Removing layers of old flooring

Old 03-08-17, 06:56 AM
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Removing layers of old flooring

After a bonehead move of threading the teflon tape backwards on a new dishwasher install, our dishwasher leaked for a few hours. This warped some of the wood under the single-sheet vinyl floor, so I am working on tearing it out and putting something new down (we didn't like that vinyl floor anyway, fortunately). After we pulled the vinyl layer off, we saw some mold, so are prepping to cut that area out and replace the plywood that is moldy:
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As we started to do this, we realized that the previous owners installed the top layer of vinyl and the plywood sub-floor right over another layer of older vinyl. The question is, assuming the mold didn't get through to the original vinyl that is still under the top layer of plywood, is it advisable to put new 1/4" plywood down on top of that original vinyl floor? Or are we better served to rip out the original vinyl and put our new luxury vinyl tiles right on top of the original plywood (that is currently under the original vinyl floor). My concern is the amount of time it will take to get that original vinyl layer off. I'm assuming the previous owners put their plywood and vinyl over the top of it because it was an absolute bear to get out.

Here's a picture that shows all the existing layers (top vinyl layer has already been removed):
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Follow-up question: I had assumed that 1" plywood would be used for the sub-floor, but this is 1/4". I believe this 1/4" is nailed on top of 1x4" slats that sit on the floor joists. Is that abnormal?

Any guidance is appreciated!
Old 03-08-17, 07:17 AM
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People put new underlayment over old floors because it is fast and easy. Kind of like putting shingles over an old roof. Problem is that someday someone will need to tear all that off and get down to the original subfloor.

Depends how much work you want to do. Hardest part is that your cabinets may be sitting on top of some of that 1/4 underlayment. You need a toe kick saw or a multitool to cut under there, and it will be a real pain. Look at your layers of floor where the floor vent is, that may help you to see the original subfloor.

All 1/4" layers are underlayment. You can take off as many layers as you like. I would say at least one. But if you want to take them all off you can. I would set a skilsaw to the right depth... say 5/8"... and cut that floor up into pieces like a pan of brownies... say 2' x 2'. Then get a wrecking bar and pry a big chunk up at a time. Like I said, the edge of the cabinets will be the worst. If you are lucky, the underlayment stops at the cabinets. If you need to, see if you can rent a flush cutting toe kick saw from a rental store. Then you will need to put new underlayment down if you intend to go back with new vinyl. You will likely need to apply trim over the edges once you are done. (Baseshoe or quarter round)
Old 03-09-17, 06:42 AM
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Actually people put 1/4" underlayment down, because it is required under vinyl flooring.

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