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Old 01-06-2008, 11:22 PM   #1
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Remove the old subfloor?


I am back again for your expert advice.

Some background. I have a 105 yo house and I am remodeling my bathroom. Though I thought it would be something relatively easy, as I tear things down, I think of other things to do.

I had asked here whether to replace/level the floor first or drywall. The opinion was to do the floor. I have removed everything up to the subfloor which is made out of - it looks like - salvaged lumber. They are slats in various lengths but 1" thick. The slats around the toilet are horribly rotten but the rest are old, have some visual cracks, but seem solid when walked on (don't creak or feel "squishy). I had planned on just replacing the rotten ones around the toilet (an area about 5'x3') but wondering if, for the sake of completeness/better stability, should I actually replace all of the subfloor.

The floor is not level - slopes about 1 1/4" from corner to corner and I plan on leveling it - either with the floor I place over the present subfloor or, worst case scenerio, by sistering the joists. The joists seem fine as far as I can tell and see, though 2 under the bathroom are already sistered.

I will attach pictures of the floor - the "good" part and the part aroung the flange. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated. (and just to remind - I am a single middle-aged female doing this by myself!!)
Attached Thumbnails
Remove the old subfloor?-diy-floor.jpg   Remove the old subfloor?-diy-toilet.jpg  

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Old 01-07-2008, 12:20 AM   #2
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Remove the old subfloor?


Personally, I would replace just the area around the flange where rotten.

To me if you remove it all and replace it will not be as good as the existing which looks to be in good condition. after that I would tape the seams of all the wood, diamond lathe it, then self leveling floor leveller, most likely 2 layers since the floor is out so much.

Chances are you will not find a true 1" plywood to match the existing, depending on your location you should find available either 1 1/8" (West coast, California) or 7/8" (pretty much the rest of the country). If you use floor levelling cement the 1/8" difference either way won't really matter.

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Old 01-07-2008, 01:02 AM   #3
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Remove the old subfloor?


Ok, you kind of lost me at the "tape the seams of all the wood, diamond lathe it". I haven't read about "taping seams". How do you do that? And what is diamond lathe? Is there a website where I can look this up? Does it take special equipment? (I will do some internet search on the items you suggested)

Another thing: replacing the damaged subfloor. The slats are not placed in a row (which would make sense). So then do I cut out the rotten ones midway joist (of course, not cutting into the joist)? And then fasten the replacements that way?

Thank you so much for all your help. I have never done anything like this; my friends think I am nuts. But, I am of the mind "if someone else can do it, so can I - with research, advice, and lots of luck!!!
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Old 01-07-2008, 07:46 AM   #4
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Remove the old subfloor?


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Originally Posted by rncopper View Post
...subfloor which is made out of - it looks like - salvaged lumber. They are slats in various lengths but 1" thick.
The "salvaged" lumber is the type of planks that were used prior to the development of plywood.

Is this a first floor bath or second floor bath?
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Old 01-07-2008, 02:30 PM   #5
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Remove the old subfloor?


It is the floor that is over the basement (you come in the front door on the same floor as the bathroom and there is a full basement underneath the house). The main living area is all on this floor.

Does that make sense?
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Old 01-07-2008, 05:18 PM   #6
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Remove the old subfloor?


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It is the floor that is over the basement (you come in the front door on the same floor as the bathroom and there is a full basement underneath the house). The main living area is all on this floor.

Does that make sense?
I was asking to see if you had access below the floor.

I would look at the floor joists and see if there are any problems that are causing the slope in the floor. Have the floor joists been cut for plumbing or other reasons that are causing the slope. It would try and correct the joists before doing the floor. If the joists are sound and stable then it just may be settling of an older home.
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Old 01-07-2008, 05:50 PM   #7
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Remove the old subfloor?


