Ashburn, VA

How much does a shower cartridge replacement cost?

$100 – $350 average cost to replace

Shower cartridge replacement costs $100 to $350 on average, including labor and materials. Plumbers charge $90 to $270 for labor to replace a shower valve cartridge. A shower faucet cartridge costs $10 to $80 for the part alone, depending on the brand, type, and material.

Get free estimates from plumbers near you, or view our cost guide below.

September 23, 2021

Reviewed by Tom Grupa and 5 expert plumbers on HomeGuide.

Shower cartridge replacement cost

The cost to replace a shower cartridge is $100 to $350. A faucet cartridge costs $10 to $80, depending on the brand, material, and valve type. Plumbers charge $90 to $270 in labor to replace a shower cartridge. Some shower valve cartridges are covered by a lifetime parts warranty.

Shower cartridge replacement cost - chart
Shower cartridge replacement cost - chart

Shower cartridge replacement cost
National average cost $210
Minimum cost $70
Maximum cost $400
Average cost range $100 to $350

Cost data is from research and project costs reported by HomeGuide members.

Plumber cost to replace a shower cartridge

Professional plumbers charge $90 to $270 plus the cost of materials to replace a shower cartridge. Plumbing labor rates are $45 to $150 per hour, with minimum call-out fees of $50 to $200. Replacing a shower cartridge takes 30 minutes to 1 hour on average.

Plumber cost to replace a shower cartridge
Plumber cost to replace a shower cartridge

Plumber cost to replace a shower cartridge
Factor Average cost
Shower faucet cartridge $10 – $80
Plumber's labor $90 – $270
Total $100 – $350
Get free quotes from plumbers near you. View Pros

Shower cartridge replacement cost by brand

A shower faucet cartridge costs $10 to $80 on average for the part alone. Cartridges from brands like Moen, Grohe, and Delta are priced at the high end of the range. Danco manufactures cheaper generic options for most brand-name cartridges.

Shower cartridge replacement cost by brand
Brand Shower cartridge unit price Total replacement cost
American Standard $15 – $50 $100 – $315
Delta $20 – $80 $105 – $345
Grohe/Hansgrohe $25 – $85 $110 – $350
Kohler $30 – $60 $115 – $325
Moen (standard) $15 – $50 $100 – $315
Moen (posi-temp) $60 – $80 $145 – $345
Price Pfister $20 – $40 $105 – $305
Danco $10 – $40 $95 – $305

Shower cartridge up close
Shower cartridge up close

Shower valve assembly replacement

A shower valve regulates the flow of hot and cold water to maintain a consistent water temperature and may need to be replaced. Shower valve replacement costs $225 to $575. Replacement costs more for thermostatic mixing valves or valves that must be accessed through the back of the wall.

If the shower valve can't be accessed from a hole behind the center trim plate (escutcheon), the plumber may need to remove tiles, use an access panel, or go through the drywall behind the shower.

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Shower cartridge cost factors

The following factors affect the cost to replace a shower cartridge:

  • Manufacturer's warranty – Some manufacturers warranty their shower cartridges for life. Confirm whether the cartridge is covered under warranty before purchasing replacement parts.
  • Material – Brass and ceramic cartridges cost more but last longer than plastic cartridges.
  • Accessibility – Shower cartridges are easily accessible by removing the faucet handle and trim plate. If the cartridge breaks during removal, the plumber may need to drill into the cartridge to remove the portion that remains stuck in the valve.
  • Brand – Cartridges from popular brands like Moen, Delta, and Grohe cost more. Cheaper generic options are available for most cartridges but may not have the same quality.
  • DIY vs. professional – DIY shower cartridge replacement saves $90 to $270 on labor costs.
  • Home Warranty – Some home warranties cover shower cartridge replacement. Check the warranty policy to confirm the coverage details.

Shower valve cartridge types

Shower cartridges are designed specifically to fit single-handle or dual-handle faucets:

  • Single-handle faucets use a dual-function mixing cartridge. Moving the faucet handle up and down controls the water volume, while turning the handle to the left or right controls the temperature.
  • Dual-handle faucets use a separate cartridge for each handle to control the hot or cold water flow independently. The cartridges are typically hot- or cold-water specific.
  • Diverter cartridges are used in tub/shower diverter valves to direct the water flow to the tub spout or shower head.

