By Gene and Katie Hamilton

In a bathroom with a well-used bathtub, the three surrounding walls need to withstand continued wet and damp conditions, and ceramic tile is a tried and true 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.

A tile installer will charge $1051 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 AlertDIY 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 some tiling experience, he or she can do the work for $400, the cost of the materials, and save 61 percent. 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.

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.

Cost updated 2016

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