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Old 07-14-2011, 12:53 PM   #1
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How do I remove part of the damaged subfloor?


I am working on replacing old carpet with laminate in a bedroom. Bedroom shares a wall with a bathroom, which had some small water damage long ago. I have cut out the damaged dry wall. Now that I have pulled up carpet and padding, I see damaged subfloor, plus two spots with mold. My question: how do I know how deep to cut through to remove the damaged portion, without cutting into possible second layer of subfloor or joists? And how do I pull up nails in the floors when they are flush with the floor?

Thank you.

- Janet B.
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How do I remove part of the damaged subfloor?-floor3.jpg   How do I remove part of the damaged subfloor?-floor2.jpg  

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Old 07-14-2011, 12:56 PM   #2
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How do I remove part of the damaged subfloor?


Find a floor heating register if you have one and see how thick or how many layers.

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Old 07-14-2011, 01:22 PM   #3
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How do I remove part of the damaged subfloor?


If Mike's suggestion won't work (due to no floor vent, etc), then

set your saw at a depth starting at 1/4" - cut a square within the area you are wanting to remove (one w/o nails in it if you can). Keep setting the saw a little deeper until you can pry up the square. Cut the entire area to be removed using this saw setting.
(note - that first pic shows some separation that may be large enough to get a tape measure or square down into - push it down until it bottoms on the base layer and set your saw to that depth)


If you pry up one side of the cut area, you may be able to get enough force to pry up the nails. If not, take your prybar and pound it into the flooring and underneath the nails you are trying to remove. Basically you are trying to remove or compress the material around the nailhead to give you access to it.

Last edited by 1texasguy; 07-14-2011 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 07-14-2011, 03:40 PM   #4
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How do I remove part of the damaged subfloor?


Vents are located in the ceilings, so I will try pushing my tape measure down in the small gap first. Thank you both.
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Old 07-14-2011, 04:18 PM   #5
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How do I remove part of the damaged subfloor?


Is that particleboard or OSB or plywood or what?

If it is particleboard it would be easy enough to nag a small hole in the material until you reach the surface of whatever is below it. This will tell you the thickness of the top layer and will tell you how deep to set a circular saw for removal of the spoiled area.

A handy tool for removing nails in this case is a tool called a "cats-paw". It is a small forked prying tool that you can drive under the nail head with a hammer and then pry the nail upward.
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Old 07-14-2011, 07:20 PM   #6
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How do I remove part of the damaged subfloor?


I believe it is just particleboard. I was able to take my metal ruler and fit it in the gap between 2 pieces of the floor. It's only 1/2 inch thick, so I'm about to go put the rip blade on my circular saw and get to work. I will look for the "cats paw" at the store tomorrow. Thank you.
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Old 07-14-2011, 07:34 PM   #7
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How do I remove part of the damaged subfloor?


That particle board will break up like an old saltine cracker---leaving the nails behind.

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Old 07-14-2011, 10:08 PM   #8
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How do I remove part of the damaged subfloor?


I removed most of the old particle board and what I found was damaged "sub" subfloor. I've attached a picture. I'm assuming that to remove the edges of the particle board that I couldn't get to with the saw (highlighted with blue ovals), I should use a chisel? My husband is worried about me removing the sub subfloor since the wall sits on it. Is this a problem? If not, how exactly do I cut out the floor next to the wall (highlighted with the red arrow)? Thanks again.
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:26 AM   #9
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How do I remove part of the damaged subfloor?


Good job on removing the top layer.

This is probably a good time to invest in a sawzall (reciprocating saw) if you don't have one. This will allow you to get close into the wall - likewise since the wall is sitting on subfloor that is likely compromised, you would want to replace the material underneath. The sawzall will come in handy for cutting the nails that are between the stud wall and subfloor so you can get it out. Going with material back in, you might have to lift the wall a bit to take pressure off the stud wall to get material in where you removed. I suggest just going back in with 1x4 pressure treated material and then cut your new subfloor to butt up against it - trying to work a subfloor back in under the stud wall would be difficult.

When you get ready to install new subfloor, we can talk about support needed for the edges (cut back to joists and sister support boards to the joists) - you may alread know how.

Project creep never dies but it gives a good reason to buy more tools.

Last edited by 1texasguy; 07-15-2011 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 07-15-2011, 09:47 AM   #10
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How do I remove part of the damaged subfloor?


before you go slicing and dicing is the subfloor you uncovered, the stuff you removed is underlayment, stained, wet, mushy or solid. Taking out the plywood is another animal from what you just did and can cause damage to you and area below
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Old 07-15-2011, 09:53 AM   #11
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How do I remove part of the damaged subfloor?


Before you go hacking at the subfloor under the wall I would make sure it is not a bearing wall.

Is this sub-floor (plywood) delaminated (squishy)? If not, I would just let it dry out for a while and then put an underlayment piece back in. Since you stopped the leak, once the piece dries out it will only be discolored. Since you never see it, it won't matter.
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:38 AM   #12
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How do I remove part of the damaged subfloor?


Excellent point from AGWhitehouse on load-bearing.


Question - since the leak came from the bathroom, what has been done in the bathroom if anything?

Last edited by 1texasguy; 07-15-2011 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 07-15-2011, 11:36 AM   #13
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How do I remove part of the damaged subfloor?


Thank you all. AG, that is what my husband and I were thinking, because, no, the floor is not squishy, it is solid. My only concern is the mold on the top of it. Should I just let the floor dry out today, or do I need to spray it with a small amount of bleach and water to kill the mold?

In the bathroom, the leak was fixed (bathtub faucet was leaking water down the side of the tub onto the floor), and I replaced the crumbled dry wall behind the toilet. The floor there is still solid. And right now I just don't have time or money to replace that whole subfloor.
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Old 07-15-2011, 12:04 PM   #14
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How do I remove part of the damaged subfloor?


Yeah, spray the mold with the bleach solution. Give it plenty of time to dry. If you re-assemble wet you run the risk of roting out the sub-floor and re-growing some mold. Better to wait now than have to do it all over again later.

Last edited by AGWhitehouse; 07-15-2011 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 07-15-2011, 12:08 PM   #15
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How do I remove part of the damaged subfloor?


Don't go hacking the subfloor if it isn't absolutely and totally necessary.

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