DIY Network

How to Repair a Water-Damaged Subfloor

Over time, a sink or refrigerator water leak can damage and even destroy flooring materials and the subfloor below it. The experts show how to repair a water-damaged subfloor.

More in Floors

  • Time

    Under Half Day

  • Price Range

    $50 - $100

  • Difficulty

    Moderate

Highlights:

Step 1: Remove the Damaged Floor Material

Start by completely removing the damaged materials. Use a circular saw set to 1” depth to cut the subflooring back beyond the damaged areas until you reach solid structural framing. Use a pry bar to remove any protruding nails and vacuum up the demolition debris. If the remaining solid wood is wet, ventilate the area and allow it time to thoroughly dry before installing replacement materials.

check subfloor to see if areas need to be removed

Step 2: Add the Support Framing as Needed

Use 2x6 lumber to double or “sister” the existing floor framing and provide a solid base for the new plywood subflooring. Install the new framing level with the top of the old framing.

Step 3: Measure and Cut the Plywood

Use 5/8" CDX plywood to replace the original subflooring. This exterior-grade plywood is a good choice for damp or occasionally wet areas because it can withstand a moderate amount of moisture without deteriorating. Measure and cut plywood as needed to cover the damaged area. Do not fit the new plywood tightly against the old subflooring – leave a 1/8” gap to allow for natural expansion.

Step 4: Fasten the New Plywood

Use galvanized 8d nails or deck screws to fasten the new plywood to the floor framing. If the area is large and numerous fasteners are needed, you can rent a rapid-load screw gun for approximately $30 a day.

secure plywood to joists

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