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Old 01-05-2010, 07:35 PM   #1
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subfloor gone bad

My living room has some cracks where it shows the problem of the subfloor. As shown in the pics, where the subfloor planks meet, there is unevenness and it has caused the vinyl tile to peel off. I believe it is the support of the subfloor that has gone bad.

My question is if there is any easy solution to make the floor even again? Or, do I have to totally take off the subfloor and redo it? Hopefully not....
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subfloor gone bad-pc210809.jpg   subfloor gone bad-pc210810.jpg  


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Old 01-06-2010, 06:16 AM   #2
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Probably noting wrong with the subfloor, other than maybe needing to be screwed down tightly. You have asphalt or vinyl tiles over a plywood joint. Over time, that joint expands/contracts, but the tile does not, hence the crack. You need to scrape up the old tile and start over, but not with the subfloor, IMHO.


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Old 01-06-2010, 08:10 AM   #3
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it doesn't show well in the pics, but i can see where the plywood meets, the two ends are not on the same level. Do I just screw the higher one down? When I stepped on them, both seemed solid.
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Old 01-06-2010, 03:06 PM   #4
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There may be a few reasons why this happened. What comes to mind at this point is the following:

>The floor joist edge is probably "wayned"...a.k.a has a bad edge. Meaning the edge of the floor joist was not a complete 1-1/2" as it should be, because of low grading of lumber from the mill. And so because of this. when the subfloor was being installed, the plywood obviously did meet evenly. This should only be in a 4 foot section.

> Or...when they were putting the sub-floor down with glue, they never completed the entire process before sunset, and so at that point, went home (Glue dried overnight) then the next day finished putting the rest of the plywood down (on dried glue at that connection) and moved on.

Option 1:My suggestion since that tile looks like it can be easily found and replaced is this: Move the washer and dryer out of the way, remove one row of tile on the "high side" (tile directly over joint) going at least one tile width beyond the 4' marks. Then remove two rows of tile on lower side. Add screws to the high side edge of plywood and get floor leveler and trowel that at the joint and taper it away from where the machines sit (ie...onto the lower plywood) With 2 rows of tile removed on the lower side, that should leave plenty of room to taper the leveling compound.

To be frank with you, that should of never been installed directly on the sub-floor. Proper installation would be to have at least a 1/4" AC fir plywood down on the existing subfloor. Because any installer putting that down prior to putting the tile down "WOULD" of used leveler before tile installation. That's why I believe this tile was initially installed directly on the 3/4" sub-floor.

Option 2:To do it right: rip all the tile out, put down 1/4" ac plywood, use leveler at all joints and "then" tile.

Obviously option 1 is your quick/least expensive fix. Looks like you'll be replacing 15 pieces of tile in the end.

Good Luck
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Last edited by CrossWorks; 01-06-2010 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 01-06-2010, 07:23 PM   #5
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You have a few problems with the vinyl tile installation. Starting with the subfloor. It's not the substrate you would put the tile onto. As stated before, you would put down a 1/4" AC or luan ply. You would fill in all the screw holes and fill the seams so the surface was very smooth and level. If you need to rescrew the present subfloor or sand the high spots, make sure the base is tight and level. This makes putting the second layer on an easier task. Prep work will give you the outcome you want. Skimp on that and you'll be doing the floor every 3-4 years.
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