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Dave43026 10-22-2011 09:03 AM

Bathroom floor
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Hello! I am a newbie working on an upstairs bathroom re-model and have run into some difficulty with the flooring. The existing floor was vinyl and after pulling up a floor register, I found that there was a 3/4" wood subfloor and 1/4" wood underlayment beneath it. The plan was to pull up the vinyl floor, put down 1/4" hardiebacker, and then tile.

I have since run into two problems. 1) When I removed the toilet, I found what appears to be some water damage around it. The flange was rusted so bad that it sort of flaked away. The underlayment/subfloor may be damaged. 2) The vinyl floor is REALLY hard to get up. I'm only getting a thin layer of it, the bottom layer (a paper-like backing) is still stuck to the floor.

So, I'm trying to figure out how to proceed. Do I need to remove any of the current wood floor or add to it? If I stop trying to remove the vinyl flooring, will the thinset take care of minor differences in height? Can I get a toilet flange around the PVC waste pipe without having a lot of access to the underside of the pipe?

I've attached a picture of the toilet area. Thanks so much for any input.


Snav 10-22-2011 09:24 AM

If it's rotted it must come up (that's my rule of thumb) - water damaged subflooring that's just laid over can ruin your work from the inside out.

I'd take up all the floor - underlayment and subfloor - with the use of a circular saw to score it into narrow strips and a pry bar to pull it all up. . . maybe not *the whole floor* in the entire bathroom but at least that area - joist to joist. . . the entire top layer of underlayment should come up so you can lay down all new cement board.

Once you have those joists exposed you can check for water damage and rott on them which can be taken care of with a bonding adhesive or sealant designed to strengthen rotting wood.

Then lay down new subflooring that matches the depth of that bottom layer.

Lay down all new cement board.

Proceed with leveler and tile - no one would ever know.

Maybe peel up some of the wall board there that's behind the toilet to see if water damage in the wall is excessive - if it is: address that in the same way and rehang new drywall (or paneling - whichever is already in there) . . with drywall mud or filler compound no one will ever know.

Dave43026 10-26-2011 10:43 AM

Bathroom floor
Thanks for the reply. I have a couple of follow up questions.

The PVC pipe seen in the photos has an outer lip on it and I do not have access to this pipe from beneath the floor (it is a second floor bathroom). Does that create a problem when installing a new subfloor and underlayment? Specifically, I'm wondering how I'll be able to fit them underneath that lip. For each layer, I could use two pieces (with a half circle cut out of each), but that would be seem to weaken the floor. Is it possible that the subfloor does not need to go under that lip? From what I understand, the toilet flange needs to be bolted to the subfloor, and I'm not sure if that can be done if the subfloor doesn't go under the lip.

Eventually I will put a tile floor in this bathroom. The toilet flange will still be bolted to the subfloor, correct? I will just have to use extensions to get to the appropriate height?

Thanks again.

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