How to Fix a Sinking Bathroom Floor
LESLIE: Daniel in Illinois is on the line dealing with a dipping bathroom floor. What’s going on?
DANIEL: I’ve got an older house that I’m doing some work on. And the bathroom floor seems to dip from the bathtub on one side, down, and from the sink and the toilet on the other side, down towards the middle.
DANIEL: And I’m wondering what would be the easiest way to – for a homeowner to be able to fix something like that.
TOM: Bathroom floors typically get weak in two places. One is at the edge of the bathtub and that happens from just years and years of water splashing over the side of the tub or as you get in and out of the tub, just water dripping down there getting the floor wet and it started to decay. And the other area is right around the base of the toilet.
Based on that, do you think that any of this could be decay or do you sense it’s more of a structural defect?
DANIEL: I’m thinking it probably is more of the decay because it’s more prominent towards the toilet side of the floor.
TOM: OK. So what you’re going to need to do in that situation is basically replace the floor. So you have to take out the toilet and you would have to tear up the floor and get to the – whatever is below the tile. I presume you have tile. There’s probably going to be plywood there.
And you want to get down to something that’s reasonably flat. It doesn’t have to be completely rot-free because if it has some structural integrity, you can put a new layer of plywood on top of that. And that will transfer the support to that upper layer and it will work quite well.
The other thing to keep in mind is the toilet flange may have to be adjusted by your plumber up a bit so that it ends up being flush with whatever the new floor level is going to be. But when the floor decays like that, there’s no way it can be patched. It really is a structural issue and it has to be properly repaired. It’s kind of a pain-in-the-neck job because you’ve got to work in such a small place and you’ve got to take the toilet out to do it. But it really is the best way to do it.
DANIEL: OK. Alright. Sounds great. Thank you very much.
TOM: Alright, Daniel. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.