damp under kitchen sink and dishwasher

I am about to have hardwood floors installed in my kitchen but before doing that I am replacing my diswasher. We just bought the house (our first) a month ago. I removed the old dishwasher, which didn't work, I'm not sure how long it was broken but we were told by the previous owner that it didn't work. When I removed the diswasher I found it was really damp in that space (usual location, under the counter next to the sink). It was also damp under the kitchen sink. I started poking around at the wood under there and the wood on the floor was really soft. I spoke to a pro home inspector on the phone and he said it's not uncommon to find dampness under the sink and dishwasher. I told him I was going to remove the damp wood and clean everything up with bleach. He said that should be all I need, this guy is a certified mold treatment specialist or something and he didn't seem to concerned about mold (but he didn't see it, I was just talking to him on the phone)
The kitchen currently has linoleum floors and the flooring installer is installing right on top of the old linoleum. He said it was the perfect surface to install on and I know nothing so I thought that would be fine. Currently the linoleum is installed right up to, but not under, the dishwasher and it's a bit damp under the linoleum right in front of where the dishwasher was so I'm going to cut out that small area.
Under the sink and where the dishwasher was I removed the damp wood (plywood I think?) right down to the floor joists. Now I guess I clean up and lay down some new plywood? Does that make sense? Anything else I should do or be aware of? I want to make sure I have everything covered before I install the new dishwasher and then have the floors installed. Thanks
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Mash wrote:

The danger of mold is overblown. What most people see is mildew anyway. You can find "mold and mildew sealer" at the stoor. It seems to be a bleach solution that dries in place and leaves a coating.
Warning: I'm not a certified mold & mildew treatment specialist. I've just dealt with a lot of it. Check back with your guy for a official advice.

Figure out where the water is coming from before you put the new wood down. Everything needs to be good and dry before installing new materials. It's not unusual to find dampness where you did, but it's not normal, either. I bet you have a slow leak somewhere.
Advice: Continue the new wood into the dishwasher space. You don't want a lip that keeps you from getting the dishwasher out the next time it needs to be serviced.
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Steve Bell
New Life Home Improvement
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I'm definitely going to look for some sort of sealer for the area.

I can't seem to find where the water came from. I guess in the dishwasher space it could have come from a leaky connection, I've already disconnected the old dishwasher so I can't tell now. There doesn't seem to be any leaks from the pipe for the water source for the dishwasher. Nothing seems to be leaking from the sink either. I just ran the faucet for a few minutes and looked under the sink and didn't see anything. I'm going to try again tomorrow. You're right, I really need to try and figure out where that dampness came from.

Thanks Steve, The flooring installer told me that when he installs the floors I won't be able to get the dishwasher out. He claims if he runs wood under the dishwasher there won't be enough clearance for the dishwasher to fit, mind you he said all of this before I even had the new washer. I think he's just trying to do as little as possible and get out. I'm definitely going to try to either run the floor right under the dishwasher or at least raise the dishwasher up on wood of similar height. I don't want that thing stuck in there forever. Thanks for the advice
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Mash wrote:

He's not really being lazy; that's the normal floor installation method. I just don't like the normal method. I'm do both dishwasher repair and floor installation. Thinking ahead makes both possible.
Possibilities: * Get a dishwasher that's short enough to fit. (I haven't checked to see if they make them this way, but it's worth investigating.) * The dishwasher feet are adjustable. Make them shorter. * Trim 3/4" (or so) off the counter trim at the top. You might not have counter trim....
How is he planning on getting the dishwasher *in* after the floor is laid? Or have you already installed a new one?
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I looked around but didn't find anything shorter.

I'm going to try adjusting the feet, or maybe removing them if that buys me anything. I don't have counter trim.

