Replacing Water-Damaged Floors
LESLIE: Jim in Oregon is calling in with a bathroom floor issue. What’s going on?JIM: Hi. I just bought a new house, an existing home; it’s about 15 years old. And when I first got into it, in the laundry room they just had vinyl floor down but it was loose underneath the washer and dryer. And I knew there had been a water leak there because there was some damage to the sheetrock, so I pulled up the vinyl and then I ended up taking out all of the particleboard because I’m going to put ceramic tile down or porcelain tile.TOM: OK.JIM: So I went down to the plywood subfloor and the plywood subfloor was stained, so I could see that it had water; quite a bit of water at one time. And my question is if I should treat that before I cover it up.TOM: Well, is it dry at this point, Jim?JIM: Yeah, it’s dry now.TOM: Yeah, I don’t think there’s any need for you to treat it; as long as it’s dry, it’s not warped or twisted or anything of that nature. You’ll be happy to know that once the moisture evaporates, any decay that could have begun will automatically cease.JIM: OK.TOM: So there’s really no point in putting any kind of sealer on it at this point.JIM: If there’s any type of a moldy smell or anything, could I just paint the plywood with some type of a sealer that is specific for odor hiding?TOM: How are you going to attach the tile?JIM: I’m going to be putting down thinset and then backer board and then it’s going to be covered up with …TOM: OK, so you’re going to physically attach the backer board to it? Like screwing it in place?JIM: To the plywood.TOM: Yeah.JIM: Right.TOM: Well, if it’ll make you feel better, there’s no reason you can’t seal it if you want to use a good-quality sealer or a paint to seal that in; if you think that’s going to make the odor go away. I don’t really think you have to. You’re going to have so much material on top of it that I think it’s going to seal in naturally. And once it dries out and you get normal ventilation in that space, I don’t think you’re going to have any odor problems.JIM: Alright.TOM: Because think about it; the thinset, the adhesive, the backer board. You know, what difference is a thin layer of paint going to make?JIM: Right, exactly. (chuckles) OK. Sounds good.TOM: Alright, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.