Just started a bathroom renovation in my (new to us) 1961 ranch house built over crawlspace in NC. I planned on new floor, new vanity & sink, new toilet, but I want to keep the cast iron enameled tub and the tile surround on the walls above the tub. The old flooring consisted of 3 layers of linoleum, and a 23/32 plywood underlayment. The subfloor is diagonally laid 1x6 planks over 2x8 joists roughly 16" on center.

After I took up all the linoleum, it was clear that there was flooring water damage in the tub x wall corner on the side w/the showerhead. The underlayment was shot, and so was the subfloor plank in the corner. I trimmed the damaged plank off at the nearest joist and blocked the 2 joists w/2x6. But...turns out that the rot got to the bottom plate of the interior bathroom wall too. There's about a 10 inch stretch of the bottom plate w/moderate to severe rot. This particular bottom plate runs parallel to and directly above two doubled joists (not sure what to call them...they're not fastened but they are set less than 1 inch apart). By visual inspection in the crawlspace there is zero rot on the joists

The problem is...part of the rot is located behind the tub. Again, I'd rather not take out the tub or the tile surround above it. Below is a picture of the bottom plate damage. Any ideas or advice? Can I repair the bottom plate rot and keep my tub & tile?enter image description here

  • 1
    On the plus side of things: if you stop the moisture, then you stop the rot. (Unlike carpenter ants, termites, etc. which will come back.) so, you may not need to remove the dryrot and disturb the wall (and finish on other side of wall.) if the board is fairly solid (about 2/3 still solid) I'd leave it alone.
    – Lee Sam
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 9:28
  • 1
    Oh, by the way, that mastic and/or old gypsum board you're removing, probably has asbestos in it. Scraping the mastic makes it friable and you should take precautions, (I.e.: wear a mask, keep it contained from other members of your family, etc.) In small amounts, like this, there isn't much to worry about, but be careful...
    – Lee Sam
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 9:34
  • That really dosent look that bad to me from the photo more discolored than rot. Is the wood spongy , if you put a screw driver on it and push how far in is the screw driver going? I ask these questions because I have been asked to remove wood that the owners thought was bad but it was mostly discolored
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 19:07
  • Is it a structural wall?
    – Matthew
    Commented May 27, 2018 at 4:57
  • Did you ever get this resolved? If so, please give a check-mark to the answer that helped you the most, or write up your own answer explaining what you did to get it fixed and give yourself a check mark. That will help others with this kind of problem know that this has a resolution and is a good place to look for their answer.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 18:22

2 Answers 2


Best to remove the tub as there may be more, but if you can see the rot, and reach it without the removal of the tub, then I would say fix it up. Just make sure to seal the replacement and the area around it just in case the rot does actually go deeper than you can see.

  • Thanks. What do you suggest sealing with?
    – abeyer42
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 12:03

I would make a hole to get a better view from a different direction. What is OPPOSITE the tile wall? In most cases it's a closet or hallway. If it is an interior wall, cut a simple, but big hole between the studs (easier to fix bigger holes really) and take a good look "under" the tub. If you can poke a screwdriver into the wood under there, then you need to pull the tub.

Usually you can get away with just blasting out the bottom two rows of tiles to get to the nails holding the tub to the walls, but that's lame in my book. I find it preferable to rip down the tile and yank the tub, and fix it all at one time. Your funding and mileage may vary.

  • You're right, it is a closet opposite the tile wall. In fact, there's already a precut (but sealed w/caulk) entry to access teh tub plumbing. I took a look and the bottom plate looked/felt sound w/screwdriver test. I will take a look underneath attic insulation tonight to verify if wall is interior partition or load bearing. If it is not bearing, then I'm thinking to more or less surgically remove bottom plate rot & replace w/new lumber, supporting the wall during the work (probly nec. b/c of heavy tile surround?)
    – abeyer42
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 18:03
  • Seal it with Kilz or Bullseye. They make a paint that will kill and prime at the same time. If you cut all of the rot out, you should be safe. But never hurts to seal just in case a leak is still present.
    – Jeff Cates
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 14:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.