What is a satisfactory floor repair? Please help!

We are a young married couple with a young toddler who just finally purchased their first home. We do not close on this house until May 31st. We put in an offer contignent on the fact that the realtor who currently owns the house fixes the floor in the main bathroom. We had the house inspected and everything looked good except for this floor problem.
Around the tub there is some water damage. I noticed it when we visited the home around a second time before we made our offer. The laminate was bubbled up some. When you pushed on the laminate - it sunk. You could tell the floor has experience some deterioration. While the vast majority of the floor is in good condition, you can inspect the exact problem and area from the basement. You can see the water damage which come through all the way to the basement ceiling.
This is why we are needing help. We inspected the house today and the man who fixed teh floor only replaced the first layer of the floor in the bathroom and put down new laminate. From above, it looks good. However, when you go to the basement and look at the spot - I expected to see a new board or patch repair there too. He did not replace the very bottom board (basement ceiling). SHouldn't this repair have been done all the way through to the studs? Or is this a typical repair and will it be safe for the next 15+ years.
We are unsure what caused the damage. It doesn't look like a current leak - pretty old so we assume they got it fixed just never repaired the floor. Can't tell if it was a leak or just water from the bathtub while shower, etc. They did have kids. But we will never know the source of what caused it.
What is acceptable? Our offer is contignent on the fact that we are "satisfied"/ I am just sick about this.
The bottom layer has rot in it. It is not a huge section but especiall the areas around the pipes/etc. The wood is definitely rotten and you could stick a pen in the basement ceiling and break some pieces off.
I don't know if this makes any sense! I have tired to explain this the best I can but hubby nor I are just learning the ropes of home repair.
We don't want to get ripped off and accept a half hearted job. It is this a satisfactory repair or should have the whole floor all the way to the studs been replaced to get rid of ALL evidence of rot? Is some rot ok if it is on the bottom layer?
Your opinions and guidance are so appreciated!
Look forward to some responses!
Thanks, 1st Time Buyers in Michigan
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Don't be sick about. Relax. It may be your first home but hopefully it won't be your last.
I am going to quote and answer:

Due to the poor wording in most contracts you are in charge here unless you are unreasonable.

The chance of any bathroom floor lasting 15 years is 50% at best. Better care = better results.

Not necessarily. But if you can tear out any wood with a dull object, like a spoon or your finger, then yes it should have been replaced.
The source most likely was a little water over a long period of time. As in shower curtain vs. shower doors. Dripping bodies and no towel on the floor. Or no one who cared enough to mop the floor after either of the above.
The final test is the strength of the floor. There should be no give to the floor. If your 300 pound hubby stands on one foot in the old soft area. It should feel solid. If there is any give to the floor at all I would suggest that you might want to reject the repair as not acceptable.
BTW, laminate floors are a poor choice for a bathroom floor.
But remember what I said first. You are in charge here. You have the cash and they have the house. Be reasonable but be satisfied or take your cash to another house.
Please do a follow-up post and let all of us know how this works out. Very few people take the time to do that.
Best wishes.
Colbyt
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Colbyt wrote:

