What I'm Seeing Now

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Be Very, Very Careful Where You Sit!

This house is 52 years old.  The sellers decided to remodel.

The little gem you see here is the underside of a former coat closet and part of an entry way that was converted into a full bathroom.  A powder room elsewhere was converted into a coat closet, nearer to the most-used door.

The far corner is the drain (the vertical pipe) for the new bath sink.  To the left is the drain (you see the trap) for the new bath tub.  The vertical drain under the toilet is in the center of the picture, beside the old drain stack.

The old cast iron drain was utilized variously to accommodate the new bath.  All in all the bathroom looked pretty nice from above.  Nice floor tile, heavy appliances and cabinets - very nice looking.  But heavy...

What bothers me is the support.

Look closely.  The new toilet is supported by a new cross joist, which looks slightly grayer, which is toe-nailed into the original floor joist.  They apparently notched the original floor joist to be able to toe nail it.  That tells me they may have added it as an after thought because the other end of that gray joist that is hidden behind the vertical toilet drain is merely resting on the top of the cast iron drain.  It is attached to nothing.  That cast iron drain is newly supported by the 1x4" board near the wall.  That 1x4" is attached to nothing, top or bottom - it merely stands there.  The end of the gray joist is toe nailed to the floor joist which was cut to accommodate the toilet drain line. 

That corner is resting on an old piece of 2x2", which, you can see, is bowing under the load.  This is approximately the center of the bathroom.

A large, heavy visitor sitting on the toilet, or Grandma and Grandpa using that bathroom at the same time, might just cause that little 2x2 to snap! 

What a mess!  Well, at least they used purple primer!  Notice that the new plastic stuff is strapped!

My recommendation:  If you see a remodeled bathroom, see if you can check the underside before you use the toilet!  You might avoid a real surprise if you do...

 

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 13 commentsJay Markanich • August 23 2009 04:45PM

Comments

Jay - Good advice, and I hope someone fixed the problem.  

Several years ago a friend asked me to check the master bath in his mom's house (about 40 years old).  They thought they might have a plumbing leak.  After a visit to the crawlspace, I told the mom to stay out of the shower, that it could collapse at any moment.  It seems the old lead shower pan had completely disintegrated and the floor joists were so decayed that I could pull them apart with my hands.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) over 8 years ago

John - a shower pan that old is likely to do that!  Particularly over a crawl...  This bathroom seemed pretty new.  It hadn't had time enough yet to leak and cause the floor to rot.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

I want to know why you single out grandmas and grandpas to snap the 2x2. Sincerely, a grandma (and according to you, a loud grandma) :) Kate Ford

Posted by Kate Kate over 8 years ago

My dear Kate - because when G and G come to visit, they often go in the bathroom together.  You, however, don't look at all like a grandma.  My grandmother was 68 when I was born, and three of my grandfather could have fit inside her...  you don't look a thing like her!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay, gotta love the 2" going into 1-1/2":)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 8 years ago

Jay,

It is so much better that you were there than me. That I say for sure.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 8 years ago

Charlie - they had to accommodate the old cast iron!  That used to service the powder room, not visible here.  It must have gone from a 4 to 2 to 1 1/2 as well!

Steve - after seeing it, I was afraid to use that bathroom!  I went upstairs later in the inspection, hoping that it would hold me too!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

What a mess! Lots of shortcuts to save some time and money.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 8 years ago

James - I think they were actually trying to improve the property!  I was afraid to use that bathroom later, to tell the truth!  Good new picture!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay,

When I start working and see that sort of stuff I know it will not be a quick, easy and carefree day.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 8 years ago

I hear you Steve!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

I can relate to this one. We recently had a hot tub installed on our deck wchich is on the 2nd story. The "builders" (I use that teerm loosly) reinforced the deck, but never reinforced it TO anything. Luckily, my husband stopped them, got a bunch of 8 x 8 beams and told them what to do.

I should have taken a "before" picture to show you!

Posted by Susan Gonzalez Faux painting murals atlanta (Marietta Mural & Decorative Design) over 8 years ago

Wow, Susan - hot tubs are heavy.  Decks don't collapse as such, they pull away from the house and fall under weight loads.  That's why attachment to the house has become such a big deal in recent years.  Our County here requires through bolts every 8"now.  Good thing your husband stopped them!  He shouldn't be the one to tell a "builder" how to do it correctly!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

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