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SophieC
Plunge cutting tools

I will be needing some sort of tool soon to remove the floor in my bathroom. I am changing out the floor and some of the floorboards continue on into the next room. I will need to be able to cut them flush with the wall so I can remove them. I looked into the Fein multimaster, but at almost $400 for the nice kit with carrying case and accessories, I'm hesitant to spend that much. I looked into the dremel version recently and while it had alot of good reviews, it had several that specifically referenced the plunge cutting blade and its cons. Since that particular blade is the sole purpose of considering a purchase, I paid close attention to them. The complaints were that every 2 minutes or so the nut holding the blade on would vibrate loose, the blade dulled pretty quickly, the unit gets pretty hot during use, and there was even one that said it burnt out after approximately 10 hours of use (not continuous use).

My question is are there any other tools out there that I can accomplish the same thing with as far as cutting straight down into my floorboards (up to the floor joists) in order to remove them?

Thanks,
Sophie

A. Spruce
Re: Plunge cutting tools

The first question I'd ask is why you need to remove the subfloor of the bathroom? This is not typically necessary unless it's damaged by rot or needs to be bolstered to support tile. The second thing I have to say is that you DO NOT want to cut out the subfloor without knowing that the wall you're cutting against is properly supported without it. Please describe what you're doing and why before proceeding.

Having said that, the best tool for the job will be a sawzall. Sawzall is both a brand name and generic term for reciprocating saw. There are many brands out there, and for someone who would use this type of saw occasionally, the likes of Craftsman and other "low end" brands will suffice. If you were a tradesman I'd be recommending high end equipment that can withstand the rigors of daily use.

Gizmo
Re: Plunge cutting tools

[QUOTE=A. Spruce] Sawzall is both a brand name and generic term for reciprocating saw. QUOTE]

Yeah Sprucee the sawzall is generac for reciprocating saw. Just like Skil Saw is generic for power saw.... I was at the Skil Saw office in Chicago about 11 yrs ago. The first Skil Saw made is in a glass in there foyer. *** that thing is a monster. Sure beats a hand saw though.

SophieC
Re: Plunge cutting tools
A. Spruce wrote:

The first question I'd ask is why you need to remove the subfloor of the bathroom? This is not typically necessary unless it's damaged by rot or needs to be bolstered to support tile. The second thing I have to say is that you DO NOT want to cut out the subfloor without knowing that the wall you're cutting against is properly supported without it. Please describe what you're doing and why before proceeding.

I am removing the sub-floor for a couple of reasons. The first being that I am installing ceramic tile in my bathroom. During my research I learned that the first sub-floor layer should not be strips of wood, but 3/4" plywood. By the way, my sub-floor is my floor. In addition to needing proper support for the ceramic tile, there was significant water damage around the toilet area long before I purchased the house.

OK.....so there is probably a good chance that both walls on either side of my bathroom where I want to cut the floor boards out do not have a floor joist fall directly underneath them. Is that what you are referring to when you say "properly supported"? I am leaving shortly for the day to go and work at this house....so I will get underneath and check it out to see where floor joists are in relation to the two walls in question. If that is the case, how would I go about removing the flooring?

I already own a Dewalt recip. saw, so I guess I can use that. My question is this though.....how do you go about making that very first cut since you can not have the blade be parallel to the floor?

dj1
Re: Plunge cutting tools

Sophie, good question...

With no access for the recip saw blade, you can use a power drill. Drill 2-3 holes in a row, enough to get the blade through, and then hit the gas...

Except, be very careful not to damage any of the surroundings. The recip saw is an animal, it cuts faster than a beaver...

Gizmo
Re: Plunge cutting tools
SophieC wrote:

how do you go about making that very first cut since you can not have the blade be parallel to the floor?

Sophie watch the video for a angled plunge cut .....you can always drill a hole next to the wall with a spade bit if it's easier for you to get started.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3I_kpMVXeiY

HoustonRemodeler
Re: Plunge cutting tools

There is a tool made specifically for the cutting you need - its called a toe kick saw. They are pretty nasty tools and take some care when using them, but they will do an excellent job and exactly what you need.

From your description it sounds like your house is a classic older bungalow, built like mine. If your walls are not supported with joists underneath, that old 3/4" of hardwoods would have sagged decades ago. My guess is you'll be fine cutting at the edges.

Once cut around the edges you'll need to support the edges of the plywood with blocking between the joists. 5/8" plywood is the bare minimum thickness for ceramic tile at 16" oc, but 3/4" is always nice. No "sheathing" grade plywood. No CDX.

Gizmo
Re: Plunge cutting tools
JLMCDANIEL
Re: Plunge cutting tools

Sophie you can probably rent a toe kick saw or reciprocating saw at you local tool rental if you don't want to buy.

By the way burning up saw blades is usually caused by someone trying to force the cut rather than letting the blade do the job.

Jack

SophieC
Re: Plunge cutting tools

OK....so today I did some investigative work. I drilled small holes through the pine flooring on either side of the bathroom right in front of the studs. I then pushed some twist ties in them so it would be easier to find the holes under the house. I went under and did some measuring and this is the result of that. The bathroom is pretty narrow. It is only about 5'-10" wide.

HoustonRemodeler
Re: Plunge cutting tools

Sophie,

Thanks for the excellent sketch. Don't cut anything yet.

From here it looks like you might be spending a bit more time under your house if you really want that tiled floor. From your sketch it seems the floor joists will not support tile as the 2x6's spaced that wide apart would have too much deflection. I really can't tell without more information.

What is the joist size? Joist span? Joist species? Joist condition? There is a handy dandy deflecto-meter designed specifically for tile over at the John Bridge Tile Forum. Plug in your information there and you'll find if your current floor will support tile or you need to add more support.

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