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Old 05-19-2009, 07:33 AM   #1
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Old wood flooring - leaks from second floor


Hi, I own a house built in 1925. It has wood flooring in every room but the bathrooms. In the main "public" rooms of the house it has oak and in the bedrooms it has heart of pine. The house had two floors and this layout exists on both since the second floor used to be an upstair apartment because the house used to be a duplex.

Here's the delima: If anything spills on the second floor, or if a dog pees (which has happened), then the liquid seeps through the tongue and groove flooring, and then through the subfloor, which is wood plank. The wood plank in the subfloor is set a good half-inch apart so it's easy for liquids to shimmy around the cracks in the tongue and groove and then drip between the planks.

We discovered this problem after a spillage of water upstairs leaked through and caused a terrible looking stain on some old acoustic cieling tiles.

Now, we've always planned to replace the acoustic tiles. They were apparently installed because the plaster and lath it's covering was badly stained and cracking and sagging.

Our plan this summer is to rip out the old acoustic tile, rip out the plaster and lath, and install a tongue and groove beadboard ceiling. I think this will look very nice.

However, I worry about future spillages, or even a mother-in-law's misguided attempts to mop the floor (she insists on wet-mopping the floors and will wait till we're out on an errand to do it so we won't stop her...she means well...).

Is there something I can do to help prevent staining of the new beadboard ceiling should there be spillage, etc, on the second floor? Something I can back the beadboard with or some moisure barrier I can install on the second-floor joists before nailing up the beadboard?

Thanks in advance,

Sabby

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Old 05-19-2009, 07:35 AM   #2
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Old wood flooring - leaks from second floor


Excuse my misspellings! Oops!

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Old 05-19-2009, 12:48 PM   #3
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Old wood flooring - leaks from second floor


I just can't resist, don't let the dog or your mother in law upstairs.

Now, on a serious note, there are a couple things you can do. One is to lay in another layer of subfloor up there with a moisture barrier between it and the existing subfloor. Secondly you could rip up the existing subfloor, put a moisture barrier down and install a new subfloor layer. Things to keep in mind is how much plumbing would be involved in adding an additional layer, doors would have to be cut off at the bottom and such.

Again with out seeing the layout it is kind of hard. Linoleum is virtually waterproof from the top side. Might that be an option to keep leaks on top?
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Old 05-19-2009, 12:57 PM   #4
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Old wood flooring - leaks from second floor


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I just can't resist, don't let the dog or your mother in law upstairs.
Well I don't blame you for that one. Good thing is, I don't have a dog. That was a visiting dog. And while mom-in-law is a visitor, too, she comes more frequently and, as you may have notices from my first post, has a mind of her own....

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Originally Posted by purplewg View Post
Now, on a serious note, there are a couple things you can do. One is to lay in another layer of subfloor up there with a moisture barrier between it and the existing subfloor. Secondly you could rip up the existing subfloor, put a moisture barrier down and install a new subfloor layer. Things to keep in mind is how much plumbing would be involved in adding an additional layer, doors would have to be cut off at the bottom and such.

Again with out seeing the layout it is kind of hard. Linoleum is virtually waterproof from the top side. Might that be an option to keep leaks on top?
Ew...that means ripping up the wood floors upstairs, too. It may not have been clear in my first post that I have wood floors in EVERY room of the ENTIRE house, except for the bathrooms, where there's tile. So, just about all 1100sqft of the second floor is wood floors (oak and pine)

I'm trying to figure out what I can do without disturbing the second floor flooring. And since I'll have the second floor floor-joists exposed after ripping out the first floor's ceiling I thought there might be something I could apply to the underside of the second floor's floors (floor's floors?).

Sorry for all the who's on first floor floors alliteration...

And thank you MUCH for your response!
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Old 05-19-2009, 01:25 PM   #5
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Old wood flooring - leaks from second floor


Short of putting some sort of sealer on the upper floors that will fill in all the gaps, I like my first solution the best.

Are those oak and pines floors real wood? If so there may be a sealer that could be applied if the gaps are not too large. This is out of my area of expertise.

My opinion is, you don't want to trap water under the floor boards by doing something under them to seal them. This is a recipe for disaster.
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Old 05-19-2009, 01:40 PM   #6
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Old wood flooring - leaks from second floor


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Short of putting some sort of sealer on the upper floors that will fill in all the gaps, I like my first solution the best.
I don't think my marriage would survive that!

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Originally Posted by purplewg View Post
Are those oak and pines floors real wood? If so there may be a sealer that could be applied if the gaps are not too large. This is out of my area of expertise.

My opinion is, you don't want to trap water under the floor boards by doing something under them to seal them. This is a recipe for disaster.
Yep, real wood. Real 85 year old wood. I'll look into some sort of sealer. The gaps in the tongue and grooves isn't very big. In the oak flooring it's just about non-existent. But that is where one of the leaks occured so even a hair-width gap is big enough to let water through.

you're right about trapping water...don't want to do that...

Thanks, again...
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Old 05-19-2009, 04:03 PM   #7
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Old wood flooring - leaks from second floor


Unfortunatley purplewg is absolutely right.Unseal will trap moisture and only cause grief for your joists down the road.Sounds like you have a old character home you want to restore.Go with his first suggestion...keep the inlaws out!!..LOL.
But seriously,I don't think you want to rip the oak out and who would?Keep that for a last resort.
Check a flooring/hardware store to see if they carry two part clear epoxy liquid or thicker clear liquids such as that(they are extremely hard and would be less costly than ripping out the oak). They will help fill any minor cracks or spaces.If you remember shops class in school it was used quite frequently for projects.
That is just one suggestion that may help.Good luck on your venture.
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Old 05-20-2009, 04:41 AM   #8
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Old wood flooring - leaks from second floor


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Unfortunatley purplewg is absolutely right.Unseal will trap moisture and only cause grief for your joists down the road.Sounds like you have a old character home you want to restore.Go with his first suggestion...keep the inlaws out!!..LOL.
But seriously,I don't think you want to rip the oak out and who would?Keep that for a last resort.
Check a flooring/hardware store to see if they carry two part clear epoxy liquid or thicker clear liquids such as that(they are extremely hard and would be less costly than ripping out the oak). They will help fill any minor cracks or spaces.If you remember shops class in school it was used quite frequently for projects.
That is just one suggestion that may help.Good luck on your venture.

I think that's a very sensible suggestions. There are plenty of flooring stores around here. Maybe it all comes down to turning the wood floors upstairs into a big sheet of epoxy...my kid will like sliding in his socks on it, anyway.

Thanks, all!

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