Bathroom Subfloor is Wet

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Old 06-09-15, 08:20 PM
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Bathroom Subfloor is Wet

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I've been in my home for about a year and a half. The bathroom floor has always been uneven, and there were some peel and stick tiles attached to the subfloor.

A few days ago I gave all my dogs a bath, so the floor was pretty soaked. I had lain a bathmat with suction cups on the floor, so when the dogs jumped out of the tub, they wouldn't slip. When I lifted the mat, up came one of the tiles. I wasn't planning to do the bathroom floor at this point, but with exposed subfloor, I thought it was best to get it covered ASAP.

So I bought Armstrong Crescendo groutable vinyl tile (self stick) and Mapei sanded Keracaulk. Not what I'd like as a permanent floor, but it will have to do for now and probably for up to a year.

I started to remove the vinyl currently there, and most of it came up pretty easily... revealing a wet subfloor underneath. The drier areas are tougher coming up. I have a fan on the wet area now to dry it out.

My questions:
Can I dry out the subfloor with the fan for a few days, then lay the new vinyl? Since it's a semi-temporary floor, I can go back to replace the subfloor if needed when I install real tile.

OR am I just trapping moisture in by laying new vinyl, and compounding the problem (rot, mold, etc.)?

There is a seam where the old vinyl has cracked and where I assume the subfloor has warped. Should I use planipatch to level it out?

You can see the unevenness of the floor in relation to the baseboard. When I replace the flooring later, would a self leveling concrete be helpful, or is it better to have the subfloor replaced altogether?

Thanks for your help.
 
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Old 06-10-15, 04:11 AM
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Do you know why the subfloor got wet? were there cracks/voids in the old flooring that allowed water to get under it? have you ruled out any plumbing leaks?

Work on drying out the plywood, once it's good and dry it should be ok to install the vinyl. Hard to tell from the pic how uneven the sub floor is. When installing ceramic tile it's often beneficial to install a 2nd layer of plywood to both stiffen up the floor and stagger the seams which should eliminate the unevenness.
 
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Old 06-10-15, 05:03 AM
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I think you have found out that vinyl peel and stick tiles will not stick to a wet surface. Give us a little more background on the source of the moisture. Is it strictly from the dogs getting a bath? The discoloration of the wet area leads me to believe that it has been wet for a while and this is not an isolated event. A moisture meter will tell you when the floor is dry enough to continue.

Peel and stick tile may not stick to certain cement based patching compounds and or self leveling compounds. There are latex based patching compounds on the market. Keep in mind also that you can not simply use self leveling compound on plywood, it requires the use of a wire lath to give it something to grab.
 
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Old 06-10-15, 05:38 AM
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You said the floor got pretty soaked and I assume that was not the first time. You cannot get a floor wet that has vinyl squares, peels & stick or glue down. The water seeps between the tiles and breaks down the adhesive and swells the underlayment. The water has most likely gotten between the other tiles wherever you've gotten the floor wet. Drying the area where the tile came up will help but without addressing the root cause it will likely happen again. Even letting a damp towel lay on the floor will push water vapor through the gap between tiles and cause the underlayment to swell.
 
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Old 06-10-15, 08:09 AM
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I don't know why or how the subfloor got wet. The previous homeowner repaired some small cracks in the bathtub... maybe it's leaking? It does look like it's been wet for a long time.

The moisture isn't just from my dogs' bath, but I think that was the incident that made everything sufficiently gloppy enough to pull up the tile. When water escapes from the shower, it tends to run down the area where the tile came up, and out into the kitchen. A definite slope.

Thanks for the note on self stick vinyl and patching compound! I'll skip that for now and revisit it when I go back to replace the floor permanently, which will be either ceramic or porcelain.
 
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Old 06-10-15, 08:13 AM
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Old 06-10-15, 08:14 AM
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I'd hold off on putting any floor covering down until you know where the water came from. If it was just splashing from the tub and going thru voids in the floor covering you should be good to go once it's dried up BUT if there is a plumbing leak - that will need to be repaired before you install any flooring.

Forgot to mention earlier but the sub floor is still solid, right?
 
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Old 06-10-15, 08:23 AM
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You need to find and fix the source of the water first.
 
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Old 06-10-15, 08:40 AM
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Look at the color of the plywood near the heat radiator second row of tile. It is almost a perfect yellow compared to the dark color of the wet wood. It has been wet for a while to change the color that much.
 
 

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