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DIY cost to replace a shower valve cartridge

DIY shower cartridge replacement costs $40 to $120, including the new cartridge and the required tools and supplies:

  • Screwdriver
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Silicone lubricant or plumber's grease
  • Waterproof caulk
  • Cartridge puller tool (required for some cartridges)

When removing the old cartridge, observe the orientation of the cartridge to the notches in the faucet to ensure the new cartridge is inserted the same way.

Some cartridges have a retainer clip that must be removed before the cartridge may be pulled out. Be careful not to drop the clip into the hole around the faucet when removing it.

Before DIY, get free estimates from local plumbers. View Pros

Shower cartridge repair kit cost

A shower cartridge repair kit costs $3 to $14 and typically includes replacement O-rings or washers, springs, and lubricant. Replacing the O-rings and springs may delay the need for a new cartridge, but plumbers recommend replacing the entire cartridge instead to prevent new leaks from forming.

Shower cartridge removal tool cost

A shower cartridge removal tool costs $13 to $20 for a generic puller. Moen cartridge pullers cost $25 to $50. Some cartridges must be removed with a special tool, while others can be removed with standard needle-nosed pliers. Check with the manufacturer to confirm which tool is required.

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Signs of a bad shower cartridge

Look for these signs that a shower cartridge needs to be replaced:

  • Dripping or leaking water from the handle, shower head, or tub spout even when turned off
  • Shower handle gets stuck or is difficult to turn
  • Shower handle slips and won't turn the water on
  • Grinding or squeaking sound when turning the shower handle
  • Weak water pressure
  • Faucet is unable to produce very cold or very hot water

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What is a shower cartridge?

A shower cartridge controls the flow of hot and cold water from the faucet. The cartridge is contained within the shower valve and connects to the faucet handle. When the handle is turned, the cartridge slides forward to allow hot or cold water to flow through the tap.

Single-handle cartridges control both water volume and temperature, while dual-handle cartridges control the hot or cold water volume separately.

Should I repair or replace my shower cartridge?

Some shower faucet leaks can be repaired by cleaning the cartridge with a vinegar solution to remove mineral deposits or by replacing the O-rings using a cartridge repair kit. Plumbers recommend replacing the cartridge instead if there are any nicks or cracks on the surface.

How to identify what type of shower cartridge I need?

The easiest way to identify the shower cartridge type is to consult the faucet's installation manual or search the manufacturer's website for the faucet series and model number. The series number may often be found on the underside of the faucet or the trim around it.

If the faucet series and model number are not available, the cartridge must be removed for identification based on its length and the size and shape of the broach on its stem. Refer to a cartridge identification guide or bring the cartridge to a local hardware store.

Are shower valves and cartridges universal?

Shower cartridges are not universal and are not interchangeable between faucets or brands. Each manufacturer uses brand-specific cartridges, and the correct cartridge type depends on the faucet model and shower valve type. When replacing an old cartridge, use a new cartridge with the same part number.

How long do shower cartridges last?

A shower faucet cartridge lasts 10 to 30 years, depending on the brand, material, and how well it is maintained. Follow the manufacturer's maintenance instructions and clean the faucet regularly with a 50/50 vinegar and water solution to keep the cartridge operating smoothly.

Hard water and lime build-up may cause the cartridge to wear out more quickly. Installing a water softener costs $800 to $2,500 and extends the lifespan of all plumbing fixtures in the home.

Still have questions? Ask a pro. View Pros

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Finding and hiring a plumber

When hiring a professional plumber to replace your shower cartridge, be sure to:

  • Confirm if a manufacturer's warranty covers the malfunctioning parts.
  • Get at least three estimates from local plumbers to compare.
  • Look for licensed plumbers with experience repairing showers and faucets.
  • Browse their reviews on HomeGuide, Google, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • Select companies that are insured, bonded, and have been in business for more than five years.
  • Avoid selecting the lowest quote as quality may suffer.
  • Get a detailed estimate, contract, and warranty in writing before the work begins.
  • Never pay in full before the project starts. Follow a payment plan instead for work completed.

Questions to ask

  • Is the shower cartridge covered under warranty?
  • Should I replace the cartridge or replace the whole valve instead?
  • How long will it take to replace the cartridge?
  • What additional costs should I expect?
  • How long should the new cartridge last?
  • Does a warranty cover the new parts? If so, how long is the warranty, and what does it cover?
  • Do you provide a warranty on the repairs?

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