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Unread 05-10-2007, 09:10 AM   #1
yankeelaw
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Help building subfloor in old bathroom renovation

I have some questions regarding subflooring and underlayment in my bathroom renovation. As background, it is a 1951 cape cod; I recently finished demolition, which was quite a task. The wall was mudset; tiles attached to about 2 inches of mud, which was attached to wire mesh. Floor tile attached to about 2 inches of mud. I eventually got everything off. Good times.

Actually, almost everything.. There appears to be cement or something in between the joists, as you can see from the pictures. I am 99% certain this has to come up because (1) it is uneven and feels warped, and (2) there is damage particularly by flange, where there is a hole. It should come up pretty easily, although you will note that it is also attached to the piping.

I will ultimately be putting a light stone tile on the floor. My questions:

(1) I should be putting down 3/4 plywood for subfloor + approx 3/4 plywood for underlayment + backerboard or ditra; does this sound about right? (note that, because of the previous mud, I have 2+ inches to work with before its even with the adjoining floor).

(2) Does it matter the layout of the plywood as long as it is staggered and the grain is against the joists? I have seen discussion of using 8x4, and then 4x4.. but my bathroom floor is not 8x across or 4x wide! I will need much smaller cuts.

(3) As you can see in the pictures, the bathtub seems to be on two pieces of wood; do I just cut the plywood around that wood? Or, because there is no joist near the tub, should I use that wood to secure the plywood?

(4) There is some wood at certain parts of the edges that will also be above the joists (for example the corner by the door and sink); do I work around that also?

(5) After I lay the floor, should I construct the walls before or after I lay all the tiles?

Thanks! Much appreciated, this board is great.

PS - the board won't let me add photos or post links; you can see them in the photobucket album:

s187 [dot] photobucket [dot] com/albums/x30/yankeelaw/
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Unread 05-10-2007, 09:22 AM   #2
MudMaker
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Howdy Yank,
After a couple of posts you can post pics.. It's a spam thing.. Either bump yourownself up or refine a question or something.. I think it's 3 posts..
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Unread 05-10-2007, 09:23 AM   #3
yankeelaw
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bump to earn photo privileges!
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Unread 05-10-2007, 09:24 AM   #4
yankeelaw
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another bump for photo privileges!
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Unread 05-10-2007, 09:30 AM   #5
yankeelaw
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Thanks for the bumping tip! OK, here are the photos:






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Unread 05-10-2007, 12:51 PM   #6
Elkski
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whats the deal?

What did they do put a bottom cap on those joists and then run the plumbing and then fill it up with mortar? And then another 2" mud bed?? Hod deep are those joists? Man that looks like a solid floor. Why did you take out the old tile? it couldn't have had a crack in it.
Whats below and above the red bricks in the wall?
Is that damage to the tub? does it stay?
How much of that old galvanized do you plan on replacing? Where does it go under the tub? Can you get to that termination? Was your flowrate ok before?
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Unread 05-10-2007, 01:43 PM   #7
yankeelaw
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Thanks for responding.

To answer your questions:
-I don't know how deep the joists are; I will measure when I get home, via the hole by the flange.

-I took out old tile because I was under the impression that I could not tile over it; there were cracks, for what its worth.

-above and below the red bricks; actually I'm not sure, cinderblock? granite? There is a window on that wall.

-We figure the tub will stay; it is in decent shape, aside from a ding or two from the demolition.. will need to be relined i presume.

As for your other questions.. to be honest I was hoping not to do much plumbing if it could be avoided; I was crossing my fingers that I could just install the new sink and toilet where the old ones were. Is this unrealistic?

Thanks in advance for all the help.
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Unread 05-10-2007, 02:48 PM   #8
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as for the tile I am not the expert you need. That is really strange construction from where I have lived.
I saw that new copper line and electrical wire and figured you or someone was trying to update the house. It sure wouldn't hurt to fir that brick wall out some more for insulation. I really cant figure out your sink plumbing.. looks like 3 stub outs. How do those threads look on that sink elbow? Maybe you should cap off these pipes and check for leaks in some of those unions on the floor and everywhere. Or have those galvanized pipes been replaced with new copper runs.?
Is the toilet flange sturdy.
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Unread 05-10-2007, 04:02 PM   #9
jadnashua
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Personal opinion, if the tub has a couple of dings, and you have gutted the rest, consider replacing it since refinishing is problematic at best, and bad news at worst. cast iron tubs start to rust once you've compromised the porcelain finish.
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Unread 05-10-2007, 04:38 PM   #10
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that tub must be for short folks.?? I feel the wife might be getting a kerdi shower with seat out of this deal.

