Here are the signs of subfloor water damage and practical tips for fixing the issue.
Has your subfloor developed fractured spots, split tiles, a musty smell, cupping floorboards, and broken lavatories? Or is it making some creaky noise? It may be a sign of a water disaster.
Such a tragedy is caused by a leaky refrigerator or invasive rainwater seeping into the floor. Water, coffee, and other liquid spills can be contributing factors.
Subfloor Water Damage
Subfloor water mischief often begins quickly. Nonetheless, it could take days or years to detect the depletion. So if your flooring is ruined by water, you’ll act soon.
It’ll become a dwelling spot for mold, mildew, and other harmful organisms if left uncared for.
In this text, we’ll be tackling subfloor water mischief. A few things to learn are the hallmarks of flooring disasters and the best time to repair such flooring.
Signs of Subfloor Water Damage
Overexposure to humidity can ruin the structure of your house. This is often caused by leaking pipes, flooding, and poorly sealed doors and windows.
It will become extreme and challenging to contain if we overlook such destruction in time. We’ll outline some warning signals to help you prevent the damage from worsening.
Dips in Weak Areas
Ideally, the flooring should be even and without tender spots. Something is likely wrong if you realize your floor is tender underneath when walking.
Some typical causes include water mischief due to drips or wet crawl spaces. If the supports are spread more than 16 inches apart, it can result in a weak area.
Warping usually reduces the visual attraction of subflooring. In some instances, it may reduce the sale price of your property.
If your wooden floors are wavy or bowing in some areas, there’s a root cause. One of the resulting factors is water beneath the installed flooring.
You’ll need to check for a water disaster in such an event. If the flooring level is dry, the bending is likely caused by the wrong positioning of the subflooring.
Smell Coming from the Floor
A foul odor is another significant sign of subfloor water damage. When the floor is wet, it becomes an excellent breeding spot for mold and mildew growth.
When these fungi accumulate in damp crawl spaces or beneath the floor, you’ll begin to perceive such a smell. This is often caused when there’s a problem with water in the ground or pipes leaking.
The toilet is intended to fit firmly on the floor surface. But it may become shaky if the flooring is weak. The bolts that anchor it will barely hold it firmly.
Moisture is one of the major causes of a weak toilet subfloor. So if you notice some activity in your toilet, inspect your water pipes.
Additionally, you’ll need to fix the issue swiftly to avert future disasters. Here is how to repair subfloor water damage.
Water Damage Subfloor Repair
Addressing subfloor water disasters involves restoring stability and a solid foundation.
To help you manage this situation effectively and safely, we’ve outlined the step-by-step processes for fixing subfloor water damage.
Identify the Cause of the Damage
The first thing to do when addressing such an emergency is to identify the root of the mischief. In this case, you must assess where the water comes from.
Remember, water mischief can occur due to pipe bursts and exterior cracks. So you’ll need to inspect all plumbing pipes around your home.
If you’re dealing with the aftermath of the flood, then you’ll need to re-seal interior and exterior cracks. While dealing with plumbing issues, ensure you trade with caution.
You can invite professional and licensed plumbers to help you. This will avoid damaging the water system.
Remove the Subflooring
Once you’re done fixing or stopping the leak, immediately expose the floor materials. If your floor is covered in carpet, pull it back against any wall nearby.
For certain types of carpeting, you may need to remove the baseboards around the affected areas. Then, for vinyl flooring, you’ll need to cut the affected areas and replace the cut.
Finally, those with tiled floors will require a special touch. Tiles often adhere to a cement board layered between the subfloor and floor. If you want to check for dampness, pull up the tile.
Assess the Level of Damage
Before deciding whether to replace or fix your subfloor, you’ll need to know the extent of the damage.
You can start by examining the areas for visible signs such as discoloration. It’s essential that you also check for mold growth and decay.
Consider replacing the entire floor if you find evidence of either. But if the destruction is manageable, you can proceed with the fixing.
Cut the Marked Areas
Before attempting repairs, you’ll need to cut and take out ruined materials. Mark the areas that need to be swapped using your chalk.
Following the outlined guide, pick up your circular saw and eliminate the rotten portion. You’re to cut closely to the floor joist.
Next, eliminate any loose nails and package everything in a trash bag. You can use a shop vac to clean up dust and debris. However, you’ll need to minimize splintering by moving slowly.
Allow the Affected Area to Dry
Once you eliminate the unwanted portion, let the impacted areas dry thoroughly before finalizing repairs.
If not, the moist objects will pose the risk of mold and mildew growth. You can rush up the evaporation stage by using a dehumidifier.
Reinforce The Floor Joist
If the joists of your subfloor show signs of water damage, you must pry them out. But cutting out floor joists will temper the structure and quality of your home.
Therefore, you’ll need to bolster them for an additional brace. You can cut several 2×6 boards and nail them under the newly exposed floor.
When the joists are dried, nail the new boards to the support.
Fix the Board(s)
You’ll cut new board pieces and swap them with the area you eliminated earlier. But while you do that, ensure your dimensions and cuts are accurate.
Additionally, it would be best if you left a gap of 1/8th between the old and new subfloors. This will account for the natural expansion of the new wood.
Replacement wood should also have a thickness of 5/8 inches. You can use exterior-grade plywood for such a replacement.
Such wood can withstand moderate moisture before the surface deteriorates again. Vacuum any debris and clear the area when you’re done. Finally, you return the top layer of flooring as is.
You can swap out your ruined flooring yourself. But it’s best to engage professionals. That’s because fixing such an emergency is not simply a one-off thing.
Moreover, be ready to spend some money when inviting professional help. Generally, it costs around $520 to $900. However, this amount can change due to some critical factors.