If your home is old enough for a bathroom renovation, you may want to go ahead and completely gut it. I remodeled my bathroom this year and began with a complete demolition. If I hadn’t, a number of problems would have been unavailable for repair… or even undiscovered.
Here’s what I found when I opened up the walls and ceiling of my 1970 condo in the Atlanta, Georgia area.
1. Repair termite damage
When I opened up the exterior wall, I found termite damage in two places: the king stud, jack stud, and cripple on the bathtub side of the window (see Image #2, below) and the jack stud on the other side of the window. The good news is that the damage was done long ago.
As long as I’ve lived here, the owners’ association has kept up with termite treatment and monitoring, but I understand there was a period when they didn’t. Hence the damage I found.
2. Replace rotten subflooring
In addition to the termite-damaged wall, I also found rotten subflooring near the bathtub. This was mostly from getting too wet, and I suspected it because tiles had started popping up in that area.
3. Make up for no or little insulation
I knew we had insulation in our walls. I thought it was R-11 fiberglass batts because our upstairs neighbor’s icemaker had a bad leak a few years ago, taking out half of our laundry room ceiling and part of the wall. The common wall had R-11 batts. I figured the rest of the walls did, too. I knew they had insulation because I’ve checked behind switch and receptacle plates.
I got a little surprise when I took the drywall off of that exterior bathroom wall and saw what it said on the kraft paper…