How to Repair a Rotten Subfloor

Awhile ago I posted about removing the tile and linoleum on my bathroom floor. Mostly, I took it off because I didn’t want to add yet another layer to an already high floor. I also knew there was rot in the subfloor around the toilet. I had seen the rot on one of my excursions under the house. Sadly, I forgot to take pictures of the worst of the rot, all I have is the surface plywood picture. 

My subfloor is built out of 1.5 inch thick wood planks. For those to rot through there had to be years of wet conditions. 

Repairing the floor isn’t a hard job if the damaged area isn’t to large. If you have damage to floor joists then you may want to get a professional to do the work. 

First you will need to clear the rot by cutting it out. If you can cut back to floor joists then it will be easier to attach the section of plywood that will make up the new floor. 

Once the rot is removed then you may need to add supports between the joists.  The joists in my house are pretty far apart so I had to add quite a network of wood to make a support that I felt would be strong enough for the floor and toilet. You may not need to make add all the supports like I did if you can easily span the joists with your plywood. Another thing you can do is attach a 2×6 directly to the joists and use that as the attachment point for your plywood. 

Next attach plywood to your supports or joists. This step is where I made the biggest mistake. I read up on how to do this before attempting it myself. Everything I read said to use a layer of 3/4th inch plywood. With my sub floor being so thick I should have done more then one layer of plywood. That would have saved me some work and money later. If you are making this repair in a potential wet spot make sure you use screws that will work there. Someone in the past had attempted a repair around the toilet using drywall screws, and they had rusted pretty badly. 

After the plywood is in place, you will need to use floor leveling compound to make the floor level if the plywood isn’t flush with the original floor. This is where not using more plywood hurt me. I had to use a lot of floor leveling compound. Plywood is cheaper and easier to work with. So make sure you get the plywood as close to flush with the original floor as you can. 

Once the floor is level or as close to it as possible then you are ready to start tiling the floor, and that will be another post. 



Bathroom Remodel: Excavating the Past

The next phase of the bathroom remodel is to remove the tile and fix the floor underneath. I have been holding off on removing the tile because I knew there was rot in the subfloor around the toilet. 

To get to the subfloor I had to peal back the layers of time. So far as I could tell nothing had ever been taken off the floor before. Everyone in the past had just added another layer to the top. 

Many layers makes for a tall floor.

The first step was to smash the tile so I could remove it. Surprisingly, there was actually concrete backer board under the tile. I didn’t think that the tiling had been done correctly in the past. 

Under the tile and concrete board were 3 layers of linoleum. Removing linoleum isn’t difficult, but no one had ever felt the need before I guess. 

Wood look linoleum with yellow underneath

Beneath all that was the original layer. I am not exactly sure if it was linoleum or something different. It didn’t look quite like linoleum to me, but I don’t know much about the stuff.  This layer looked somewhat like parquet I think. 

Original floor covering

Lastly I had to remove a layer of 1/4th inch plywood that was attached directly to the subfloor. 

While it was a lot of work to remove all these layers it was interesting to see how people had decorated in the past. None of these floor coverings appeal to me, but somebody thought they were great at some time. 


Shower Removal 

On Saturday I am going to be tearing out our old shower. It is the last part of the bathroom that has the original tile, the tile is probably over 60 years old. While it is good to use old things, this tile needs to go. Some of the tiles on the floor of the shower are cracked, and it is impossible to keep all the grout clean. 

The bathroom has a shower stall and a separate bathtub. I have already turned the bathtub into a shower reusing the original metal tub. So now it is time to do something else with the shower space. 

I am going to be building shelves in the showers location. The spot is about 38 inches deep which is to big for shelves. So, I am going to build shelves about 19 inches deep in the bathroom. Behind the bathroom is a blank wall in the area we are using as an office. At some point I am going to put a hole in the office wall and build a built in shelf backed up to the bathroom shelf. 

My only dilemma is how to build the shelves. Do I want to do any drywall or just attach plywood to the studs directly? Using only plywood means I will have more space on my shelves. I am trying to figure out if there is a downside to not using the drywall that I am not seeing. 


And There Goes Summer…


This is going to be one of my mish-mash posts I’m afraid! It’ll have a little bit of homeschooling and remodeling. I thought that you, our dear readers, deserve an explanation for why we haven’t been posting too many pictures of our food or garden harvests or homeschooling or homesteading!

We have been spending most of the summer prepping for remodeling our garage into a master bedroom suite. And not prepping as in preparing for us to do it ourselves! Well, we will be doing part of it ourselves, but the major construction part we are hiring out to a company that has greatly impressed us so far. Before we could even agree to the remodeling agreement though, we had to come up with money for it! That was an adventure in itself. Josh ended up having to remodel the entire bathtub area in our single full bathroom in about two weeks. We took a lot of pictures of that (Josh put an album up of that experience on Facebook) but haven’t been able to post about it yet.

I am also preparing to homeschool four of my kids this coming year. I am hoping to start the day after Labor Day. My youngest boy starts kindergarten. My oldest boy will be in 7th grade! I will be using all videos with them again this year, but we are hoping to move to perhaps only half videos next school year. Homeschooling four kids takes up a lot of space. I think I might need more than two homeschool-dedicated bookcases! I’ve also learned this year that the 3-ring binder is definitely a homeschooling mom’s best friend. I don’t seem to have enough of them!

I also have two more posts partially drafted about Comic-Con and the San Diego County Fair. They are both old news now, but since both happen every year, they might still be helpful for next year’s events!

