Need help with bathroom floor! (Project #147)
The latest in the long list of my home reno projects...
When we moved in, the floor in our bathroom was some kind of ugly green vinyl laminate sheet. We wanted to redo the bathroom quickly, so the wife picked up a vinyl tile she liked, and I did the bathroom.
While laying out the tile, I noticed the area around the toilet was a little sunken. I pointed it out to the wife, who insisted there was no way I was tearing up the floor.
Now, years later, she's sick of the tile, and I told her there's no way I can put down yet another layer, and I wanted to "dig" to see what I could find.
So under the original laminate sheet was some kind of thin layer, presumably some kind of padding for the vinyl they laid down. This was glued to an original porcelain tile floor. The grouting around the toilet area was cracked, as I said, the floor was sunken a little. It appears that the floor from the toilet to the right (towards the tub) was chopped up for about a foot, presumably to access drain pipes, and they simply filled in the area with some kind of material (plaster or cement) and laid down a vinyl floor over it. This seems like a great idea, except the area around the toilet seems to be weak now.
I have no idea if the original damage was caused by a leak or not. The proper thing to do, of course, would be to chop up the porcelain tiles and see what condition the sub floor is in. The EASY thing to do would be to fill in the cracks between tiles, level the floor off, and just put a new vinyl floor over it.
I'm not afraid of the work. I've never removed a toilet, and I know I would have to, but I think I could handle it if need be. My concern is with the tub. If I rip up the sub floor, does that mean I'd have to remove the tub as well, or can I get away with just simply removing the toilet and cutting out a 4'x4' area around it and replacing it with a new subfloor of the same thickness that is already there? Or should I even get involved in this and just take the easy way out as I mentioned above?
I'm certainly not a pro, so while I'm sure I could handle the subfloor and toilet, I'm just concerned with how long it would take me, and whether the risk of me making mistakes might outweigh the risk of leaving well-enough alone! If I screw up the toilet re-install, is it possible I could have another undetectable leak that might damage the floor even worse than it already is? Hopefully someone who's been there before can tell me what to look for and what I can expect. Thanks!