Is there a good alternative to tile for the shower/bathtub wall?

I am looking for as easier replacement material for my shower/bathtub wall than tiling. We are losing some tiles and I can't seem to adequately fix the problem. Water always seems to break down the grout and get behind the tiles. Before long, a year or two, the tiles that I have replaced have loosened and have fallen back out.
I have seen sheets of material that look like tile but are solid in nature and appear to be something that you would either nail or screw into a subsurface. Perhaps these sheet are fiberglass based material? Is some sort of dry wall an option for shower walls?
I am a geologist and not a carpenter or mason/tile layer so this certainly does not come second nature to me. Though I am pretty adept at fixing things I am obviously not good at re-tiling the walls in my shower.
Thanks again for your advice.
Rob
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Rob Osborn wrote:

I had tile in my shower and after problem after problem with grout I tore it all down and replaced with culured marble sheets. It's super easy to clean. I had it installed but after seeing what they did I think it would be easy to do yourself. You can cut it with a normal circular saw with a special blade and looks pretty easy to work with. So, if you can find someone to sell you the slabs you need you might be able to save a bundle.
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Rob Osborn wrote:

1. What was under the tiles; i.e., what is the substrate? Should be cement board. If it is drywall it may need replacing with cement board.
2. What did you use to afix the tiles? Organic mastic or cementatious material (thinset)?
3. Did you seal the grout?
I ask these things because (IMO) tile is about as good a material as you can use. If the tiles are thinsetted to cement board and if the grout is sealed, they should be good for many, many years. It rather sounds to me that your problem is a deterioration of the substrate...the bond to it is therefore failing.
Even done right, one place that can be a problem is the vertical juncture between two walls...the grout will often crack there. The way to mitigate that is to use a first rate caulk in the seam between the substrate of the two walls. ______________________

Probably polyester resin...phoney "marble". Applied to the wall with mastic, joints caulked. ________________________

By "dry wall" do you mean gypsum board? If so, then no...it will surely deteriorate in a short time.
However, there are other sheet goods that could be used. Acrylic, for example (not for the DIY person IMO). _________________________

Heck, if you can use a Brunton compass to determine the strike/dip of strata or recognize a blastoid when you see it you can learn to tile :)
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ....a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
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I installed a shower curtain rod arrangement meant for a freestanding clawfoot tub in mine. A hack but it's simple, very affordable, keeps all water off the tile walls and it's easy to clean the curtains. It cuts down on the shower space a little but that's not a problem in a full size tub.
Doug
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