Ask The Inspector
Q: What areas and elements of the bathroom will my inspector check? Will he check all of the bathrooms in the house?
A. Signs of moisture damage and the proper function of components are the key elements a property inspector will assess in any bathroom. The high moisture content in bathrooms means they’re a prime area for leaks or moisture damage. Your home inspector will check the sink, toilet, and shower or tub for signs of leaks or other damage. This includes examining wall and ceiling coverings, such as tile, for signs of cracks, missing seals or damaged grout.
Your inspector will also examine the water temperature and pressure by turning on faucets, tubs and showers, and sinks. He/she will also assess the size and type of piping coming into the house, which will give a better idea of how the water flows and drains.
When installed and used correctly, a bathroom fan helps remove excess moisture and prevent damage to surfaces. Your inspector will check the fan for proper operation and installation. Bathroom fans should be vented outdoors and not simply up into the attic where the warm, moist air can cause additional problems.
Dealing With Moisture in the Bathroom
Natural light is great, especially in small spaces. Yet, wooden windows in the bathroom, especially near a tub or shower, can come with a host of problems. Excess moisture that’s allowed to sit on the window sill can cause migration of the water where mold and mildew can spread unseen.
When remodeling a bathroom, always ensure products are designed for use in wet areas. Also, it is recommended that bathrooms always have a ceiling exhaust fan, even when a window is present. Moisture from hot showers can warp wood or cause privacy window films to pull away from the glass.
Snapshots From The Field
What’s Wrong With This Picture?
- All toilets should be slightly lifted as shown to vent properly.
- This toilet should be marked defective. Toilet bases are to be firmly attached to the floor. Pencils should not be used for balance.
- The photo demonstrates the best way to fix a sagging floor under a toilet.
- This is one way to space out a toilet to set an extra-large wax seal.
Correct Answer B. This toilet should be marked defective. Toilet bases are to be firmly attached to the floor. Pencils should not be used for balance.
Protecting Your Bathroom From Leaks
Replacing deteriorated, cracked or missing caulk around the seams in a tub or shower protects against leaks in the area, an all too common occurrence. This includes caulking seams between the shower and tub and seams between the tub and the flooring or wall coverings as necessary.
A few tips for making the job go smoothly include:
- Use a silicone or an acrylic sealant (tub and tile caulk) that is made for use in wet or nonporous areas.
- When opening a tube of caulk, less is more. Cut just a little off the nozzle tip and test the bead. You can always cut more.
- Remove the old caulk completely and treat visible mildew before adding new caulk.
- Using painter’s tape just above and below the seam will help ensure an even bead of caulk. Remove immediately to allow caulk to seal correctly.
Green Bathroom Redesigns
Are you making plans to redesign your bathroom or do you just want to expand your “green” living plans?
Here are some ways to upgrade your bathroom space by bringing eco-friendly elements in.
- Consider recycled glass, ceramic or porcelain products for an updated counter top or tiles for walls.
- Efficient ventilation can help to create a healthier bathroom. Look for the Energy Star when selecting new windows or ventilation systems.
- Look for safer, greener alternatives for paint and caulking with low or no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s).
- Newer toilet models could save nearly 4 gallons per flush (GPF) compared to older models. Dual-flush toilets save even more by allowing you to select the amount of water needed for each flush.
- If replacing cabinets, consider sustainably harvested woods bound with resins free of VOC’s.
- Design your bathroom for longevity, which will equate to less maintenance and fewer repairs.
For more information, go to www.greenhomeguide.com
Did You Know?
Environmentally Friendly Bathroom Ideas
About 60 percent of a home’s water consumption takes place in the bathroom. Take into consideration the following items in your bathroom to find ways you can make an environmental difference.
- The toilet accounts for 26.7 percent of water consumption in the home. Replacing your toilet with a more efficient one could save thousands of gallons of water annually.
- Showers waste a large amount of water; multi-head showers can use 80 gallons per minute.
- Harmful bathroom cleaner ingredients can leave behind traces that can be inhaled when dissolved in shower steam. Clean the air in your bathroom with green cleaning products. Choose dye-free products free of synthetic fragrances and choose products in packaging that is recyclable in your area.
- You can purchase recycled paper for your household uses, too. A wide variety of paper towels, napkins, toilet paper and tissues can be found to fit your “green” needs. Even eco-friendly bath towels and washcloths can be an easy alternative.
Make a big impact in the environment and in your home by creating a green bathroom.
Monthly Trivia Question
In the event of a flood, my homeowner’s insurance policy would cover the damage. True or False?
Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Starbuck’s gift card. Submit your answer to find out if you’ve won.