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Old house, wonky floor, leaking bathroom on 1st floor - should I move it downstairs or look for other solutions?

(14 Posts)
confusedperson Sun 28-Oct-12 22:31:49

Dear mumsnetters, I am hoping to find some advice here as no one else seems be able to help. We moved into our Victorian house 3 years ago. Floors are wonky here and there (old bendy floorboards, you can feel slight movement if you jump - but nothing worrying). We soon noticed that our 1st floor bathroom was leaking badly through bath tub-tiles connecting gap. Silicon did not help (as the bath moved over time out of its place), so we retiled (twice around the bath tub) the whole bathroom. Few months fast forward, I can see little gaps between silicon and bath tub, so re-siliconing every 1-2 months. It seems that with the human weight the bath just flexes and moves and makes the gaps between tiles and bath tub every time and no matter how big amount of flexi-silicon does not help for any longer period.
Due to this, I am terrified to shower in my bath. I spend 2 mins at max in the shower. I don't take baths because I am afraid of my weight+water weight will do the damage if the bath sinks with its weight and once again I will have to silicon (at least). I hate to think about the future, when my DC will be bigger and will want to take long showers.
No plumber can find a long term solution so we continue siliconing.

My new (perhaps silly?) idea is maybe we should move the bathroom downstairs. We currently have a lovely big kitchen/diner If I designate the side of it for the bathroom, we could still fit in breakfast table. I am dreaming of a bath where I can soak or shower without fear.
I could convert my 1st floor bathroom to a 3rd bedroom and possibly squeeze a small toilet+sink in between bedrooms. Or install a loft room with a small bathroom. 3 bedroom houses here with the bathroom at the back tend to sell about 10-15k more than 2 bed.

Does this seem like a crazy idea? Anyone here living in an old house and wonky floor? Anyone with similar bathroom problems?
I know many people hate bathrooms downstairs, but mine does not have to be at the back of the house (I do not have money for an extension anyway), so should be warm and cozy..
Oh, please any ideas!

Ghouljamaflip Sun 28-Oct-12 22:38:36

What about putting a shower under the stairs? I've seen that done and its quite effective and that would mean you could leave the bathroom where it is. (I'm assuming there isn't a problem with water leaking between the tub and tiles if you have a bath - only the silicon cracking?)

Only thing I could come up with - but I would HATE to lose some of my kitchen...

FishfingersAreOK Sun 28-Oct-12 22:41:57

I think so many people long to move their bathrooms upstairs it would be a bad idea. When you/whoever replaces the silicon sealant do you fill the tub with water first?

If you have a full tub when the sealant is put on the bath will be at it's "in use" level - ie lower than an empty bath. Leave the water in whilst the sealant dries so that it dries lower. Then when you use the bath/shower your weight will not be ripping the sealant away from the wall.

I think it would be a bit drastic to move everything personally - it would actually be cheaper to rip out the bathroom where it is and re-do it where it is . - No extra costs of moving the plumbing etc. Also double check the sealant is the problem. Have you got a noticeable "drip/watermark" on the ceiling below. Does this go when the sealant is first fixed? OR could it be something else? Leaky waste pipe or something.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 28-Oct-12 22:47:08

I think moving it downstairs would be bad. You would devalue your house and Not have an upstairs bathroom and lose downstairs space. I would see about sorting the problem out - so either a new bath, or a new floor. Get some advice from a builder maybe?

Bilbobagginstummy Sun 28-Oct-12 22:55:12

What about shifting the bath within the room? Moving it downstairs seems a bit drastic.

<old house, previous bath leaked water downstairs when the shower ran, new bathroom last year - moved plumbing but only in same room>

confusedperson Sun 28-Oct-12 22:57:40

Thank you guys, it is late evening and you spared some time for your answers. I do use the good silicon and do fill in the bath with water. The problem is that the bath legs is partly mounted to the floor (and the bath frame to the wall), and it finds its way to flex and move (when my DC jump, I can feel floor movement in another bedroom). So I think it is not only bath-weight-silicon problem, but the flexi floor problem which cannot be resolved without major structural works.
I see regarding bathroom downstairs.. I am not sure why people so negative about it, but they are. I could possibly squeeze a very small wet room (shower+toilet) under stairs by cutting a small corner of kitchen/diner, or could refurbish my small former outside toilet (off conservatory, currently used as a storage room) to a small toiler+shower room, but what would be then the point of 1st floor bathroom if we actually afraid to shower there...?

VivaLeBeaver Sun 28-Oct-12 23:00:16

See about getting the floor relaid, new floor joists or something.

I would hate to have to go downstairs to the loo in the night.

Ghouljamaflip Sun 28-Oct-12 23:03:10

We have a similar situation - bath upstairs and shower downstairs. Daren't have a shower over the bath as its an old roll top and no matter what we do we can't keep the water inside grin (sound familiar) so we shower downstairs and use the other for my soaking time.

Oh the joys of old houses!

FishfingersAreOK Sun 28-Oct-12 23:19:02

Much cheaper and less upset to the saleability to your house to get a plumber/builder round to fix the floor. Not a cheap job but again not as costly as doing it downstairs - would say it is not "major structural" work but OK taking out the bath, lifting the floorboards and checking the joists and then re-laying. A new bathroom - though you could just re-use the bath and re-tile if everything is sound.

Or cheaper still...

confusedperson Sun 28-Oct-12 23:23:23

Forgot to mention that ours is sort of a house where floors are slightly slopy (past movement) and you will find all pictures on the walls have moved over time because of this "flexi" floor. So, shower room downstairs or new joists...ours is a newly done nice batroom, it would be ashame to rip it out...

confusedperson Sun 28-Oct-12 23:27:47

200 pounds for a shower curtain??? Wow. I wonder if the joists can be checked from downstairs (kitchen ceiling)?

FishfingersAreOK Sun 28-Oct-12 23:44:57

grin you can get them cheaper I am sure - sorry -just grabbed the first one that had a picture of the loopy thing that would stop the water getting on the walls.

PigletJohn Mon 29-Oct-12 00:16:42

moving the bathroom will be sixty times more expensive and troublesome than fixing the problem.

if someone has knocked down a supporting wall or chimneybreast downstairs, or the house moved as a result of action in the 1939-45 Unpleasantness, the joists might not be properly supported. There is a faint chance they might be rotten or wormy if there has been long-term leakage over the 150 years since they were put in. This needs a builder.

if the original floorboards have been taken up and replaced with chipboard <spits> it is doubtless softened, cracked, swollen and broken by the moisture and weight. In which case have it all taken up, and replaced, especially under the bath, with 22mm WBP ply which is waterproof especially if you paint the cut edges before screwing down. It is also strong and rigid and if tightly screwed down will not bend or creak. A carpenter or joiner can do this. I like to treat any new joists or timbers in a bathroom floor with Cuprinol Wood Preserver because it's my belief that bathrooms sometimes have water in them.

There are many practical uses for chipboard flooring, especially round 5th November.

I am going to guess that you have a plastic bath. They flex a lot with the weight of 120 litres of water and 60 kilos of body. Yours might be sinking into the floor if it is soft and there are no bearers under the feet as well. For best results have it lifted out while the new floor is laid, and put back with multiple side supports; the feet on bearers spanning three joists; a bath sealing strip with silicone rubber fin, preferably fitted before the tiles instead of sealant. If anybody wants to apply sealant to a bath, fill it with water first so the weight pulls it down to its "full" position.

Examine all the pipes and waste for signs of leakage while you are about it.

FishfingersAreOK Mon 29-Oct-12 00:26:18

And no need to spend £200 on a shower curtain grin

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