Do you ever have one of those weeks where you always feel like it's the wrong day? I've been thinking it's Thursday every day this week. Which sometimes is a good thing, but not when you've got a ton of stuff to do--it just stresses me out. But luckily today is only Wednesday, and I finally have a chance to sit down and give you guys an update on our bathroom project.
But spoiler alert, it's not a very exciting update.
Last week, I'd left off with our main demolition, but mentioned that at the end of the weekend we'd found some damaged sub floor that needed replacing. Specifically right next to the bathtub, which is usually the most common place to find sub floor damage in a bathroom.
(In case you're curious, the weight on top of cardboard that is wrapped in plastic wrap, on top of a fresh wax ring is our very professional way of sealing off our toilet hole!)
Well we did some research on mold and sub floors, and everything we found either freaked us out ("your bathtub is going to fall through your floor!") or made us think it wasn't a huge deal ("just get rid of the rotten parts, bleach it, and everything will be ok"). So we decided we needed to open up the floor some more, since we knew we'd have to replace some of it anyway, and specifically so we could check out the floor joists up close.
The joists in the bathroom had some surface mold on them, but were still solid, whew!
But because we'd determined that the main cause of the overall mold issue was really a leaky washing machine connection valve (that we'd fixed last weekend), we decided we needed to open up the adjacent laundry room floor too, since we suspected there might be more damage lurking under the vinyl floors.
Since our house was built in 1976, we made sure to send a sample of the vinyl flooring off to be tested for asbestos, to the same testing lab we used when testing before removing our popcorn ceilings. But the floors and adhesive came back asbestos-free, so we were free to pull up the laundry room floor too.
Which turned out to be quite the process!
We had one layer of sheet vinyl flooring, which came up pretty easily. Then we had a 1/4 inch layer of plywood, which wasn't too hard to cut through with the circular saw, but then we had a piece of particle board under that, which was a major PITA to remove. Not only was the particle board all crumbly near the water leak side of the room, so it was hard to pry up more than small clumps at a time, but there were like two thousand nails in it, holding it to the plywood sub floor. We couldn't really use the saw because of all of the nails, so we had to just go a few inches at a time, pulling up particle board and nails.
About halfway through removing all of the layers of the laundry room flooring, we decided it was time to take up a section of the sub floor, so we could check out those joists from the top as well.
Again, there was lots of surface mold on the joists (the dark discoloration on the tops and upper sides in the photo below), even more than in the bathroom, but no crumbly rot, so we were happy in that regard.
So that at least gave us peace of mind, that our floor joists were going to be fine. And I got to work sanding off the surface mold with our little power sander.
Yay, much cleaner! We are also going to be treating the joists with a contractor-grade fungicide that both kills and protects against future mold and dry rot, just to be safe. You can't buy the really good wood treatment stuff at hardware stores, so we had to order it online.
So. Joists were ok, check. But what about the sub floor? There was still the little alarming things that had come up in our research that were eating away at the back of our minds. Mainly, it was the question of if we needed to remove the sub floor under the wall between the bathroom and laundry room. Which happened to be a wall full of pipes and electrical, and a load bearing wall.
Cue me insisting that we, as newer home renovation DIY'ers, acknowledge when it's time to call some professionals.
So we had the pros come out yesterday, to give us quotes to replace our sub floor for us, so they would have to deal with the hassle of under the wall. But no quotes were actually given!
Turns out, we should have listened to the research that told us it wasn't that big of a deal.
We were told that we can definitely just do what needs to be done ourselves. Which is just removing the sub floor that is visibly rotten next to the bathtub, treating the surrounding flooring with bleach or fungicide, and patch the holes with fresh 1/2 inch plywood, ideally making sure the replacement sub floor spans three floor joists. Then we'll just cover everything up with 5/8ths plywood, making sure the seams are offset from the sub floor seams, and we'll be good to go with the further layers, like cement board set in thinset and tile.
Whew! What a load off, literally! No dealing with load bearing walls, no stressing about mold making our house fall apart, and even better, no having to pay someone else to work on our house.
So in the end (well, as of yesterday afternoon, ha!), we removed more sub floor than we really needed to in the laundry room, and only have a little left to remove in the bathroom near the tub. But you
Here's the laundry room, free of vinyl flooring, as of last night.
One interesting thing we found was these random holes near the door to our garage. Who knows what the builders were thinking here!
Tonight we'll be removing the last of the sub floor by the bath tub, and doing a bleach treatment on everything. Then tomorrow night and Friday night we will do the recommended two coats of the fungicide treatment, since it should arrive in the mail by then. So come Saturday we'll finally be ready to put down new sub floor and Sunday we'll hopefully be able to start putting up the drywall between the two rooms and cement board in the shower.
See? I told you it wasn't a very exciting bathroom renovation update! But we're learning, and things aren't going to get much messier before they start looking better. And you know what getting floors in and walls up this weekend means? Next weekend it will be time for the fun part, tile!