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Stephen Cutler
Stephen Cutler, General Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 2062
Experience:  35 years of troubleshooting construction, remodel, component & material failures. What to do next
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How can I fix some rotted wood under a tub that was caused

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How can I fix some rotted wood under a tub that was caused by faulty caulking? The bathroom is over an unfinished basement, and when I push on the floor from the underside, it is very soft. The joists seem fine. The bathroom is tiled in the original 1950's small black and white ceramic tile which I'd prefer not to rip up if I don't have to. We are getting ready to put our house on the market in a couple of weeks. Can it be fixed from below without tearing out the tile to bring it to a level that won't cause a problem during a home inspection?

Hi and thanks for using You could add a layer of plywood from below and support it with cleats to the joists. But this will not get rid of the sponge effect of the rotted ply above- and it will be painful obvious to an inspector that something is not right with the floor above the added support. The added support will rot also. In addition is illegal to withhold known damage issues from a prospective buyer. Using your signed statement revealing issues known to you, and the rotted floor being omitted, the buyer can/will sue you in court and win. Your cheapest way out is to declare the floor/caulking issue and let the buyer decide if it is an expensive fix(it is)- they might not know any better and think it is a simple matter of replacing plywood at $30 a sheet.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX intention is not to try to sneak anything past the inspection or the potential buyers. I would like to fix the problem before we put the house up in order to avoid a snag during the inspection. The question was how to fix it. Can it be done from below without tearing up the floor?

Unfortunately, no it can not. The plywood lays on top of the joists. The rotted ply and fasteners must be removed. You do not have access to do this from below, and the tub would fall to the joists if you could. The tub flashing lip is entraped by the wallboard. You will need to remove tile and wall board to get the tub out. It is cheaper to remove all the tile and wall board than it is to try to save any of it. If you can find EXACTLY matching tile, you could remove the first 18" of tile, 12" of wallboard, then block between the studs to recieve a 12" wallboard replacement, then retile the 18". That's allot of fussing to save the remaining old tile and old wallboard. Plus you really want to get a good look(from the source side) at how far the moisture damage has traveled. There may be mold that needs to be removed. None of this can be done from below. I apologize for my brutal honesty. Please don't shoot the messenger.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX to know how to go about making the repair because I know that this will be our biggest issue in selling the house. What kind of a ballpark repair cost would you say something like this would be?

Patch and match: 18 hrs for tear out , patch and tile to 18" at your local skilled labor rate. 3 hours for fussing with the tub and plumbing, but in 2 visits by a plumber in your area, 3 hours to remove and replace the floor under the tub.(it may extend under the floor tile too!-an unknown) $50 for tile-$30 for wallboard- $35 for plywood- $15 for grout- $25 for mastic.

For complete replacement- 24 hrs tile & wallboard- $270 tile - $120 wallboard- $15 grout- $50 mastic,(around $1200-$1500) plus the same floor costs as patch & match-

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.

UGH!! I was afraid of that.

Thanks for your help! :0)