Floor Replacement

I have a very old piece of property with about 3300 sq.ft. upstairs that needs an entirely new floor. It currently has straight plank hardwood on top of a diagonal plank subfloor, and both are rotting and need to be removed so I can start the new floor from the joists. On the plus side, there are no interior walls to bother about, just a handful of old non-structural studs that can be removed to leave a wide open space to work in. My question is how difficult is it going to be to tear out this old floor, and are there any tools that would make the job easier aside from a crow-bar and claw hammer? I have no access from below, so the job has to be done entirely from above. I've never done anything quite like this before, but it seems as long as I can get the old floor out, getting the new one in won't be as much of a problem. Finally, am I wrong to think that I may be able to do this job without professional help?
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Brian wrote:

what happens at the exterior walls? if it is balloon framed, then the floor will rest on a ledger nailed to the studs. if it's platform framed, then you have more problems since the subfloor will extend under the wall plates. you'll probably need some type of backing in this case. good luck.
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First you MUST address the cause of the rot! Was the roof leaking?
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Yes, the roof was leaking, but that was addressed in the 90s and hasn't been a problem since. The second floor of the building hasn't been refinished since, so the old wood is still sitting there. The joists underneath do not appear to be rotten and surprisingly look pretty good as far as I can see through the holes.
About what happens at the exterior walls, it's solid bonded brick construction, and there's no exterior wood frame of any kind. Although I haven't looked closely (and can't at the moment because the old owner hasn't moved out quite yet), I would assume the joists go straight into the brick and the subfloor tucks under the plaster interior and stops when it hits wall. The joists are additionally supported by two very large steal I-beams that were added later in the life of the building and also run straight into the brick.
It's designated historic and has been standing for nearly a century now. It's had an interesting history, and I'm hoping to make it nice and live-able again.
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Brian wrote:

well IMHO it is within the realm of a competent DIYer. ripping out a floor is not rocket science. helps alot to cut the flooring into sections with a circular saw. assuming you are installing a plywood subfloor, you might want to work in sections--demo a four foot swath, plywood it, demo another swath, etc.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com says...

Good plan, but also go the same direction as the current subfloor (or across joists) and replace with T-n-G OSB, glued and screwed. Add to the tool list a nice cat's paw, flat pry bar, and large crowbar. Might I also recommend a reciprocing saw (Saws-All) for the edges where the circular saw can't reach? ...oh, and adjust the circular saw as closely to the depth of the sub-floor as possible. A crappy chisel is useful too.
--
Keith

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God advice. Only thing I have to add is get a set of knee pads.
Hire a couple of strong young guys to carry out the demo wood and carry in the new plywood.
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Advice from God himself? Just kidding. Yes, knee pads and a couple of day laborers to carry out the refuse will make life much easier. Especially if you're a middle-going-on-older-age fart lime me or Ed.
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Unless this roof leak was major and lasted a long time, I highly doubt the subfloor is rotted badly enough to require complete replacement. If it really is all rotted, then the joists are likely also rotted and the ceiling in the lower apartment is also in very poor shape. You probably only have a water warped hardwood floor. Rip off the hardwood floor only. Then inspect the subfloor boards. I bet you will only find a few truely rotted boards around the toilet or tub areas. Just replace those boards, and then install a new surface over the top (such as 5/8" or 3/4" plywood). Generally the subfloor goes under wall plates but the hardwood does not. This should make the job fairly easy. However, if the subfloor is rotted, you might be replacing the entire floor, joists, lower ceiling, and everything. If this is the case, you probably have serious structural damage and the roof structure may be very rotted too.
Yes, the joists most likely go right into the brick, and replacing them will be more than a nightmare if you actually have to do it. If they are that bad, I wonder if the building is worth saving, because all that would remain are the brick walls.
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I'm in that situation with one of my rehabs now. Its a concrete deck on the second floor with a corrugated roof overhead. During heavy rains, water find its way into the concrete floor and then into the ceiling below. It was like that for over 20 years but the source of the leak couldn't find until recently when I did a partial tear out. The ceiling below it is gone but surprisingly almost all of the subfloor - after removing 6 yards of concrete - is still in excellent condition and only few joists (two or three) needed to be repaired or replace. The trick was to rip the damaged portion of the ceiling out to prevent dry rot, mold and termite infestation.
For the live of me I don't understand why anyone would put a concrete sun deck on a second floor. I suppose it was cheaper to build and was popular during the 50s.
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