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Old 12-23-2009, 08:37 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2009
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Is there a better way to do this?

I'm removing the whole top layer of plywood in the floor of my bathroom. Much of it was damaged, some of the very bottom layer underneath it may be damaged as well, so I just want to take all that out to see what I've got and start fresh.

It's screwed in to the base floor beneath it. Then the bathroom had sheet vinyl over that. Holy smokes, finding those screws is nearly impossible! I've been using a power scraper and a heat gun to scrape off vinyl to expose the wood, but the vinyl is adhered very, very well, and it's hard to scrape it all the way down to the wood layer - usually it leaves some paper residue there, and of course any of that at all will hide the screws. I can't just pry it all off with a pry-bar, because pulling out the screws would damage the base floor underneath. So I'm fishing them out one at a time, trying to predict where they might be, etc, and it's going to take me an eternity to get them all to remove this plywood. Is there something else I should be doing here to find the screws? Is there some magic screw-finder I can use, then just scrape vinyl away in those spots and get it all off? Help!

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Old 12-23-2009, 09:58 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: long beach, ms
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Is there a better way to do this?

Nothing magic about just need an inexpensive old school magnetic stud finder. Might be hard to imagine, but there was a time when we didn't have fancy electronic locators and measuring devices, and lasers were science fiction..

Skip scraping up the vinyl. Just locate and mark the screws, then drill down to each one with a 3/8" bit. Vacuum the holes and clean up the bottom with a small chisel or flat screwdriver to finishing exposing the screws.

After re-reading your post, I think you can skip the drill part. That sounds like thin vinyl that you can just knock off with a hammer and sharp chisel after locating the screws.

Last edited by ratherbefishin'; 12-23-2009 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:17 PM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2009
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Is there a better way to do this?

Ha, my wife also told me I was over-thinking this. She went over to the fridge, pulled off a magnet, and said, "Here, use this." I moved it over the floor in areas where I thought there was a screw (they were laid out roughly in lines, of course), and it quickly snapped onto the screws. I powered up the multi-tool scraper and scraped vinyl off the tiny spot the magnet had found, and lo and behold, a screw head was there. Then I just pulled out the screw with my drill, and moved to the next. Within 30 minutes, the whole plywood subfloor was gone, no problem. Under that - plenty of problems, but those questions will wait for another day.
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