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A Houseplant Rotted My Subfloor & Here’s How I Fixed It

A Houseplant Rotted My Subfloor & Here’s How I Fixed It

A few years ago, I purchased my first ever real plant baby – a fiddle leaf fig tree to be exact.

Watching that little sapling develop into a show-stopper of a tree gave me such an inspiring sense of pride, I decided that I needed to go out and buy plants for every single corner of my house.

Essentially, I became a full-fledged, crazy a$$ plant lady!

And while having live, growing greenery in every single room of my home has been a key pillar in making my house feel like a reflection of my earthy preferences and interests (not to mention giving me the mental satisfaction of better air quality), I made one fatal mistake…

Houseplants on Carpet Equals Rotted Subfloors:

Because I don’t want you to ever have to experience this sort of misadventure (aka: every homeowner’s nightmare), today I am sharing my cautionary tale of houseplants and rotted subfloors.

how to replace piece of rotted subfloor

It all started this summer while I was having my nasty, old 1980’s master bedroom carpet replaced with a glorious new textured variety .

Out running errands while the carpet installers began their work , I received a pretty stressful phone call not long thereafter.

After removing the contents of my bedroom to install my beautiful new carpet, peeling back the old material, the crew discovered that my subfloor had rotted and needed to be replaced. This water damage was all due to one of my house plants.

For God knows how long (seriously could have been years), my plant baby had been leaking water on my old carpet.

Not only was I shocked as there was never any visible sign to me that the pot was leaking (the carpet was simply absorbing the water), but I was also a bit peeved because I thought I had taken all precautions to avoid such an incident..

Not only was my tree double potted, but I also had an additional means of defense- a plastic, planter tray (which was placed underneath the double-potted plant). Unfortunately, both the pot and the tray had cracked. While I will never really know what caused this… I intuitively see my children and/or my pets as the potential offenders.

easy subfloor replacement

While rotted subfloor are two words no homeowner ever wants to hear, I was super relieved to discover that upon further investigation, the water never impacted the actual joists. As a result, the endeavor turned out to be an easier fix than we had first anticipated.

How Much It Costs to Replace a Subfloor Board:

Knowing nothing about subfloor repair, we did choose to hire the job out. But after watching the contractor replace the board, I know my husband could have easily done this himself (and we could have saved ourselves around $150 in labor).

In the end, it was really just a matter of unscrewing the existing nails on the damaged subfloor, removing the old board and then replacing it with a new board (also making cuts for the air vent).

Moral of the subfloor fiasco:

Once my beautiful new carpet was finally installed, I made a vow to myself…

Never will I ever put a free standing plant on carpet (never…ever f*cking again)!

Looking back at this experience, it is super freaky to think that I wouldn’t have even known the plant was leaking if I had not replaced my carpet to begin with .

Just a reminder that the universe always has our backs.

And in lieu of a real plant baby (I literally threw the baby out with the bath/plant water), I now have this super deceptive faux fiddle leaf fig tree which you can read all about here.

Thank you so much for stopping by this week and putting up with my antics yet again.

Now get out there and design some good vibes along with a fabulous life.

If you found this post helpful, it would make such a difference if you could share this with a friend or on social media..

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My journey in interior design and home improvement began with transforming my first fixer-upper home, all while managing a budget and raising two young boys. My work, a reflection of my passion for creating beautiful, uplifting spaces, has been recognized by top publications like Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, HGTV, and more. I invite you to explore my site and witness the transformation of my home and the vibes we've designed.Read more...


Wednesday 24th of March 2021

What a lesson Erica! I only have small real plants that I try to keep alive and also pick up so see what is going on underneath in case I overwater, which I have been known to do.

Designing Vibes

Thursday 25th of March 2021

That is smart of you, Mary. I feel so silly for not ever looking under mine.


Wednesday 24th of March 2021

Well this is good to know! I have considered buying a faux tree but just haven't got there yet. I know a real one would last two whole minutes with me:) Have a great day!!!

Designing Vibes

Thursday 25th of March 2021

bahaha! Oh...I bet you are a great plant mama.

Donna Long

Wednesday 24th of March 2021

Hello Erica, Thanks for sharing that- we had a similar experience when we had our hardwoods refinished. Thankfully, it was all superficial, minor damage. I’m team silk greenery as well. Your floors are beautiful! As always- I enjoy your posts, informative and humorous! Have a great rest of the week.

Designing Vibes

Thursday 25th of March 2021

Thank you so much, Donna! Yeah...faux plants have really come a loooong way. Have a great rest of your week!


Tuesday 23rd of March 2021

Oh my word, so glad you found it when you did. It could have been so much worse. Love your new faux though, so great job.

Designing Vibes

Wednesday 24th of March 2021

Thank you so much, fabulous lady! was a super close call, but I got out of that one relatively unscathed.