Home inspection findings by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck, Professional Real Estate Inspector TREC# 9073

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How to Inspect a Bathrooms

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Inspecting a bathroom without a home inspector’s tool kit.

Outside of kitchen improvements, you have bathroom remodels as the best way to improve home value. Here are the steps to check out your fixtures, and fast ways to improve the look of this area. There are similarities to the kitchen. Let us start with the plumbing.

The sink and tub should have some means for stopping the water. Set it to hold water in the basin, then when the water is draining, watch the waste pipes for signs of leaks. The tub should have an access panel, but sometimes this will be located in the room opposite of the wall where the tub fixtures are located. In cabinets under the sink and spaces under the tub, look for signs of water leaks. Sometimes this may be obvious. In one home that I was inspecting, I found a bucket and sponge under the drain pipes. More often you will see water stains on the pipes or on the cabinet base. All plumbing fixtures (tubs, toilets, and sinks) should have a caulk around their base. You will also want to check that these fixtures are secure, so try moving them. This is a common occurrence for toilets. Fixtures should be secure to prevent additional problems like leaks. Check the hot water. The handles should be marked correctly, and it may take a moment, but you should have hot water.

If the shower is in the tub, look at the walls around the tub. A waterproof covering (like tile) needs to be at least six feet high. This type of shower causes mildew and moisture problems on walls around the tub. For separate showers, check that the handles are properly marked, and that they function. Check the enclosure for signs of moisture penetration points (holes or broken tiles). There has to be a way for moist air to vent from this room. An operable window is one method. These windows should be able to open up half of its area. Another method is the bathroom exhaust vent. The motor should sound good when running, and it should pull air out of the room. I have seen these fans placed in air conditioning ducts, which makes them useless. I have also seen them reversed to blow air into the room, which is also not the point.

As in the kitchen, you should see GFCI circuits here. Look for the test button to see that it is functioning. Without a tester, try plugging in a radio. Turn it on, and then test the outlet. The standard is to have the outlets for all the bathrooms on one GFCI circuit. If the circuit trips, the reset should be in the master bedroom area, but this is not always the case. Check that the lights function. Unlike the kitchen, they do not need to be covered. The reason is not to have glass from a breaking bulb going into prepared food in the kitchen, but this poses no issue here. For all electric outlets, check for secure mounting.

Cabinets should be securely mounted. Doors and drawers should function well. Look at the base for water damage. Cabinets can undergo the same overhaul described in the kitchen section, but a popular change is to remove the cabinet to install a pedestal sink. This can become a larger job once you discover what is behind the cabinet, so be prepared. If you are installing a wall hung sink, use chrome pipes under the sink for a clean look. Some simple touches in the bathroom involve adding a new shower curtain and pole, or an arrangement of dry materials (wheat flowers, or vine stems). A nice soap dish with a fancy soap leaves a nice impression. Decorator items like this can go to the next house with you. If you place a rug in this room, I would use double stick tape to hold it in place.


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© Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Home Inspector Houston, Texas
Frank Theodor Schulte-Ladbeck
home inspector, TREC# 9073
Houston , Texas , 77063 United States

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