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quinten 11-15-2010 09:29 PM

Failing bathroom tile floor--best options
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Our existing bathroom floor is tile. We have baseboard heating and tile all the way around on the walls.

Several tiles were popping up when we first bought. I've now noticed that underneath the tiles, what I thought would be a quick repair job, the floor is rotting. It's dry rot and the floor is pretty friable where the tiles had come loose.

I recently replaced the toilet and the floor there seems fine--the problem areas are around the tub. I don't think there's an active leak of any kind, I think it's just from surface moisture that was allowed to spread.

What are my options here? We checked out Home Depot's prices for a new tile install, and they won't touch the floor without the subfloor being replaced, and they won't offer that service. The total price they quoted for install seems high, so we'd be willing to do a temporary fix and patch of just the missing tiles if it prevented any further damage to the wood underlayment.

1) Can I replace just the rotten part of the wood without replacing the whole floor?
2) Assuming I'm willing to raise the height of the toilet and vanity: can I lay a new subfloor over the existing floor and just ignore the rot? Either with or without removing the tiles?
3) Are there any products that will "patch" the wood and allow me to replace the tiles and just do a good seal on top? It looks like the previous owner tried such a repair and the tile ended up coming loose--but even if it buys me a year without further deterioration it might be okay--we'd have more money in the budget to do it the right way in a year.
4) Is replacing the whole subfloor a reasonable DIY job for someone without a lot of experience? The part I'm most worried about is cutting around the baseboard heat.

I'm attaching a few photos that show the popped out tiles and the floor condition underneath them.

oh'mike 11-16-2010 06:12 AM

You need only replace the rotted portion of subfloor---

You appear to have a cheap-o builders installation there--small tiles glued with mastic right over the

3/4" plywood subfloor. That installation usually fails within 4 to 6 years.

Pop off the tiles,cut out and replace any rotted wood--add another layer of 1/2" ply on top of the 3/4"

Then thinset down 1/4 inch Durrock or Wonder board--Then install new tile using Thinset--

Look at Bud Clines blogs--I believe he went into great detail in preparing a floor for tile.--Mike--

Note: If you wish to have this work done by a pro--look for an independent tile setter--Check with a couple of real tile stores and ask for the names of good installers.

quinten 11-16-2010 08:45 AM

Thank you, that's good to know. We certainly want it done right and not to fail in the next few years. We will try to get some more quotes and decide whether to hire it out or try doing it ourselves. Thanks!

oh'mike 11-16-2010 06:56 PM

There is plenty of good advice here, A properly set tile floor will last a lifetime----If you decide to do it your self,look for posts by Jazzman and Bud Cline--Both top pros---Mike---

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