My bathroom floor project

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Well-Known Member
Jun 27, 2014
So, this one had some mixed results. I really should have looked this up online before tackling it, but I relied on advice from an elderly friend on some things and didn't even think to check online for solutions.

My house was built in the 30s or 40s if not earlier and at some point some "genius" decided to put carpet in the bathrooms. They installed the toilet and vanity on top of the carpet. The house was originally a one-bedroom home but they expanded and added two more. They did not update the septic tank though, so it was insufficient. Long story short, the sewage backed up, busted the wax seals on the toilets, and ruined the floor.

We had previously had the carpets pulled out and cheap vinyl rug installed-- had no idea about carpet under the toilet. The vinyl started bubbling up and I could feel water moving underneath it. When we yanked out the toilet, I saw this:




The wood under the carpet was the consistency of mud so I scooped it out.

I set a dehumidifier up to suck up the moisture. Later I chiseled the floor along the walls and vanity to remove the ruined board. I patched the moisture barrier and got a flattened cardboard box. I bought some cheap lipstick and spread it on the closet flange to transfer the mark for a template. I then put the template over some luan and traced it out. Then I cut the luan to fit and put it in place. I used decking screws to secure it - I countersunk them so they wouldn't stick up and then I covered them in wood putty.

I discovered that the new wood was not the same thickness as the old one even though it was pretty close. I suspect there was some expansion due to water, plus I've been told that boards used to come in slightly different thickness. It wasn't a huge deal, but I wanted to install vinyl sheet and didn't want to have a line there. I tried to cover it with wood putty to smooth the transition, but I wasn't happy with that so I opted for some self-leveling flooring. I got a small container which should have covered the small space. Unfortunately I put the project off for far too long and the stuff clumped up from moisture.

I had a friend helping me and he decided to start pouring the liquid in to the mix before I could try to break up the clumps. We used a mixing attachment on my cordless drill to stir but it was the consistency of slightly runny peanutbutter-- chunky peanutbutter. My friend poured while I tried to spread it. It didn't seem quite as bad at first, but it wouldn't flow. I tried to smooth it out as best as I could but I had never worked with the tools before and this was my first attempt. In retrospect, I wish I'd done a practice run outside. My friend felt sick from the smell of the mix, but it didn't bother me since I've dealt with worse odors. I spent another 20 minutes trying to smooth things out and then my friend needed a lift back home because his wife was nagging him. When I got back, it was too firm to smooth out and the bumps were sticking up higher. There is no working light in the room and it was dark at that point so I couldn't really see much. In the morning I was not so happy with what I saw.

The cardboard I used to block the flow was stuck firmly in the solid crud. It was not level, and some of the raised parts were actually sharp. I tried to do some chiseling to smooth things out, but it is hard as a rock. I was hoping I could break it up and remove it, but it is tough stuff. I took a belt sander to it to try to smooth it out and it ripped the sandpaper. I tried a hand sander as well. It didn't really do much at all.

I had previously purchased some vinyl sheet rug that I was told could be installed without glue-- that it was a type that could just be laid in. I decided that to protect the underside and keep the floor from being cold in winter, I should get an underlayment. I thought this would also soften the effect of the bumpy floor. So I got some cheap underlayment and taped it down-- I used the tape that came on it to seal the underside and put packing tape on top. I used the old cardboard template to get things cut to fit around the vanity and openings for the water supply and closet flange. I had no space inside with enough room to lay the stuff out flat so I took it outside. The wind kicked up and then my dogs thought it would be fun to come get in the way. I ended up just taking it back inside and putting it in.

I used the cardboard template for the sheet vinyl-- which I had to try to spread out on my bed and across my room. It's a 10'x12' sheet so it was not easy for me to maneuver on my own. I had wanted for the stuff to go at least an inch up all of the walls and such but my template slipped (my cats decided to climb all over things when I was trying to work). I had a hell of a time getting the roll around the corner and in to the bathroom. I had to make one cut before bringing it in so I could get it to roll open enough to start fitting it in place. I got most of it done but had some trouble with the north wall area so I got my brother to help. I asked him to help hold it up on one of the walls because I needed to cut it to fit around the corner. He said it would be easier if I let him cut while I held it up. I made the mistake of agreeing (he's worse at DIY stuff than I am). Messed up a bit and cut too much so there is about a 1" gap between the wall and the vinyl. It still turned out better than I thought it would.

