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. 

-Joshua

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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. 

-Joshua

Shower RemovalĀ 

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. 


-Joshua

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!