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Old 09-15-2007, 08:01 PM   #1
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subfloor nightmare


I hope someone can help with this nightmare. We are replacing our bathroom flooring which is currently a very dated vinyl. Being an old house, we have found that there are 5 vinyl floors and subfloors in this room which accounts for the almost 2 inch height (high) difference from this room to the hallway it meets up with. We obviously wanted to get this level down so we tried taking up some of the old flooring, but in doing so found that the owner before us not only used rediculous amounts of liquid nails, but they also used 3 inch screws embedded in liquid nails. When looking from the unfinished basement, we can see that the screws actually penetrated the original subloor, but they were just barely poking through. When trying to take only a few levels of this up, we are finding that so much liquid nails and screws were used that the wood just splinters. Should we remove the whole thing down to the joists, and if so, what is the best method and tools. I am thinking using the circular and a chisel. And is this the type of project a guy with basic skills should take on. The bathroom is a 4 x 8 room and the joists run short across the room, not long. Any help is greatly appreciated. thanks.

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Old 09-15-2007, 11:01 PM   #2
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subfloor nightmare


I'm not a flooring guy, and I don't play one on TV.

I had a similar situation in my first house, although probably not as bad as yours. My floor had multiple layers of linoleum, and subflooring that had gotten wet, apparently repeatedly. I decided that the best thing to do was to remove the subfloor and start on the joists, but I was unable to employ the method we used when we poured concrete floors in the basement after the first floor was put in. What we did was come from underneath with a two-by-four, and bang at a corner until we popped the nails up, then continue until we got a sufficient edge to go from the top and pull it from the joists. After the pour, we'd nail it back down.

On my house, there were one-by slats running perpendicular to the joists underneath the subfloor, which made the above impractical. Its possible that way would work for you, but if any of the screws are in the joists, you might hit some rough spots. It sounds like you have the right idea using the circular saw, but you might have to do some prying anyway, along the joists.

I would try to saw near the joists, and use a pry bar from below. I don't know if my explanation makes any sense, but good luck to you all the same.

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Old 09-15-2007, 11:04 PM   #3
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subfloor nightmare


Unless it's damaged, you should leave the subfloor in place, but remove everything above it. Figure out the thickness of the entire floor left, then set your circular saw to cut thru leaving the subfloor which is probably 3/4" or so? Is it plywood or 1x 4 or 6"?

Once that is removed you will need to add another layer of plywood and then either a tile backer board Ditra membrane. Let us know what you've got at that time. While you're at it you should check the joists system to see if they're strong enough for tile if the first place. Need to know the size, spacing and unsupported span of your joists.

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Old 09-17-2007, 06:34 PM   #4
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subfloor nightmare


I've been dealing with small spaces and multiple layers of flooring too. So, here's yet another opinion. Take up the subfloor and replace it. You don't want to have to deal with filling holes and splinters and it sounds like it's a pin cushion any way. It's only a 4x8 room. What I've been doing is like Jaz says, figure out the depth, but I figure the total depth to include the subfloor, and then set your blade to that depth and make successive passes perpendicular to the joists. Maybe go 18" at a time, or whatever feels comfortable to you. Get your pry bar underneath and just tear into it.
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Old 09-18-2007, 12:18 PM   #5
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subfloor nightmare


I had the same problem with a 1/2 bath earlier this year. The closet flange was leaking because whoever layed the tile didn't allow for the height difference.

It looked like the subfloor was repaired 2-3 times using sections of 3/4 ply, 2x4 nailers, screws and adhesive.

I snapped a chalk line over the tops of the floor joists, and marked where water/sewer lines were. Using a circular saw, and a blade you don't mind tossing, cut through the flooring just down to the joists. I used a sawzall and a prybar to remove small sections at a time, being careful not to harm any plumbing. When the floor is removed you may need to add blocking to the perimeter of the room so you can attach the new subfloor.

Close-up of the new blocking and bottom plate.



Blocking before bottom plate installed. Studs will be replaced as well.



Cutting sections of the floor out. You can see the cut along the top of the joist. You can angle the sawzall to cut the screws from the joist, too.


More nightmare. The old subfloor came out in bits and pieces. What a mess. Leaking closet flange and water damage from a roof leak.
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Old 09-18-2007, 01:31 PM   #6
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subfloor nightmare


I'd say a heavy-duty sawzall with a long demo blade, cutting along joists from underneath. No use trying to save that subfloor. Then, put down new ply and proceed from there.
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Old 09-28-2007, 11:49 PM   #7
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subfloor nightmare


Quote:
Originally Posted by JazMan View Post
Unless it's damaged, you should leave the subfloor in place, but remove everything above it. Figure out the thickness of the entire floor left, then set your circular saw to cut thru leaving the subfloor which is probably 3/4" or so? Is it plywood or 1x 4 or 6"?

Once that is removed you will need to add another layer of plywood and then either a tile backer board Ditra membrane. Let us know what you've got at that time. While you're at it you should check the joists system to see if they're strong enough for tile if the first place. Need to know the size, spacing and unsupported span of your joists.

Jaz
JazMan,

How do you determine whether your joists can support a tile floor?

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Old 09-29-2007, 06:45 AM   #8
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subfloor nightmare


Floor joists in all properly built houses will support tile floors. The tiles should be laid over cement backerboard, never directly onto wood or plywood. Mike
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Old 09-29-2007, 12:00 PM   #9
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subfloor nightmare


Oh, I thought that maybe you were talking about the floor having too much flex, or something along those lines. Thanks

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Old 04-17-2009, 10:37 AM   #10
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subfloor nightmare


I have a subfloor with 1x6 boards on the floor joists how do I build up my floor for tile?
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Old 04-17-2009, 02:46 PM   #11
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subfloor nightmare


Jazz, you probably would get more response if you started a new post. As for the subfloor I would lay a sheet of 3/4" exterior rated ply on top of the 1x4s and screw to the 1x4s. Then you will put thinset down and then 1/4" backer or ditra. Then thinset and your tile.

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