Maybe that is just tape on the tub..
Just make sure you draw the line at the bathroom door or you might end up with the whole house gutted.
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Unread 05-11-2007, 09:12 AM   #11
yankeelaw
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Ok, measured the joists best I could.. they appear to be 1.5"x8". As for the tub, the mark you are seeing is actually tape. The damage is a ding here and there from an errant hammer when trying to get out the wall tiles.

I admittedly hadn't put much thought into the plumbing. Everything worked previously, so I figured I'd just work around it and pop the new sink and toilet right where the previous ones were. Is this foolish?

Thanks again.
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Unread 05-11-2007, 10:31 AM   #12
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not sure of the rest of the house condition and your checkbook balance but bathrooms do make a good return on investment for resale and you are 1 tub away from a complete redo. It might be 500 $ more but in the scope of labor that you have done and have to do it would appear to me to be a minimal additional load. At this point I saw sketch up the the floorplan and layout your best bathrrom which maybe just how it was.??
I asked if the water flow rate was good before?
And is the copper I see some new plumbing for this bath or just running by. Maybe that old galvanized is just unused.?

Show us some more pics of the tub shower area and ceiling. Is there shower head?

This reminds me of a bath remodel I did on a 1932 pier and beam house in Houston. The joists were almost as hard as petrified wood to cut. A leaky toilet seal for decades does not do much good for a pine 1x6 sub floor with pine on top.
This old house was about 1000 ft and basically they put the joists on the beams and a rim and then covered it all with pine 1x6 at a diagonal and then covered the 2 bedrooms and bath side of the house with pine and the dinning living room with quarter sawn oak flooring and then built all the walls on top of that. I still say ripping out that old asbestos laden kitchen floor is going to shorten my life and lead paint chipping galore. Good news is that was 18 years ago and I haven't had to redo it yet.
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Unread 05-18-2007, 08:53 AM   #13
yankeelaw
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OK! Back with some new updates, questions, and pictures.

I took your advice about replacing the tub; it was a steel tub that is now in two pieces in my yard. I will probably replace it with an Americast tub (I know that is somewhat controversial).

I have some answers about the confusing plumbing -- it turns out that when the previous owners installed a bathroom in our basement, directly underneath this one, they used the access they had to run new piping to the sink, toilet, and tub. So those galvanized pipes you saw in the pictures --- they had been cut off and replaced with copper piping that runs through the basement. So that answers that!

I also removed the cement (or whatever it was) that was between the joists (and underneath the mud subfloor which I previously removed). I also was able to remove the now-defunct galvanized piping. Below all this, this is what I found: there is wood "railing" (sorry I don't know the technical terms) attached to the joists, and pieces of wood planks laid on that railing. I would guess there is about an inch gap between the top of the planks and the top of the joists.

I am not entirely sure what purpose the planks serve other than to make it easier to walk? They could probably use replacement, particluarly one or two near the tub -- should I do that? And I assume I should replace the two boards for the tub?

I guess I should have a plumber come in to prepare the pipes/toilet flange, or is that something I could do?

And then am I finally ready to lay the plywood subfloor and underlayment? And after that, sand/fur/insulate the studs and then put up the walls?

Thanks again for all the tips. Below are some pics.



Tub area:









Sink:



Toilet:

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Unread 05-18-2007, 05:24 PM   #14
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Well, those recessed planks were probably holding up a mudbed tiled floor (along with the joists). Other than that, they serve no purpose. It really depends on your skill levels, but replacing the drains is doable for many people. It is usually easier to cut the cast iron and then transition to pvc or abs. Cutting the cast iron is quickly done if you rent a snap cutter. Simple to use and works slick. I rented one at HD, but I'm sure you can get them other places. You almost certainly would need to move the drain for a new tub, and definately for a new shower. Keep in mind that for a shower, you should use 2", but a tub can be 1.5". Didn't look that close to tell what you have. If you snap the main stack, make sure it is VERY well supported before you do on both the top and bottom - the stuff is VERY heavy. They make clamps for this - they typically are installed above the ceiling resting on the wall header.
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Unread 01-29-2011, 09:22 AM   #15
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I run into these problems a lot when doing renovations to my house, which I about 40 years old. I often wonder what they were thinking, and we should never assume we will just be able to slide a new updated fixture in there and it work. The most common problem I have seen is that all of my valves no longer work. All of the packing material inside has deteriorated because they have haven't been used in so long! (obviously that's why I'm doing the upgrades!)

For the remodel, you have done an extensive amount of work. Right, wrong or indifferent I would suggest replacing the tub. You might as well do a 100% renovation instead of a 90%. You will be much happier in the end! Good luck!
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