Bath tub wall repair . . . .

New to the newsgroup.
My house is 35 years old. I have a bathtub enclosure - regular tub with three tiled walls. The tiles are falling off the walls (behind the the tiles there appears to be some kind of paper - I don't know if that is relevant) and the subsurface is crumbling. I had been re-attaching individual tiles with grout for a long time but the time has come to tear the tiles down and start over with something different. Problem is, I'm a geologist not a carpenter.
Here is what I'm thinking and I want some sage advice from the members on this group as to whether, or not, it's feasible. Tear the tiles off the walls. Replace the subsurface, whatever it was to begin with, with green board (I think that's what it's called) and re-surface the whole thing with that fibreglass/plastic boarding that looks like tiles.
Obviously, I am trying to do this not only in an economic fashion (i.e. inexpensively) but also in a manner that requires a low skill level (i.e. I have never laid tiles on a bathroom wall and I don't want to start now).
So, fire away! Suggestions and advice are welcome and being sought. Remember, I am a newbie and am a geologist not a carpenter or a tile layer - so, please, go easy on me.
Thanks!
Rob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Oz wrote:

Guy that built my home was chintzy and used drywall as subsurface in bathrooms. You can get away with it if not a lot of moisture. There is cement board and, I believe an intermediate board, you should replace regular drywall with these. Frank
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Frank,
Thank you for that info. How about your thoughts on the surface material? I'd like to stay away from tile. So, is the stuff I described doable?
Rob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You're a geologist- go buy the big flat things that look and weigh like rocks. Concrete backer board and 3 sheets of some sort of solid-surface material are the best way to go. Stay away from the plastic-face masonite faux tile panels- they don't last worth squat, in my experience. If solid-surface isn't in the budget, buy a plastic tub surround kit, with panels as thick as you can afford. The backer board just nails up, and if you aren't putting tile over it, you barely need to seal the seams. The solid-surface or surround kit goes up with construction adhesive. Cross-brace with padded 1x4s till glue sets, caulk any seams, install trim kit if needed, and you are in business. (Yes, I know, greenboard would work and is cheaper than backer board. But every tub surround eventually leaks at one seam or another, and backer board will handle that better.) But before you do anything, spend 20 bucks on one of the bathroom remodel DIY books- the pictures in there will explain all this better than words ever could. It ain't rocket surgery, but there are a few tricks. (Like if tub is metal, and on an outside wall, this is a great time to add insulation under/around it to reduce cold butt syndrome in winter. Any ladies in the house will really like that.)
aem sends....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Concrete backer board and 3 sheets of some sort of solid-surface material are the best way to go."
solid-surface material . . . . .
Great advice all the way around but I need to know what this is.
Rob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I had the wall board in my stall shower replaced with cement board and it was retiled with the small tiles. This has been over 20 years ago and shower still looks great. In other bath with tub and tub shower, original wall with tiles has held up. In a powder room with the small tiles, I had to have a plumbing repair that broke through wall and I replaced tiles on dry wall which was completely intact. So tile over cement board will solve any problem but you can get away with lesser moisture proof backing if not heavily exposed. Frank
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Do a search for 'solid surface' and for 'cement board'. Standard practice is to leave 1/4" between tub and wall. This joint is filled with sealant to exclude water. Your enclosure may be suffering from wicking of water up behind the surface. T
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.