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Are you aware of the floor joists beneath your bathtub? Are they looking old and decayed? Well, it’s time to get them fixed.
Read More: how to fix rotten floor joist under bathtub
Since water exposure in a bathroom is inevitable, there is always a high risk of water damage to floor joists. However, simply ignoring it won’t make the problem go away. Instead, you need to fix it immediately, before the damage spreads.
On noticing extensive water damage and rotting, you may think that you have no choice but to call a contractor and replace everything. You can still fix it yourself if you have the tools and the carpentry skills.
So, without any further ado, let’s get right to it!
How to Fix Rotten Floor Joist Under Bathtub
How To Recognize Rotten Floor Joist Under Bathtub
It’s not always easy to recognize if the floor joist under your bathtub is damaged or not. That being said, you don’t need an expert eye to identify some tell-tale signs of damage. Here are a few things that you need to look out for. These will immediately tell you when water damage has occurred, and you need to fix or replace the area.
The Tub Level
The signs of a rotten floor joist are not always immediate. You can check the area beneath the bathtub to confirm this. The tub may not be perfectly level. It may appear misaligned or sunken on one end.
If the area under your bathtub is inaccessible to you, don’t worry; there is another way.
You can still get in your bathtub, but you won’t need to fill it with water. Instead, make small sliding or hopping movements. This is a common practice, but it’s important to be careful. You may notice the tub sinking or moving. This could indicate that the floor joists are weakening.
Cracked grout or caulk are also signs of weakness. Cracked grout and caulk are signs of water damage.
Look out for water stains on your bathtub. Any water stains on your bathtub could indicate that it has been damp for a long time. Consequently, the area under the tub may also be exposed to moisture and dampness. Over time, it is bound to lead to water damage and cause the floor joists to rot.
Observe any slow leakages under your faucet, sink drain, or bathtub. Depending upon how long the leak has been persisting, the floor joist under your bathtub may have started to rot or is already rotten.
Although the term sounds humorous, this is one of the most common signs of water damage on your floor joists. You may notice the area around your tub to act slightly ‘bouncy’ when walking on it. This ‘bounciness’ is a clear sign that the wooden joists under the subfloor are rotten, and thus, weakening.
Unusual Increasing Humidity
It is relatively easy to miss this sign, or even misinterpret it as something entirely different. Unusually high humidity levels in your home could indicate rotten floor joints or water damage. This is how it works. Let us explain.
The wood rot fungus, which grows under your home’s crawl space, thrives in moisture and humidity. They feed off the dampness, which is caused due to the water damage under your bathtub.
Due to air movement in your home, the humidity being created under the subfloor area can eventually move its way up and travel throughout your home. You may then notice that the humidity levels in your house suddenly rise without any explanation.
This is an indication that the humidity in your home is unusually high or not comparable to the outside humidity. This humidity may be caused due to stagnant water in your crawl space. This could also be caused by a leaky floor or wall.
Your home will inevitably have a variety of odors. From cooking smells to the occasional stenches; these are all common household smells. It could indicate a problem if musty odors are detected in your bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere else in your home.
It could be a sign of mold or fungus growing on rotting wood or joists. In case you notice any of these unusual smells coming from your home, which you can’t identify, you should investigate immediately.
These are some of the most common signs which you need to look out for. Of course, it is always advisable to get professional help when you are not entirely sure of the tell-tale signs and what they could mean.
How To Fix The Rotten Floor Joist Under Bathtub
The subfloor of any home is one of the most crucial architectural foundations; because it supports the first floor. This structure supports the floorjoists. Moreover, it also acts as a leveled foundation for the rest of the house’s finished floors.
When this subfloor begins to show symptoms of water damage, it is imperative to start the drying and fixing process at the earliest. Water damage can quickly spread like wildfire. The sooner you fix it, the lesser damage you will have to ultimately deal with.
Follow these steps to fix the rotten floor joists under your bathtub efficiently:
Step 1| Stop Any Source Of Water
Before you begin fixing the rotten floor joists, you need to prepare your bathroom floor. First, shut off any water source. This includes closing all faucets and taps. However, it is advisable to shut off the primary source of water as well.
Step 2| Access The Area Under The Bathtub
You can start fixing the floor joists only after you see the actual severity of the damage. For this, you need to observe the area under your bathtub.
Don’t forget your safety gear: safety glasses, gloves, dust mask, and a lightbulb. You can now access the subfloor area by crawling through the crawl space to the side of the house.
Alternately, you could expose the subfloor. This is done by first ripping through the vinyl and carpeting on your bathroom floor. Next, use the appropriate tools to remove the baseboards below the affected areas. Be sure to check for water damage in other places so you can get rid of them all together.
Mark the Area. Using a pencil or chalk, mark the affected areas.| Mark The Area
Using a chalk or marking pen, properly mark all the areas of water damage. Measure the distance from the rotten joist’s ends to where they attach on a grinder or sill plate.
Next, mark the area on the replacement joist. At this point, it is vital to ensure that all your measurements are accurate; otherwise, they will not fit properly once you are done cutting.
Remove the Subfloor. With your circular saw, remove all subflooring that is rotten or damaged.| Cut The Subfloor
Using your circular saw, carefully cut out all the areas of rotten joist and damaged subflooring. Protective gear should always be worn. Set your circular saw to a depth of 1-inch for best results. Cut as close to the markings as possible.
Step 5 | Remove The Damaged Materials
Use a pry bar to remove all of the damaged parts carefully. Remember to work slowly and cautiously to avoid splintering. Also, remove any loose nails. This could cause further damage. Keep all your materials in a large trash bag. Finally, use a shop vac to clean up any dust and debris around the area.
In case you find mold, mildew, and other such unwanted elements, you need to have them removed carefully.
You should make sure the area is clean and tidy before you start the next step.
Step 6| Allow It To Dry
It would help if you gave adequate time to the damaged area to dry. Ideally, give it a few days in the air to dry off completely, because any moisture or dampness will reinforce any damage.
Additionally, you can use a dehumidifier or a few large fans to hasten the drying process.
Step 7| Reinforce The Floor Joists
Once the floor and joists have completely dried, you can use 2 x 6-inch boards to side the joists carefully. You can also use lumber blocking to span the spaces. This will help to strengthen the joists that have been affected by water.
Install The New Subfloor This is the final step of fixing your floor joists.| Install The New Subfloor
This is the final step of fixing your floor joists. Once you have strengthened the floor joists of the damaged area, you need to start laying down the new subfloor. To do this with acute accuracy, you need to ensure that you have all the correct measurements.
It should be noted that the new subfloor material is likely to expand. Keep a 1/8th inch distance between the old subfloor material and the new. You can use deck screws, or even 8D galvanized nails to fasten your new subfloors.
However, you may want to finish this work quicker and with more efficiency. You might consider using a nailgun or a rapid-loading screw gun in this case.
Water damage is hazardous for your home. It can spread quickly and cause serious damage to your home. To stop this spread, it is essential to take action at the earliest.
Now that you know what signs to look out for, go ahead and check your home and bathroom carefully. Even though you may have only one or two signs, it isn’t necessarily a sign that your floor joists are damaged. Professional advice is always available to ensure your safety.
We hope that our step-by step guide on how to fix rotten flooring joists underneath your bathtub was helpful. In case you need any more help, you can always reach out to us!
We will then sign off. Until next time!
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