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Kitchen floor repair, old water damage


Liquid_force's Avatar
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11-20-14, 12:02 PM   #1  
Kitchen floor repair, old water damage

Hello,
I own a townhome. We've been living in this house for 7-8 yrs. It was built in '86.
I'm trying to compile as much info as I can in preparation for a fairly comprehensive (budget) kitchen overhaul. I plan to refinish the countertops and cabinets as well as replace my appliances, lighting, sink fixture, and the FLOOR.
I was way too naive during the inspection process. Not long after moving in I realized the kitchen had suffered some water damage in the past which the inspector made little mention of (none that I recall). The floor cabinet near the refrigerator was severely warped (particle board). I rebuilt the cabinet, but it took me a while longer to notice the floor as a whole.
It seems relatively solid, but there is obvious unevenness and a LOT of squeaking. There's a noticeable ridge in the floor that parallels the sink about a foot out from the cabinet, but runs perpendicular to the joists.
The joists below are exposed. There is clear evidence of water stains through most of the kitchen area. Also an obvious attempt to "shore-up" the floor with shims and adhesive (also no mention from the inspector).
The floor covering is a cheap old linoleum that wasn't in great shape from day one, and looks worse every day.
The bottom layer is osb. I'm not sure what's between that and the linoleum.
I would like to know what steps are recommended to level and solidify (stop the squeaking) the floor.
In my usually over-simplified view -- the ridge is causeded by a seam between osb sheets. The osb swelling causing a bit of a haunch in the floor and a lot of squeaking. It seems like I could just run a circular saw along the joint (maybe fill it back in w/something flexible?) and screw the floor down to flatten it, maybe a little belt sanding to finish it off. But my small repair ideas often turn into massive overhauls.

I'm probably not even asking the right questions -- so just point me in the right direction.
Thanks

 
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11-20-14, 01:07 PM   #2  
Welcome back to the forums!

More than likely if the floor isn't level due to water damage - the sub floor [in whole or part] will need to be replaced. I assume you can assess the condition of the joists from below.


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11-20-14, 01:35 PM   #3  
Under the linoleum is 1/4" plywood underlayment. But the biggest concern is the OSB. If it has swelled, there is nothing that can be done short of pulling and replacing. What type of flooring are you going to install as a finished surface?

 
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11-20-14, 02:17 PM   #4  
Don't know yet Czizzi, haven't gotten that far.
Most likely a laminate of some kind.

I'm not sure what to "assess" in looking at the joists. Other than old water stains they look like they're doing what they're supposed to do.
I don't see rot or obvious deformation.
The osb is similar. There are some chunks broken out where they missed the joists with nails, but generally I don't see anything that looks terribly out of place. Although the shims and gobs of glue are an obvious eyesore.

I'll try to get some pics this evening.

 
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11-20-14, 02:19 PM   #5  
Poke at the joists to make sure they are solid. You'll know more about the OSB sub floor once you pull up the vinyl and underlayment.


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11-20-14, 08:08 PM   #6  
Took a bunch of pics. On the surface, so to speak, it's not as bad as I feared it would be.
The joists are solid. I did find one that appears to be cracked about halfway through, but i don't think it has much to do with the water damage.

I laid my 4' level across the floor focusing mainly on that ridge and I only got a small fraction of an inch (1/16", MAYBE 1/8") over a 2-3' distance.

Overall view -- you can see the "ridge" just toward the cabinet from the flash glare. It doesn't look like much, but under-foot it is obvious.


Another angle -- the glare is the ridge:


Looking directly up from below - showing the seam that I believe is causing the ridge. Also some staining by the pvc pipe:


Looking up at the other half, away from the sink area. More staining by the dryer pipe:


heavy staining and shims:


Close-up of the staining at the pvc drain pipe:


The cracked joist. It's hard to see, but there's a knot at the bottom. The crack runs up from there 3" or so then angles off to the left:


Crack from the other side, 3" vertical and off to the right -- again doesn't really show up:


I didn't realize this until now, but there's almost nothing done for lateral bracing. I didn't measure, but it has to be 10' or so from the wall to the beam. Shouldn't there be a row of bracing in there?

 
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11-21-14, 06:54 AM   #7  
As mentioned several times there is no fixing it, all needs to come out including what's under the cabinets.

 
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11-21-14, 08:53 AM   #8  
Ok, so this would change my project drastically.
I would have to plan for countertop removal/replacement, cabinet removal, and probably some other fun stuff I'm not even aware of.

Would I just cut the subfloor out as close as I can get to the wall(2-3"??) and patch new wood back in? Or is there another technique?

 
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11-21-14, 09:10 AM   #9  
A skil saw will cut up to 1.5" of the wall [or other obstructions] which is often close enough but it really depends on the extent of the damage. It might be feasible to leave the cabinets in place and just replace the sub floor up to it - but it all depends on what you find once you expose the sub floor.


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11-21-14, 11:26 AM   #10  
I'm gonna play skeptic here, as the OSB does not look that bad from below. However, there are shims which would cause the floor to be raised in that area. My guess, is that someone repaired after the water damage and used the shims to try to quiet the floor down. That is the cause of the hump, not necessarily swelling. Will not know until you pull the floor the extent that will have to be replaced.

 
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