Colbyt's advice is sound.
How about having your home inspector check out the repair?
Any wood that can EASILY penetrated or removed with a hand tool (screw driver, putty knife) is unsound & needed to be replaced.
Safety is not really much of an issue as long as the floor doesn't feel spongy or soft.
The most likely cause of this problem is long term leakage passed the shower curtain, or enclosure, poor fastening of the flooring to the floor plywood along tub, inadequate caulking along the tub.
Not solving these problems will just result in more rot down stream.
cheers Bob
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Colbyt's and BobK's advice is about right, but here are 2 more tidbits:
1- When you say "laminate", you probably mean the typical vinyl sheet flooring found in bathrooms and kitchens, right? That is perfectly acceptable, and very common. You don't mean "laminate hardwood wood flooring" which would look just like (more or less) a hardwood floor, right? That is bad for bathrooms because all the cracks between the boards can soak up water, ruining the fake wood.
2- Maybe it would have been best to replace all the rotten wood. But don't kill yourself over this -- go look at it, or have someone else do it (an inspector, friend, etc). Many bathroom floors have lots of layers put on over the years. My bathroom floor, for instance, is about 3 inches think (several layers of plywood, linolium, and wood planks at the very bottom), and getting down to the very bottom would be a major expense and headache, and not really worth it since the top layers can easily support the floor all by themseleves even if the bottom layer has a little rot. I recently replaced just the top layers myself, and left a little rot way down beneath. Just make sure it dries out, doesn't expand, etc.
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Unless you see rot, soft wood, the repair was probably correct, any mold that is sealed cant get airborn, you are probably fine.
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you can easily see rot from the basement on the very last layer of the bathroom floor. This ceiling is currently unfinished and exposed to what will be my daughter's playroom. :(
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Yes, I am sorry if my termology isn't right....as I mentioned very unexperienced here. No laminate hardwood in the bathroom just typical laminate like in a kitchen. We would had prefered tiles but unfortunately that wasn't a compromise we could come to. Thanks for your suggestions.
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If you see rot in the basement, Demand it be repaired. Or get a good discount.
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I think you have a great idea. I think I will call our home inspector and ask him what you thought. I did ask him when he was doing the inspection "What can I look for so that I know they did a satisfactory repair." He pointed out he thought they would remove a certain chunk of the floor (rectangular in shape) and that I would notice this new flooring from the basement. He never said anything about leaving the rot in the basement ceiling of the house! This is a furnished area which soon we have a drywall ceiling installed. It will turn into my toddler;s playroom as it is a walkout basement with tons of space. This suggestion of mold has definitely caused me some concern. The inspector did agree with recaulking the tub area...Thanks!
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Colby,
Your right - I should be sick about it. I am more frustrated than anything. I thought the bathroom looked great up top. I did push on the previous rotten spot and it still did feel a "little" smooshy which made me wonder some. When we returned to the basement (which is all finished (new carpet, paint, etc) except for the ceiling, we could easily see that rotten wood was still left. This to me just seemed unacceptable. However, I am probably the least experienced person you would ever meet doing home repairs.
We can definitely tear out chunks of wood with a pen, finger, etc.
I agree with you about the source. The inspector seemed to think it was that also but of course he couldn't guarantee that.
When I say laminate floors I did mean vinyl like in kitchens, etc. We would ideally want tile however, he is only willing to do laminate. Tile would be a goal for us in a 3 years and I would like to learn to do it myself.
I promise to follow-up. I was actually thinking of taking a picture and posting it. Is that allowed here?
I called our realtor and he should return my call shortly.
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I am tearing out a bathroom in order to fix a water leak. The floor damage was similar to the one described except the damage was only visible in the closet which abuts the shower. When tearing up the floor, there was a considerable amount of mold (black mold). If I were you I would be concerned that there was also mold in the subflooring or between the subflooring and the floor, which may not have been addressed. I would be double concerned if I had children. I would have the area reinspected and a mold test performed.
Regards, Robert

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Robert, The suggestion of mold is very scary to me. I think we will have to have that checked if we decide not to fix that last layer of flooring for me to ever feel comfortable.
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footnote: the searching for the home and finding one was the fun part. that part is over. the steady work ahead is the balancing of regular repairs against your budget. the closing date is only relief from anxiety not really a celebration. put some energy into buying some comfortable outdoor furniture and enjoy the new home in june. remedy: move up the closing date a couple of weeks so you will feel like you got some extra free rent out of the deal.
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Buffalobill, we thought of that idea....letting him allow us in the house sooner because it does need all new paint (besides the basement which was recenetly updated). Now paint is something I can handle! Thanks for your suggestion, once again I am just concerned about the mold issue.
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says...