Oh, I can see the entire underside of the floor (the basement is sort-of unfinished. I don't use it unless company comes over)

I looked at the joists and everything seems to be fine with them. (I see no cracks or eaten out areas - I don't think we have critters here who eat wood). The joists were probably put up around the '20's or 30's when they moved this house to the present location, built the basement and added the bedroom, bath, living room, and washer/dryer/mud room. The joists under the floor have no cut out areas and unfortunately, they put all the water/sewer piping arount the joists and then under them (will be awful to put up a ceiling down in the basement!! I live in an old gold mining community and settling of houses are quite common. In fact, we have a saying here that nothing is square or level!!! (they are no longer mining, stopped in 2001)

While it would be "better" to remove the subfloor, sister the joists and then replace the subfloor with plywood, since I am doing this alone, it would be easier just to replace the damaged subfloor planks, put a level duraboard before I place my floor tiles. I don't think it will harm or damage the end result I wish to create - a relatively level floor so that the "appliances" will sit level.

Last edited by rncopper; 01-07-2008 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 01-07-2008, 08:17 PM   #8
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Remove the old subfloor?


I don't know how big the room is but unless the off-level is grossly noticable, I myself wouldn't bother going through the trouble of fixing it. Like you said, nothing is truly square or level, even a new house, let alone a 100 y/o house that was moved 70 years ago. Probably just settling or was unlevel from the start.

Anyways here's what I did in my bathroom. Ended up tearing the whole floor out. A lot of times it's just easier to start fresh.

As you could see I couldn't quite get to the center of the joists, so for support I just added a bunch of 2x8 perpendicular to the joists (the red boxes in the pic) laying flat... so the subfloor is resting on those boards, which I just nailed in between the joists from below. Be sure to do this all around the toilet as well for support, and attach the new toilet flange to it.

Then I added the plywood subfloor, and 1/2" durock for tile. It's all rock solid now.

I'm just a lowly DIY'er, pretty handy, but a novice none-the-less. Should be very doable for yourself. The hardest part was getting the old floor out which took me all day. Yours looks easier, try setting a circular saw to the exact depth of the subfloor and cut away if you need to... Just watch where you're standing/cutting!
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Old 01-07-2008, 08:31 PM   #9
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Remove the old subfloor?


Quote:
Originally Posted by rncopper View Post
Ok, you kind of lost me at the "tape the seams of all the wood, diamond lathe it". I haven't read about "taping seams". How do you do that? And what is diamond lathe? Is there a website where I can look this up? Does it take special equipment? (I will do some internet search on the items you suggested)

Another thing: replacing the damaged subfloor. The slats are not placed in a row (which would make sense). So then do I cut out the rotten ones midway joist (of course, not cutting into the joist)? And then fasten the replacements that way?

Thank you so much for all your help. I have never done anything like this; my friends think I am nuts. But, I am of the mind "if someone else can do it, so can I - with research, advice, and lots of luck!!!

Because the house is 100+ years old and the structure is fine, just out of level, I would use a cement based floor leveler, tape the seams means the current 1" floor is not a T&G product and there are gaps between the boards, when you pour the leveler it will be so runny it will go straight through the cracks and into the basement, so tape the joints with pretty much anything, duct tape, etc.

Diamond lathe is like chicken wire only tighter and thicker, must be staples/nail/secured to the floor, this gives the cement based floor leveler something to adhere to.

Are you nuts? Of course you are, normal people don't attempt to dismantle and renovate their own homes to this extend Tell your friends your having fun with the help of DIYChatroom
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Old 01-07-2008, 08:35 PM   #10
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Remove the old subfloor?


The total room, including the tub is about 65 sq ft (9.5'x6.5') with about 45 sq ft of flooring (I already took out the walls of a closet that jutted into the bathroom to make it a bigger bathroom).

I think the worst part is some of the slats go into other rooms but I can see where you are coming from. I worry though whether I would have the strength to place a plywood subfloor of that size by myself where as I know I could place a 6x3' myself - the size of the cutout around the flange.

