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NowItsShowtime 03-26-2009 10:59 AM

Removing concrete slab on 3rd floor bathroom
I just purchased a house (approx. 90-100yrs old) and on the 3rd floor is a concrete slab in the bathroom. I believe it is causing the floor to sag, and I'll be tearing some of the ceiling down to inspect where I can see some water damage and make sure the floor joists are OK.

I was talking with a friend and he started freaking me out about the concrete slab over my head and all the weight and it falling through (probably unlikely).

Aside from the slab, the whole bathroom (including ceiling is pink tile - ugly and heavy) and since I will have to remodel the bathroom anyway, was thinking about taking out the slab.

Should I leave the slab, just inspect the floor joist, or take it out.

And of course if I take it out, how to go about this. Sledge hammer, jack hammer, etc are all out. I don't want to use any impact methood. I thought some type concrete cutting saw, score it, and chip it out. Any input?

RDS 03-26-2009 02:08 PM

Sounds very much like my former bathroom -- all-over pink tile and a slab floor. My house is only 70 years old, though.

You say you fear damage to the floor joists from water. Is there any evidence of damage to the slab itself -- e.g. cracks in the tile? Either of those conditions would incline me to want to take it out.

If not, I suppose you could keep the slab, covering or replacing the existing tile/laminate flooring, but really, why not take it out and start fresh with new subfloor and tile backer? You can probably inspect (and maybe even repair) the floor joists just as well from above as from below, and spare yourself having to tear down ceilings. If your plumbing runs through the slab, removing the slab would also make it easier to repair any leaks, replace old materials with new, and/or reroute pipes.

All I can say is I was glad I removed mine. A small (10 lb maybe) sledge broke it up surprisingly easily -- took me less than a day working alone. Good for the biceps. I shoveled the resulting chunks out a window, down a makeshift slide, and into a wheelbarrow, and from there carted it to a dumpster.

How easily it goes might depend on what your slab is made of, though -- mine (I've been told) had a lot of rock ash in it which made it crumble easily on impact. Other kinds would probably be harder.

Whatever method you used, unless it, the joists, and the plumbing are in pristine shape as it is, I bet you'd end up glad you took it out.

NowItsShowtime 03-26-2009 02:17 PM

The tiles arent cracked, and part of the ceiling is down already. We are putting up new sheetrock anyway, so if I HAVE to rip down the ceiling, no biggie. I can see where there was some type of leak on the old ceiling, I'll start inspecting there.

WHen we took out the old radiators, they were so heavy we had to break them with a sledge hammer, and the whole house was rattling, so I ended up cutting the rest with a sawzall, hence why I am hesitant with the hammer.

I suppose I'll look at the joist, and if they are OK just leave it. Maybe even add some more support going between them.

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