line. So it does check both the drain and the waste line hooked up to the drain. The real problem with those plugs is the quality of steel. I find one in three break while tightening or loosening. Might be my man hands have too much power - but I chalk it up to piece of crap Asian Steel.

    Sometimes the top cap is a little large for a drain. Then you need to grind it down some. Yet another plus for the inflatable test plug.

    Have you noticed online none ever complains about a flood test with Noble's products either. No wicking issues into the seams. No capillary issues. They do happen. You need a capillary break as well with Noble's products. But the seams get a sealant (Noble Sealant 150) not cheap ass thin-set.
  17. RedShoecounterbalance

    RedShoecounterbalance Active Member

    Messages:
    459
    Location:
    Minnesota
    The noble thinbed pan w concrete curb & noble flex to me offers the best of both worlds. A solid weep system right where it should be, yet you dont have to live with a moist mud
    Pan . This and the flood test is why my client hired me and paid a premium yet fair price. The pan is over her kitchen table ! So there is an example of a fllood tested shower pan that was around $700...... Now we are getting back to pricing a tile shower
  18. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,554
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    $700 for just the pan - waterproofing and flood test?

    I charge roughly $150 for a cement curb $85.00 a square for the pan and waterproofing with flood test.

    3'x4' shower 12 square * 85 $900 + $150 curb Roughly $1050.00 for the base. No tile - No grout.

    Stopped in today at Home Depot for pricing but they where so busy. Bought some peel and stick floor prep for product testing......

    Counter Balance have you done any thermal breaks for floor heat over concrete basement floors? Called NuHeat and they recommend three options. One was the Easy Mat from Custom. Going to test it for shear and Tensile strength. Helping out a fellow in Winnipeg design his basement barrier free shower build.

    He ordered a Noble Linear drain and will be using Noble Seal TS through out. Wants to heat the floor....
  19. Vegas_sparky

    Vegas_sparky Eat kitty

    Messages:
    321
    Location:
    LV,NV/ Nowhere,UT
    What a timely post. After I finish up my master bathroom, I have a floor to set in the basement bathroom. Its SOG, and I'll be installing floor heat. How would I incorporate a thermal break? I've also got one crack in the slab running across the room. No significant elevation difference across the crack. Easymat(or something), heating cable, SLC, tile?
  20. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,554
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Wrong thread Vegas.... LOL go have some more coffee!!!
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