By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Can't stand the ugly old walls surrounding your bathtub and want to replace them? Ceramic tile is a good choice because it will withstand continued wet and damp conditions. It's a tough and hardworking material that’s proven itself over the years. Today there’s a staggering selection of designs, shapes and sizes in ceramic wall tile that can handle the rainfall of water a busy tub receives and yet remain a tough, easy-to-clean surface. You can choose between wrapping the tiles up to the ceiling, extending tile up the walls at least 72 inches for protection or installing tile on all the bathroom walls.
A tile installer will charge $2,234 to remove the old tiles and replace them with new ceramic tiles and underlayment, which includes the labor and material. The material includes the ceramic wall tiles, rot-resistant tile backer underlayment, mastic and grout. The job involves removing the old tiles, underlayment and fixture, and installing new underlayment, tiles and grout and reinstalling the fixtures. If new fixtures are used, it will add to the cost. While the work is underway, it’s important to protect the bottom of the tub with heavy cardboard or dropcloth.
A good cement backerboard underlayment is the best type of material for applying ceramic tile in a bathtub surround. It’s a thin layer of concrete with fiberglass mesh on both sides so it is a tough durable surface. Wear work gloves and safety goggles when working with this material to prevent the tiny flecks from getting into your eyes or hurting your hands.
DIY Hassle Alert
If you discover rotten wallboard or damage behind the existing surround you will have to spend considerable time and money repairing the damage so the new surface is dry, sound and level before installing the underlayment and tiles.
Assuming a handy homeowner has tools and some tiling experience, he or she can do the work for $850, the cost of the materials, and save 62 percent. This is a long weekend job so plan accordingly. You'll need basic tiling tools, including a notched trowel, tile cutter and nipper, grout float and a bucket for mixing the grout. These tools can be rented where you buy the tiles or at most rental centers.
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The average price to tile a tub surround noted above is cost data to compare a contractor’s estimate with doing it yourself. Tweak the data by adding your ZIP Code to find a local cost.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020