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 too 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. 

-Joshua

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 peel 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. 

-Joshua

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 too 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. 


-Joshua