Underlayment Mess (glued to subfloor?)

Folks,
The other day I started a project to remove old, ugly and cracked ceramic tile in the powder room. The ceramic tile was cemented to a plywood underlayment. Today, while trying to pry up the underlayment I found this:
http://v65.freeshell.org/subfloor_mess.jpg
It seems the underlayment is glued, nailed and screwed to the subfloor or perhaps another thinner underlayment. Can't really tell. I only mention this because I would have assumed the previous owner would have placed the underlayment atop the vinyl tile and then the ceramic tile atop the underlayment.
This supposedly simple job is beginning to turn into a BIG mess.
Any ideas of how to proceed?
TIA!
Greg remove "rider" to respond directly
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As the Irishman said... "I wouldn't start from here".
First, you should establish exactly what layers you do have present.
Only then can you decide which ones you're going to remove and how you're going to build up a new layer on which to install the new floor covering.
Let us know what you find. It would also be helpful to know what new covering you're planning to install.
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On Wed, 28 Mar 2007 19:22:50 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote:
-snip-

OK, thanks for a quick response. According to this pic...
http://v65.freeshell.org/subfloor_tile_layers.jpg
...it looks like there is, in fact, another beneath the 1/2" or 3/4" plywood underlayment. Only thing is, if it's glued... I'm in for a BIG headache. I'll set my circular saw to go a little deeper to see if I can pop up a piece beneath where the sink was.
Here's another profile of the nasty tile in the kitchen.
http://v65.freeshell.org/subfloor_kitchen_tile.jpg

Assuming I can get, cleanly, to the 3/4" subfloor... I was planning on laying down a 1/4" underlayment (nailing not gluing) and placing 12" tile down to cover about 40 sq. ft. in the powder room. Nothing fancy. Just functional.
Thanks again for your PROMPT response.
Greg remove "rider" to respond directly.
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Phew, right. I think you have a decent plan. But you'll just need to decide which layers to remove so you'll have a reasonably level and sound surface on which to build.
I'm not sure we can guide you much further than that. You can see, touch, feel, smell the existing layers and get a sense for which are most sound or unsound as a foundation.
However, since I'm quite sure you don't want to be back at this point in 6 or 12 months, I'd be inclined to remove more rather than less. In other words, if you doubt the soundness of a particular layer, then it has to go.
I would approach it one layer at a time. You might find one of the top layers comes off easily leaving a very clean surface on which to rebuild. Again, you'll need to use some judgement. But if it looks dry, smooth, solid, with no moisture or movement, you're probably done. And I think there's a decent chance you'll reach that point reasonably quickly. Good luck!
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The least amount of blood sweat and tears will simply be to replace the entire subfloor. It can be done as follows: First, use a hole saw to drill through the whole mess. Pull the cut plug out of the hole saw and use it as a guide to prepare a couple of jig saw blades just long enough to slice though the layers. With the powder room attributes out of the way, start cutting and removing the floor in sections parallel with the joists. Lay down new subflloor sections (ready cut plywood best) with ring shank nails and construction adhesive. Where partition walls cover part of the old subfloor, some work with a sharp chisel will give you a good nailing ledge. Although this seems like a rather radical approach, I've done similar projects with great results. On nice thing is that you don't have other problems like toilet seals and flange heights getting screwed up and having to take doors down to trim off the bottom edges. HTH
Joe
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