Summer of the subfloor.
As a middle school teacher and coach I find myself at a loss for leisure time during the months of August through May. As May 2017 was rapidly running out of days I was beginning to get more and more excited about the relaxing summer break that would soon be upon me. June was spent mostly catching up on rest and time missed with the family during the busy school and sports year, as well as putting off the replacement of some recently buckled flooring in the pier and beam house that my wife and I bought in November 2015 . With the arrival of July also came the reality of only having a few weeks left of summer to start and complete my flooring project. Though planning is not really my strength, I decided to turn over a new leaf. I researched flooring and installation online, spoke to professional flooring installers, priced and compared materials, and even made a price list. Once I was satisfied with the data I accumulated I took my $500 end of the year bonus down to the nearest home improvement store and bought some nice premium engineered vinyl plank flooring along with underlayment and a few tools to help the job go as smooth as possible.
Just as I had reached the me loving some well-prepared me peak, I began to pull up the old vinyl tile flooring in the utility room. Now I have heard the quote that “everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face” numerous times throughout my life, but as it turns out plans also go out of the window when you are punched in the gut as well. With every tile that I pulled up I discovered another section of spongy, rotten subfloor underneath. I frantically removed tile after tile until I found myself no longer in the utility room, but halfway down the hallway still searching for solid subflooring. I was in denial for about 2 days before I eventually came back to reality and realized that our entire home was resting on a rotten subfloor. Uh-oh.
The rest of July and the first two weeks of August I did nothing but demolish and replace subflooring as well as address some water issues that were occurring under my house. It was a lot of hard work, and I am not nearly finished with the entire house, but it was a great learning experience for me. I am pretty handy, and even more determined, but it was definitely a challenging job. Our house was built in the 1950’s when it was very common in our area to use tongue-and-groove 1×6’s run diagonally for a house’s subfloor. Though this technique makes for a nice, thick subfloor, it also becomes a nightmare to replace when the wood rots. With a plywood subfloor you can simply cut out the bad sections of the wood, block underneath, and cut a piece of plywood equivalent in thickness and replace. The 1×6’s on the other hand have each board spanning at least half of the house. Even if there is one solid board in a rotten area it must be cut out to replace the other rotten boards. These 1×6 boards also make replacing subflooring one room at a time nearly impossible due to the fact that the board may be very rotten its entire span, so as you try to cut it even with the wall or entrance of one room, it may be crumbling under the adjoining wall or entrance of the next room, making it necessary to begin replacement in that room as well.
I cannot honestly say that I enjoy the discovery of my rotten subfloor or the money that I had to spend on materials to replace what I pulled out, but I can say that I enjoyed the construction process overall. I am nowhere near finished with the job, as the majority of our house will still have to have its flooring ripped up and subfloor replaced, but at least I am not completely oblivious to the problem that exist. I plan on tackling the areas that are in the worst shape this coming summer which will be the master bathroom and living room. May 2018 may not be filled with daydreams of a lazy, relaxing summer the way its 2017 counterpart was, but at least July 2018 will not hold the same nasty surprise its 2017 did.
Please disregard my butt in the background. I will have a post about a few tools that made this job infinitely easier than going at it without them shortly. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me via the email address on my contact page. Thanks for reading!