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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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