To me the slope was noticeable. It slopes from the side of the original house to the outside, more toward one corner. The clearance I have with the ajoining floors will make it so there isn't any step ups, so I am please with that. There was 3 floors over the subfloors (and they looked like they were done years apart). I have a little over 2.25" from the joist to the bottom of the flange edge, so I figure I have a good space in which to put in the duraboard and tile (3/4" or 1" subfloor, 3/4" duraboard and 1/2" floor tile - give or take).

I am a "if someone can do it, it means I should be able to do it" kind of gal. Professionally, I am a nurse so this is much different that what I do for a job. But I do enjoy this tremendously, don't think I have done it badly so far, and don't think I am totally over my head. If I ever think so, I probably will call in the pros!! LOL!! Maybe.

Thanks for your suggestion and the picture does really help.
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Old 01-07-2008, 08:43 PM   #11
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Remove the old subfloor?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Johnson View Post
Because the house is 100+ years old and the structure is fine, just out of level, I would use a cement based floor leveler, tape the seams means the current 1" floor is not a T&G product and there are gaps between the boards, when you pour the leveler it will be so runny it will go straight through the cracks and into the basement, so tape the joints with pretty much anything, duct tape, etc.

Diamond lathe is like chicken wire only tighter and thicker, must be staples/nail/secured to the floor, this gives the cement based floor leveler something to adhere to.

Are you nuts? Of course you are, normal people don't attempt to dismantle and renovate their own homes to this extend Tell your friends your having fun with the help of DIYChatroom




I am learning so much doing this and absolutely having a blast. When I was in school - many years ago, girls couldn't take woodshop/metalshop/automotive shop. I wanted to. Plus being college prep, that wouldn't have been allowed anyway. And this is just so different than what I do for a living (nurse) and luckily, I have no timetable in which to adhere to. I can take me 1 week or 1 year to finish - it doesn't matter.

I have already praised DIY Chatroom to my friends because of all the available information here. And so far no one here has said to me: "YOU can't do this!!! What ARE you thinking???"

I am ready and willing to learn, want to do it right and within my strength capability. I have the luxury of being able to take my time and be certain on which way to proceed. Thank you so much for your help.
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Old 01-09-2008, 02:44 AM   #12
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Remove the old subfloor?


I think I have decided to take up all of old subfloor, sister the joists to level the floor and then place a new subfloor. It would be better overall instead of a "patch" job. (and it shoud be easier as the longest span would be 6 or 8 ft) BUT, when I measured the present joists, they were 2x6. I thought joists should be at least 2x8. Could it be the joists were placed before there was building codes? (BTW, the present joists are 16" oc)

Taking into consideration that my present joists are 2x6, what size joists would I use for sistering? And the type of wood?

(Since I have no time frame for this project, I could change my mind tomorrow on the way to proceed, as I am still tearing down drywall. And I am female; I am legally able to change my mind at any point!!)

Last edited by rncopper; 01-09-2008 at 02:50 AM.
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Old 01-09-2008, 07:47 AM   #13
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Remove the old subfloor?


Does the floor feel "bouncy"?

The room is smaller and the span may be short enough.
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Old 01-09-2008, 05:31 PM   #14
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Remove the old subfloor?


No, the floor doesn't seem bouncy and seems pretty solid, but with some of the planks going under the tub and the tub is also not level, it seems easier to pull up the subfloor, sister and then re-subfloor.

BTW, the 2inx6in is the "diameter" of the joists. I am not sure how long they are (I didn't measure that portion). Sorry, I guess I misunderstood the dimensions others have posted and what I read.
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Old 01-10-2008, 07:55 AM   #15
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Remove the old subfloor?


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Originally Posted by rncopper View Post

BTW, the 2inx6in is the "diameter" of the joists.
2x6 would be the dimensions of the joists.

You said that these joists were accessible from the basement. If you think that the floor will defect then you could add support posts under the floor in the basement to give additional support to this floor.


Last edited by redline; 01-10-2008 at 08:07 AM.
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