I'm installing the dishwasher before he lays the new floors. So I'll be able to tell today if I'll be able to get it out after installing the floors.
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It's a solid teak floor, so it's not laminate if that makes a difference. I was a little worried about wood in the kitchen as well but I've talked to a few people that have it and they've had no problems....hopefully I don't.
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The linoleum did not run under the old dishwasher, there was some plywood under there. I've removed the plywood because it got damp and I'm going to dry everything out and put some new plywood, maybe lay some tarpaper then put some 2X4's or something else that will bring the dishwasher (hopefully) up to the same level that the new floor will be. Does that sound ok? The new floor is a solid wood prefinished floor (teak)

Do you mean that there is probably more damage from the dampness? Is the only way to tell to pull them out? The cabinets are oak. Thanks
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"Mash" wrote

How bad was the dampness? Do the walls seem damp also along it?
Some folks might go a little overboard on 'damp control' due to their area where it is more of a problem. In your case, it seems more like a slow leak with some softened plywood. You didnt indicate 'totally rotted out' (which may mean problems under it as well).
Is your area a particularily damp area? Like New Orleans or Norfolk area which was recovered swamp?
I'm in Norfolk area. We know lots about damp control ;-) I wouldnt pull the cabinets myself if they seemed ok. I'm also on slab construction (almost everything here is) so there's no problem with minor leaks on slab.
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We're in Massachusetts, there are wetlands/swamp about 400 feet behind the house and the area is heavily wooded so yes it's a pretty damp area. There was no rotting in the cabinets or plywood and the only dampness was on the wood on the floor. Basically the cabinets under the sink and the one holding the diswasher have no bottoms to them, there is just plywood over the floor and this plywood was damp. The cabinets themselves didn't seem bad at all. I've going to leave the cabinets in and hope for the best. Thanks
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"Mash" wrote

Good and he's right. Unless you have especially sensitive to mold problems (allergies etc) then unless you saw or smelled alot of mold, it's probabaly not a problem.

There are several ways to find a slow leak. While it's apt to have been where the dishwasher was from the sounds of it, you can test the rest the easy way.
Get a bottle of dark food coloring and a roll of white paper towels (or use an old white sheet thats ready for the rag bag). Wipe the pipes down to completely clean so no dirt comes back on a paper towel. Fill the sink (both sides if a double) and dump the dye in. Let the water out after lining the 'floor' with paper towels. Look for drips. They will be easy to see from the dye. Wipe the pipes again carefully looking for any dye. Check the trap and pipes again after about 15 mins (slow leaks may take a little to show). If nothing, it was apt to have been the dishwasher or the connector to the dishwasher which is now removed ;-)

Seems he's taking shortcuts? Perhaps not. Mine has a cabinet facing that had to go when we replaced the old unit. Personally I'd rather have the cabinet space back and use a portable dishwasher (the sort you just hook to the sink faucets). I've had those before and they work well in the middle to higher end models.
Congrats on the new house! I'm sure we will see more of you over the next 2 years ;-)
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That's great advice. Thanks.

A portable is a good option, I hadn't thought of that. See if the wife goes for it:)

Thanks, the house needs a bunch of work, so yes, you'll be seeing alot of me .
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"Mash" wrote

It's the easy stuff most of us miss the first time. You can pay a plumber to do this and will cost you 75$ or youy can do it for about 5$.

Be sure to explain it. It 'sounds' bad at the start. In my case, we lack counterspace so this made added counterspace in a dead corner. They *do* work at 'potscrubber' levels if not the cheapest ones. I just loaded it as normal, then rolled it to the sink and hooked it up when time to run it.
I really *really* wish I had it back as well as my sparse cabinet space. That section with a bunch of drawers would be better than the dishwaster.

Thanks, the house needs a bunch of work, so yes, you'll be seeing alot of me .
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wrote:

Hardwood floors in a kitchen? I"m reminded of a neighbor who had a flooded basement and complained and moaned that the carpeting was ruined. I said to just vacuum and let it dry and she said that wouldn't work because it was natural fiber, and I kept my mouth shut but though, "This is what you get when you put natural fiber in a basement. You made your bed, now lie in it.

Do you think it was only damp because it was their dishwasher, that this can't happen to YOUR dishwasher?
There are a several things in a kitchen that can leak.
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