Get step-by-step instructions to install a fiberglass bathtub surround. Learn how to replace a rotting tiled wall with a water-resistant tub surround.
LESLIE: Gary in California, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
GARY: Question. I have a rental and the bathroom tile  is coming off. They’re loose and they’re, well, falling off just about …
GARY: … above the tub. And I wonder what’s the best and lowest maintenance wall surround material to replace these tiles.
TOM: Well, is it possible for you to replace the tiles themselves or is the wall underneath rotted?
GARY: It looks like the wall. The studs are – some of them are.
GARY: I haven’t got the whole thing off yet but I …
TOM: Well, if this is a rental, you’re going to probably something that’s reasonably bulletproof …
TOM: … and I think probably one of the fiberglass surrounds  is probably the best way to go. When they’re properly installed and properly fitted and usually use a silicone caulk  at all of the seams, that’s a pretty, tough, durable surface in terms of how it sheds water; which is important. You know, with a tile wall, if you don’t dry it sometimes, all the time, you let the water sit there, if you don’t stay on top of the caulking, it can definitely get in behind the walls and cause problems with rot and even attract insects. So I would probably, because it’s a rental, just use a fiberglass surround.
So step one is to pull out all the old tile, all the old rotted wall material.
TOM: Step two is to sister all of the studs that are rotted as best you can. Step three is to install a new tile backer or a new piece of DensArmor , which is a fiberglass-faced drywall that’s very water-resistant. And step four is to install the fiberglass surround. Once you do that, you’re going to have a water-resistant, tight, tub surround that’ll be able to take whatever punishment the tenants can dish out and you should be good for at least ten years.
GARY: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Gary. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.