In preparation for porcelain tile installation in my kitchen I removed the vinyl stick-on squares the previous owner threw down before selling and the 1/4" plywood underneath those. When I pulled the stove forward to remove the rest of the vinyl and plywood I found this:

hole in subfloor under stove

The front feet of the stove rested on the existing floor with nothing but subfloor under the stove, well, subfloor and a hole. The piece of subfloor was inside the hole. Here's what's in the hole:

inside the hole

My questions:

  • Why does this hole exist and should I repair it? Now that the weather is turning I feel cold air coming from the hole but could there be a valid reason the subfloor wasn't repaired after work was done?
  • Should the new flooring (porcelain tile over cement board) extend under the stove? Currently the edge of the stove sits 1/2" below the countertop.

Now that I've written out my questions it seems the answers are "yes" and "yes". However I don't know what I don't know and maybe there's a good reason things were left as I found them, as janky as they seem.

Are "yes" and "yes" the correct answers?

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I would replace the subfloor by floating some scrap lumber under two edges of the opening and screwing them in place. Then screw down the patch.

I'd then run tile down both sides of the stove opening and halfway back from the front, but leave the patched area uncovered in case you need later access.

This gives you the impression of a completed floor from the front and through any gaps along the sides of the stove.

  • Great idea! I hadn't considered splitting the difference between floor and no floor. I like the idea of having access later just in case; the hole was cut for a reason. Probably. Thanks for the answer! – Paul Nov 9 at 1:56

Personally, I would say no and no to both of your questions.

I would run the tile up to and maybe slightly under the bottom edge of the stove - enough so you can't see the unfinished part underneath.

If you want the stove to be flush or slightly higher than the level of the countertop, then you can just put another piece of plywood down over the subfloor (1/2" or 3/4") to raise the floor level and bring the stove up a bit higher. That would also serve to cover the hole in the subfloor.

As for why the hole is there in the first place - I'd guess it was cut during a previous remodel to gain access to the plumbing/gas lines/wiring under the floor.

  • 1
    As far as I know there was no previous remodel except for replacing sheet vinyl with vinyl tile. I bought the place (a 22 year old townhouse) from the original owner, a widower for 15 of those years. The place was little changed from when it was built; it still had the original wall-to-wall carpeting (which was as dirty and stretched out as you might imagine) for example. I don't see any evidence of repair or of bodies being stashed...I guess it will have to remain the mystery hole. Thanks for your answer! – Paul Nov 9 at 1:11

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