So our major remodeling project begins October 3rd hopefully. We will definitely be posting about that experience here. I am not quite sure how the remodeling and homeschooling will work together. I have a feeling that most of our homeschooling will be happening at Grandma’s and Lola’s houses. The major work should be done by January, but since Josh and I are taking care of installing most of the finishes (flooring, bathroom fixtures and vanity, painting), we probably won’t really be done until the end of February.

I do know that it is a given that the next 6 months will be very busy, so there may be a lot of these little mish-mash posts for a little while.

If any of you have hints for living through a major remodel (fortunately, it won’t really affect our kitchen or current single bathroom. Mostly we will be dealing with just noise, dust, and our driveway being full of materials), we will gladly take them to heart!  Thank  you so much to all of you who take the time to read our blog! We appreciate all of you!

– Lynn

100 Posts!

I wanted to write this for the actual 100th blog post, but I think I ended up writing about pavlova instead. So here is the 105th post, but pretend it is the 100th post. 😉

Josh and I started the blog as .44 Hobby Farm in August last year. We weren’t quite sure yet of what we would focus on, so our blog name was more of a placeholder than anything else. We live on 0.44 acres in San Diego County. Of course, Josh will always wish we had more land! Our whole lot would probably be fruit trees and raised garden beds if he had his way. 🙂

Last month, Josh decided he liked the name The Geek Homestead so that is now our blog name and website domain. We are well-known amongst our friends as “geeks,” and we are slowly trying to incorporate some of the ideals of homesteading into our daily lives.

Here is just a quick list of some posts from the past few months 🙂

Lynn’s very first post – August 29, 2015 – my first time making any kind of cheese from scratch

Josh’s very first post – August 29, 2015 – building a raised garden bed out of cement blocks

Josh builds a masonry wall – September 9, 2015

Lynn’s Sourdough Starter adventures – September 2015 – my starter is still alive and going strong 🙂

Our starter has given us yummy crackers, crumpets, sourdough bread, and pizza crust!

Josh’s Bokashi composting – November 2015 – what a great way to compost pretty much any food scraps!

One of our more adventurous bakes! – Hibiscus Cookies – December 2015

We do aim to start posting more recipes and add those to their own category. I do want to make sure that we do post them properly and with the correct acknowledgements though. If anyone knows how this works, I would really appreciate the input on how to do that! As far as I can tell, if you rewrite the recipe in your words (with your own additions/subtractions) and make sure you link to the site you found the recipe, that it is okay to post the recipe? If there is more to it than that, I would love to know!


Please visit our Facebook Page!



Bathroom Remodel – The Vanity Drawers

I previously mentioned that we would be losing about 4 drawers to the plumbing for the new double sinks in the vanity. Josh and my FIL were able to figure out how to keep all 6 drawers!

This post is from March 2015.

When we decided to refinish our current vanity instead of buying a new one, I was worried about how the drawers would work with the new plumbing configuration.  I knew we were going to lose the top two drawers but I wanted to at least have the two middle drawers.
My father-in-law was able to reconfigure the current drawers (this is when it is great that all of the cabinetry in our house is real wood) and gave us a ton of storage space!
Here is the vanity completely refinished. It has a bit of a distressed look but I love how you can see the grain of the wood. Before it was refinished, the vanity was painted white.
One of the large middle drawers before we put it in the vanity to be used. My FIL did not have to use any new wood.  All the wood you see came from the drawer.
And the drawers work great!
Somehow I have fewer things in the drawers now than I did before.  I think it is because I went through and threw away anything that was too old to use or didn’t belong in the drawers. This is one of the top drawers so we still have six drawers in the vanity instead of four.
The other middle drawer.

At first, I wanted a new vanity, but Josh said that to pull out the whole old vanity would have torn up a lot of the plaster wall. Also, to get the same quality of wood would have cost a lot of money. I think it cost less than $100 to refinish the old vanity and buy new hardware. I am glad we stayed with the old one!


Bathroom Remodel – Vanity Total Cost

I thought it might be useful though to outline the costs for the entire vanity area and where the materials came from. The only professional installation was the vanity countertop. Josh and my father-in-law installed everything else themselves. I have posted costs before but so many things changed between that post and the final product that it is probably best to have the “after” also!

Let’s start at the top of the vanity area!

  1. Two Trendscope pendant lights – from Home Depot – $76.50 each – $153 total
  2. Two Classic wall mirrors in Satin Nickel – from Restoration Hardware – $185 each – $370 total
  3. White Hutton Medicine cabinet – from Restoration Hardware – $169
  4. White wall cabinet – from Lowes – $75
  5. Moon Jewel mosaic tile – from – $19.95/square foot – total cost for vanity area: $220
  6. Titan quartz prefabricated countertop in Sierra Ice – from Stoneville USA – $345.60
  7. Fabrication and installation of countertop – $300
  8. Two Kraus 15″ square ceramic sinks, two Kraus Ramus faucets in satin nickel, and two pop up drains in satin nickel – from Home Depot – $520
  9. Cabinet hardware – from Dixieline – $28
  10. Refinishing of vanity – $30
  11. Plumbing (I am really estimating here since I am not sure how much Josh spent on the plumbing.) – $50
  12. Drywall repair, Electrical – $125
  13. Vanity decor – from San Diego Rustic Imports and Michaels – $75

Total estimated cost for the entire vanity area:  $2450

I am going to assume that labor probably would have almost doubled this amount so we saved a lot of money by Josh and father-in-law doing most of the work themselves.  It took them a lot of Saturdays to do it though!

My current estimate for the total bathroom remodel is $5000, though I will not be surprised if this goes up because you never know what you will find behind a wall or underneath the floor!