It's best to estimate the repairs, take it off the sale price of the house, and do the repairs yourself. The exiting homeowners have no interest in doing the fix beyond what may be barely acceptable.
I'd either estimate completing the repair and take it off the price, or just let it go and complete or redo the repair yourself. Over the course of homeownership, this is a nit.
But don't have the exiting homeowners do the repairs. This is what you get.
Banty
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1stTimeBuyer wrote:

Hey 1st - Relax - There is a lot of hysterics about mold. Unless the area is still wet you should be fine. The rot in the ceiling may have been mitigated from above. The real test is, like someone else said, make sure there is no movement when the area is stepped on. If no movement then the repair is fine and leaving the bad wood below is acceptable. Movement will effect the caulked edge. Make sure all the edges are properly caulked and that they remain properly caulked or you may have a bigger problem down the road. Also - the area should be completely dry. If the area of concern feels wet then I would be concerned as to why.
Also - I would want to know whats behind those newly finished basement walls you mention. Any comments or thoughts about that from your inspector? Any obviously new work would raise questions for me that I would want answered. Were they trying to cover up a problem or just trying to increase the value of the house?
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Now you know why you should never require the seller to fix anything for you. Rather, you should reduce your offer by what you thing it would cost YOU to fix it.
OTOH, depending on how big an area this is, and on whether the water-problem that caused to is also fixed, it should be fine. You might want to have someone squirt bora-care or some other fungus inhibitor on the underside of the floor in that area, though.
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Goedjn writes: "Now you know why you should never require the seller to fix anything for you. Rather, you should reduce your offer by what you thing it would cost YOU to fix it. "
I agree with this completely. I never work for realtors because they are motivated "sellers" who always want to jury rig something as cheap as possible, just to sell it. I've also been called out countless times by sellers who want to do a cheap crappy job just to sell their place. Of course I refuse. I can't remember ever having a request to repair something correctly and professionally by someone moving out of a house.
With an average home over 200K, I can't see quibbling over this small repair. The seller jury rigged it (as expected) and probably won't budge at this point. The OP has to wonder too, if the seller jury rigged this floor and put flooring over a bad sub-floor, what else has he covered up with paint, wallpaper, wall mud, caulking, vinyl squares, stain killer, etc. The OP needs to assume there may be a few grand in repairs, and take it or leave it.
I've watched people over and over have fits at closing time when their new home isn't properly punched out.
Do you know what the rich do? They negotiate with the builder. On a million dollar home, they'll offer to have the closing without the piddly punch out list, if the builder knocks 10K off. Otherwise they'll make a punch out list 10 pages long and demand every little mistake gets fixed. The builder is happy to close and not have to deal with the punch out nightmare. The rich know the builder has factored this into the price anyway.
1st time buyer.......just pay the seller and assume you'll be doing some repair work from time to time. Even brand new homes start to have problems in a year or two. Or, if you have gut problems with the sale, forget it and keep looking.
thetiler
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Thanks everyone...your time and responses were very appreciated.
As promised, I am following-up.
Our realtor wasn't impressed with the repairs and he took his concerns to the realtor who actually owns the house (he took it on as a trace). As everyone thought, he isn't willing to budge and will let us out of the contract, has another seller he states, etc. Of course, we don't want out of it...we already view this place as ours. We are just disappointed.
I wanted to mentioned the house is in very good condition besides this bathroom issue. It is outdated but structurally sound. Many people who has examined it have told us this. This house was only on the market 5 days before we put an offer on it. The realtor who owns it has never lived there nor done any work to it. The basement was finished with new paint and carpet because the previous owners planned on selling (working from the bottom up). However, the encountere dthe realtor who now owns the house and he said he would take it on as a trade. They seemed to jump to that and just left the house "as is" so that is didn't have to be there problem. I mean these people didn't clean a thing! They just ran out to their new home and left it to him.
I don't think this is an issue of a realtor buying a home doing shady repairs and selling it. It was only owned by him 5 days before we snatched it up and he wasn't even aware of the flooring in the bathroom - I was the only one who noticed it.
Looks like this will become our job to do the right way. I guess you will be hearing more from us this next year as we fix this house up! Thanks for your input and look forward to posting again.
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Thank you for following up. It does mean a lot to those of us to try and help.
My new server has been down since the 6th or I would have followed up on your posts.
This group does not allow picture posts. There are a lot of free places online that you can post a picture and link to it in a message you post here. One of those places is in my sig line.
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Colbyt
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