Laminate Bathroom Floor

I took another detour while my son and his family were out of town for a Christmastime trip. The old tile floor in the family bathroom was green shiny imitation marble. It was very slippery for a bathroom floor. And it was quite bold. It needed to be replaced. The tile they wanted was very expensive so we decided to try waterproof laminate instead. Sometime in the future it should be easy to replace.

First I removed the baseboards.

Green tile floor
Green tile floor

Then the tile was relatively easy to take off since it was glued to the subfloor.

Removing tile
Removing tile

I was tremendously fortunate to have a helper for this project, a neighbor and friend who was available to spend several days on this and other projects in the house. She carried ALL the broken tile downstairs to the trash.

My first task after the tile was removed was to clean up mold that was growing under the tile next to the tub. I just used bleach and it cleared it right up. Then I removed the old caulk where the tub met the floor and replaced it with a bead of silicone. I allowed that to set up for 24 hours before proceeding.

Mold near tub
Mold near tub

I also had to clean up mold and subfloor rot at the toilet flange. The flange was at floor level and the tile cut around it but the wax ring was not flattened allowing some effluent to escape around the toilet. That had rotted the floor under the tile.

Rotting floor under toilet
Rotting floor under toilet

Finding issues like these really help reassure you that the project is necessary. I cleaned this up with bleach then scraped off any rot from the floor and treated it with some green copper wood preservative.

Cleaning and treating the floor
Cleaning and treating the floor

The next step was to remove the adhesive which was just a muscle job of scraping the glue off the subfloor. It took several days to get most of the glue off the floor.

Removing the adhesive
Removing the adhesive

Then it was ready to lay the underlayment for the laminate. I chose a thinner underlayment so that the final floor was not too high.

Underlayment
Underlayment

I had to go back to the store to buy the special underlayment tape. It is very thin and will not cause a bulge in the layer. I placed the underlayment under the toilet flange. I was going to replace the flange but I could not remove it so I scraped and painted it with rustoleum. I had removed the screws so could lift it enough to get the underlayment underneath the flange. When I re-installed the toilet I tried a flange extension but it was too high. So I screwed a stainless steel flange over the existing flange which raised it a little bit and allowed me to use the foam toilet gasket. I like foam gaskets better than wax because they allow me to reposition the toilet easily.

When the underlayment was finished I was able to start cutting and laying the first boards. We decided to lay the boards parallel with the tub to make the job easier. Most photos show laminate in bathrooms laying perpendicular to the doorway but that would mean cutting several boards up against the tub. We decided that would be difficult and there was advice to lay the boards parallel to the door to make the room look larger too. So that is what we chose to do.

Underlayment and first board
Underlayment and first board

I used shims to keep the boards away from the walls and tub. Even though the boards have a waterproof face, I was interested in guarding against water seeping into the cracks and buckling the floor. So I followed some online advice to put silicone on the lip between each board and completely around the floor perimeter. But I was having a great deal of trouble trying to get the first boards to lock together. They were leaving a space that was annoying but the more I banged on them the less they wanted to shim up.

Luckily my helper was stronger and more persistent that I was. She finally got the boards to lock as we stood on them to keep them from popping apart.

Tub room laid
Tub room laid

She also helped me decide how to place the seams so that they didn’t line up too closely. We had to figure it out on paper for the best use of the remaining boards. Then she banged all the rest of the boards into place while I measured and cut them.

Helper getting boards together
Helper getting boards together

Finally the boards were all in place and we used almost all 10% of the contingency I ordered. There were only scraps left. The entire perimeter and around the toilet flange got a bead of silicone. I attempted to cover the pulpy edge of the flooring completely.

Floor without baseboards
Floor without baseboards

I was able to paint the baseboards in the garage in my painting tent with a small heater running so the temperature was good for painting. There were a few pieces of baseboard missing so I also cut those and fit them and I used some vinyl 3/4 round at the base of the tub and vanity. I had bought the vinyl from craigslist for another project and had plenty left for the bathroom.

Finished floor with baseboards
Finished floor with baseboards

The job took the entire 10 days that the family was out of town but it was nice to come home to a new bathroom floor!

Finished tub/toilet room
Finished tub/toilet room
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