The room feels much nicer and even looks larger now that the stuff is set in place. I still need to re-do the self-leveling flooring and maybe make some adjustments to the vinyl sheet. I got some tape specifically for vinyl sheet that I can use to tape the floor down. I'm debating whether or not to remove portions of the underlayment where the tape is going to go, or if I should tape the underlayment to the floor and tape the vinyl to the underlayment. (I'm probably eliciting some facepalms from the pros right now).

Next I need to figure out how to cover up some of the gaps. I do have some excess rug left over but I don't think it would be necessary for the 1" gap area. I'm thinking I could maybe slide the sheet over a teeny bit and cover some gaps with quarter round or base molding (or a combo of both).

More pics in next few posts...
Mud-consistency pulled out

Ruined board removed

Cardboard template:


The underlayment:




The last pic was before I taped the underlayment together at that spot.
Vinyl sheet pt 2

(I have since smoothed out the lumps next to the closet flange somewhat, but the lumpy stuff underneath doesn't help)



The old vinyl sheet was tucked under the carpet somehow. I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to accomplish that with the new stuff.

I know this is a hack job and probably making some people cringe. In the last pic you can see where at one spot there is a 1" gap from the wall on the right. Its not a consistent 1" gap, but the knife went crooked at one point.

Other than gutting everything, any tips or advice? I'm hoping to do better on the next bathroom flooring job.

I want to put vinyl sheet in two more bathrooms and go with vinyl plank in some other areas.
No. I'll have to get a photo of what is in the doorway. Basically the carpet is just folded under itself at the end and I think it was tacked down on top of the vinyl. It wasn't very easy to dislodge the remains of the old vinyl. I was thinking of putting some sort of threshold in to keep any water that might overflow from flowing to the carpet. Thus far I've been lucky and when the sewage backed up, it didn't make it that far, although it pretty much flooded the rest of the bathroom.

I have a 50lb sack of some sort of self-leveling product. Henry's brand. I got a bottle of primer. I'm currently trying to figure out how much of it I would need for the small space near the toilet because I really don't care about leveling the entire floor. I just want my toilet to be level and to make sure there are no sharp/defined ridges to mess up the finished floor. My friend stuck vinyl over a ridge from slightly varying floor heights in his own home (he had peeled up some old thin plywood that was damaged but he didn't remove all of it). It created a line in the vinyl and eventually started to tear there. Anyway, I think its a 3'x4' area, but I'll have to go measure to make certain. The bag of the mix says I need to put down a metal or plastic lath. The stuff I saw in the store was all too large, but I have some leftover chickenwire that I'm thinking of using. I'm trying to figure out the best material to put up along the edges and around the hole for the water intake and the closet flange. I really hope this stuff will be as sturdy as the previous mix and that it won't crack like the powdery stuff the flooring guy used in the laundry room to patch the floor. That stuff just crumbled.

Do you think the underlayment will be ok under the vinyl? I'm also trying to figure out what to put against the tub in terms of trim/molding where it meets the floor. The front apron is currently resting on top of a strip of wood that is not flush with the tub. It previously had an ugly wood strip pressed against it.

Here's a closeup from before I cleaned the place up.
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The stone tiles can be used in all rooms whether living, kitchen, bedrooms or even bathrooms to bring that fine look to your floors.
LOL. And here I thought I was getting some constructive commentary but it was spam. Bummer. LOL. I still need to get pictures and get measurements. I'm just being lazy.
Since I read every new post, they like to post something simple then come back later and edit spam into it. The clue was, the poster says in their profile they are from the UK but their IP is from India.
Yeah, the comments they made seemed to indicate they were moving toward selling something or promoting a certain product.
Yes, havasu is correct. I also was hoping it would keep the floor a little bit warmer since the floors tend to get quite cold in the winter. The house does not have siding that extends to the ground to close off the underside of the house. It is just open so cold air goes through. Plus the original floor is a bit rough and when I had the old vinyl sheet put in, the installers didn't check to see if the floor was smooth and there were some nails sticking up that punctured the old stuff. The newer stuff is thicker and more forgiving and I searched for anything protruding from the floor to smack down and smooth it out, but I wanted to be on the safe side.

The foam underlayment is probably not the best idea, but it did help me a bit with the template.

I don't know whether or not it will be a problem, but I hope it won't be.

i will need to figure out what sort of baseboard is best right up against the tub. I need something that won't have water dripping down into it all the time (obviously I'll need some sort of caulk. Since there is a piece of wood under the tub that sticks out a bit, I'll have to either find a way to push it in or trim it, or trim the molding to fit around it.

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