Tile itself can be found pretty cheap. The big price difference is in the labor. Fiberglass installs are really easy and pretty fool-proof. Tile takes more work and care. Hope that answers your question a little bit.
Thanks Steve. I understand. Now I'll be on the hunt for the fiberglass and see what I have to choose from.
You could save and choose a middle ground option!
Purchase an acrylic shower pan and tile the walls :)
Thx Becky, I'll look at that option too. Do you know of any websites or stores that I can take a look at the difference?
Unless you go to a Home Center type store, its not likely you will find both in one place. The acrylic pan would be a Plumbing item.. Kohler, American Standard, Lasco, etc. .. they all sell them. A plumbing distributor would be able to answer quickly which has the best price.. lead time, etc.
When installing these? Its advantageous if you make a bed for it .. in other words, a backing. Ive seen a lot of contractors use a bucket of drywall mud. This allows the pan to have a solid backing so it does not feel like it gives when you step in.
You would use cement board behind the tile, and if you want to safe guard further you can use a brush on water proof membrane I used the following..
Depending on the tile/design you choose - all of this could be a DIY type of job if you rented a tile saw.
You should have a TON of higher end bath design showrooms, tile showrooms or bath contractor showrooms in your market. Also try visiting some higher end open houses in your area first to see what others have done. The pricing difference you will see is mostly about the labor...but somewhat about the tile depending on what you choose.
I decided to go with a shower base called "Florastone" and a sliding semi-frameless doors. I really like the contractor so next I have to go "tile" shopping and get a good bargain. He told me the sq. ft. to get and suggested Moen/Delta for a diverter.