What I'm Seeing Now


Happy Family

I love Chinese food.  One item on the menu, it seems, in every restaurant is a variation of something called "Happy Family."  It usually consists of three meats, say beef, chicken and pork, together with a bunch of veggies.  But the meal always comes with three things together.

In a recent inspection, of a flip, of course, the clients and Realtor were impressed with the quality of the work inside.  But, even though the house was remodeled by a Class A contractor, the buyers thought it wise to have a home inspection anyway.  That is very smart.

There were enough things on this house to provide fodder for many weeks worth of blogs!  If what I can see is so comical, what about those things I cannot see!  Frightful!

This is a view of a fine new bathroom built in the basement.  It looks like your basic new bathroom.

At first glance I thought something was odd.  It was.  This space used to be the laundry room.  How did I know?  Two ways.













The first clue was the sink.  Notice the "S" trap?  It does not look like the traps you are used to seeing, called the "P" trap.  An S trap is usually used when there is no venting to tie into.  And they are usually less effective.  The copper pipes come from the right and the drain goes to the right, inside that little chase next to the floor.  The second clue was this:

The Happy Family!

The tub utilizes the original drain in the previous laundry room's washing machine drain!  How do I know?  The size of the floor drain line.  And where it is located - inside what was the back wall of the laundry.

The drain beside it, going to the left under the wall, connects to the toilet!  Looking beside the tub, it turns downward into the floor right in line with the back of the toilet.  This is the only drain they could use and still tie it into the floor with the tub drain.  It is too small to drain a toilet.  The toilet flushed sluggishly with large, gurgling bubbles.

The tube on the top which ties into the toilet drain is from the sink above!  It makes a long, circuitous route, with three 90 degree turns, sharing the drain with the toilet!

I am pretty sure the County did not approve this!

They are using the original 2" drain line beneath the floor because the main drain stack is 2' to the right of this photo and the floor slab was not broken up to accommodate a larger drain line.

So three bathroom fixtures drain into the same 2" floor drain from the original laundry room.

Where is the laundry room now?  Do you see the fuzzy silver tubing on the right side of this photo?

That is the hot water line for the washing machine.  The horizontal drain beneath it is the drain line.

The question was, where's the laundry room now?

In the family room!

You see, it is the great circle of life.  The Happy Family of the laundry room (washing machine, laundry tub and dryer) is now in the family room!

It's a beautiful thing!

Oh, you can't see it here, but that door is below ground.  Outside it is the stairwell with a drain.  I think that drain has been clogged for a long time because there sure is a lot of staining on the new tile floor, coming from the door!  The floor molding, recently painted also, registers over 30% moisture, as to the walls to the right and left of the door!

Wow, do we have a problem here?

The advertised basement "master bedroom" and "master bath" are in the corner of the basement, with one high, small sliding basement window, one door as a means of egress, and the family room is now the laundry room.

The Fire Marshall would be very interested in this arrangement!

Do you think the Class A contractor had permits for any of this?  And this was one of many, many similarly idyllic features of this newly remodeled house.



My recommendation:  Get a home inspector on your side!  And don't rely on a Class A Flipper, however cute he might be.


Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 8 commentsJay Markanich • June 14 2010 08:42PM
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