Work on my mum’s bathroom floor began late on Saturday morning. I was waiting longer than expected for my dad to arrive with the necessary materials that would never fit inside my own van. Plus, he has all the plumbing tools that I do not. I think the best way to start this one of would be to show you the state of the floor, once we’d removed, boxed and binned the majority of the tiles and timber…
What lay beneath!!
…Now that you’re eyes have returned to their sockets; I hope you’re able to see that each of the joists was rotten; far worse than I’d expected! The guy who did the boiler took a quick peak and told us as much a day earlier. I was sceptical and didn’t honestly look closely enough during my own inspection. That joist one in from the external wall (with the soil pipe) disintegrated under the weight of my father’s feet as he wrestled to free the toilet from its holding.
Double bu***r, toilet trouble…
A leak has clearly sprung.
It did look as though the toilet was leaking badly in several places and that this may well have been the long-term cause for the majority of what you see above. It makes me wonder, as we have been living here for more than nine-years now… Why now and for how long has this been going on? As we walked the toilet away, sealant literally fell off from each of the pipe joints. Several parts inside the cistern (with its ill-fitting, butchered-back-edge lid) were badly corroded, which meant it took a good half hour just to get this far.
Symptoms of damp spreading were visible inside the neighbouring cupboard. To isolate and disconnect the water running to hear, all we needed to do was to swtich off the valves on the two vertical pipes (using a flat-head/slotted screwdriver). Both doors were easy to remove by loosening a single screw on each hinge. The shelf slid out and other parts could be removed without needing to use a tool. As the entire unit was also fixed to the walls, we took a bit of a chance and left it in place while we worked on the floor.
With more of the floor having crumbled and disintegrated by now, we could see the sink unit sinking further towards the concrete. That gap I mentioned a few weeks ago was already expanding in width.
Removing the bath panel came next and with it, arrived two surprises of a relatively tame nature:
First was this pile of broken old floor tiles, which had almost certainly been there.
My dad then exclaimed “Now I’ve seen everything!“, after finding clumps of Rockwool insulation beneath the bath taps! They were dry, so no need for concern, there. It looks as though they might’ve used this hidden space for dumping rubbish at the end of the job – I hope the same outfit did not build the cavity walls!
Security screws? Or just a mystery?
That bath panel was held in place with these strange-headed screws. Are they security screws? Plying the caps off was easy but I had to use a pair of needle-nosed pliers to remove these two.
All of this timber would have to be removed, but the stuff lying underneath the bath seemed to sound enough to stay in place. We decided to cut the 3x2in joists off flush with the floorboards, before fitting a trimming piece across the ends; on to which would could then sit new joists, on top of fresh 3x1in wall plates running in the opposite direction.
While all this was going on inside the bathroom, you had to spare a thought for the state of the hallway, over the course of the weekend…
Towards the front door…
Heading back to the bathroom!
As the majority of the floor turned out to be soaking wet, I decided not to keep any of the floor boards and it all ended up at the local tip. These boards were pretty wide though and, had we been more careful (and, if I had the space to store and dry them properly), I’m sure I could’ve recycled them in my own way. But then, I witnessed another vehicle dump these pristine lengths of pine tongue-and-groove boarding straight in to the same bin!
It took longer than we’d anticipated (myself, certainly) to rip out all of the old floor and we did end up starting late in the morning. Had our day been planned better, we could’ve reached a timber merchant before they all closed at lunchtime (it was a Saturday). Instead, my dad went of to B&Q (groan) and I’ll say no more on that…
At the end of Day One.
Each of the chipboard sheets (MR T&G) was cut to length on saw horses outside. Cutting the first one was fine but the rest had to be completed under the fall of rain, not to mention darkness as well. Have you every struggled to spot a pencil line in your workshop? Try and imagine that but with the lights off and all doors and windows shut…
A use for plastic bags.
After I was finally left alone to get on with fitting the floor, I took a tip from the Ultimate Handyman in fitting a plastic bag around the soil pipe to prevent the emission of unpleasant smells (I learned this in one of his many videos).
We did find that the radiator (also in need of a paint-job) was leaking at this end – but, I’ll have more on that in my next post.
‘Do Not Refill’
Water was required for other areas of the house to function so, in order to prevent the cistern from re-filling, my dad rigged this up, using a scrap of timber and some elastic bands!
Something that also needs addressing is the lock on this window, because although the handle does turn freely, the window won’t budge at all. This only began about a week before my foot went through the floor.
Although this is quite a lengthy post and I have included a number of photos, I also realise that I’m lacking evidence of the rebuilding of the framework beneath the floor. For the sake of convenience, I took those photos on my phone at the time so, it’ simply a matter of uploading them and so on. Hopefully, they’ll appear in the next post, along with images of the completed floor and refurbishment.