What I'm Seeing Now


Bend Me, Shape Me, Anyway You Want Me...

While at a pre-drywall inspection, bouncing on a floor, I decided to check out other things.  Why not?  I'm there anyway, and one glaring problem almost always indicates that others will be lurking around.  And there were!

I tried to get a photo that actually demonstrates everything going on, but while this may be the best one it does not show the extent of what is happening.

When the large master bath tub was set in place and a hole cut into the sub floor to run the drain line, they discovered that the floor I-beam was right in the way.

What to do?

They probably thought about cutting it, but after all, it is right under a very heavy tub when full of water and/or people!  Gee, that might cause a problem!

I don't know how they did it, but they actually pushed the floor joist out of the way!  And they pushed it a good two inches!

You can see somewhat of the bend in that joist here! 

Look closely and you can see where it used to be glued to the sub floor AND a perpendicular 2x4 between the two joists to hold it in that bent position!

But there was another problem!  The drain line for the sinks was installed and ran right beside that joist.  It is still in the way.

Solution?  Reconfigure the drain line for the tub!  Not meant to run this way, the drain line has to be held in that position and it is bent also!  You can see the 2x6 there doing that.  And yes, that drain line is stressed.  You can clearly see that.

Did the tub drain?  Yes, but with a bit of a gurgle and sucking sound.

But we have stress on the support joists and stress on the drain line.  How long will that last without something giving?  The answer:  I don't know!  Maybe a week, maybe 10 years.  But stress is something nobody, and nothing, wants long term.

My recommendation:   If one trade wants to do something out of whack, like cutting a floor joist to accommodate an HVAC vent, other trades are suspect as well.  This supervisor lets things go, and will bend the "rules" to make things work on site.  SO GET A PRE-DRYWALL INSPECTION!  You might not otherwise know!

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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


Comment balloon 20 commentsJay Markanich • August 18 2010 06:08AM


Good advice for home buyers. Thanks for sharing.

 Blooming for home buyers.

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) almost 10 years ago

The plumbers in our area would not have thought that far out of the box. They would have chopped the floor joist and hoped that no one would find out...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Thank you Roy.

Michael - that's what the HVAC guys did on the other side of the house!  But this plumber was worried that if the floor caved in under that big tub it would come back on him.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Jay, A ticking time bomb. I recommend phase inspections for my custom homes and dirt sales to catch things like your example. When the walls, floors, and ceilings are in place it's too late. Then you just have to wait for the failure. 

Posted by Wayne Johnson, San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale (Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS®) almost 10 years ago

Good advice Wayne.  I have been recommending, and doing, pre-drywall inspections for many years.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

My new construction clients are always advised to get pre-drywall inspections.  Whether the builder likes it or not.  I just have to point to your blogs as to the reason why.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) almost 10 years ago

Wow, thank you Cindy!  I have been recommending them for a long time, with reason.  Sorry I was so booked I couldn't handle your client a couple of weeks ago, but thank you for the referral!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Did the supervisor get bent out of shape when you pointed this out?

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Jay, that is why your industry is so relative to what we do and to protect all our assets.  I don't know if any of the inspector's in our area would have caught that, but no matter if the home is pre-existing or new construction, we need to have an unbiased opinion in writing.

Posted by Don Spera, Serving York and Adams County, PA (CR Property Group, LLC) almost 10 years ago

I'm not involved in much new construction in the city and especially not much custom, but there are some opportunities popping up as builders hold land, rather than build spec. Thanks for these lessons, so I'll have something to think about should it come up.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) almost 10 years ago

Jay - That's what chain saws are for.  The big question is: what about all the nails that were supposed to secure the subfloor to the joist?  Did they cut them or were they just pulled loose by driving the joist out of the way?  Neither option is a good solution.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) almost 10 years ago

He had left by that point, Jim, but had already commented that the Trampo-floor was "normal."  Maybe he had not seen this for what it was because this is normal too...

Don - that is the whole idea.  To observe and report.  I am not in the business of telling them what to do about it.

Glenn - I have seen stuff like this for years but only blogged about it since my AR membership, almost two years now.

John - I could have taken more pictures.  In this case they pulled the joist away from the glue on the sub floor and the nails, which ends are still poking through the sub floor.


Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

Hi Jay, doesn't every tool kit contain joist benders, saws, and other handy tools to get those minor annoyances of the other trades out of the way?  Great photo, thanks.

Posted by Dale Ganfield almost 10 years ago

Jay, you have to wonder how many people buy houses with no knowledge of what lies beneath.

Posted by Damon Gettier, Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE (Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert) almost 10 years ago

You are consistent in your message (get a pre-drywall inspection) and your pictures certainly drive the point home well.  You have us convinced.


Posted by Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate, Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs (Kelly Right Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Hi Jay.  I did read the part about the picture not clearly showing what is going on, and I certainly agree that the in-person inspection is more reliable than a photograph inspection.

My comment is about the "bit of a gurgle a sucking sound".   In my opinion, when only "P-traps" are used, the gurgle and sucking sound mot likely does not indicate a drain problem.  The "P-trap" will likely maintain the water seal and prevent sewer/septic gases from entering the dwelling.

When a bit of a gurgle or sucking sound is heard with "S-traps" or "drum traps" there is a risk that the drain speed may induce a siphon and eliminate the water seal, thus allowing sewer/septic gases into the dwelling.


Posted by Jim Mushinsky (Centsable Inspection) almost 10 years ago

 Drains with sound effects...music to the ears of a plumber.....gross sounding though it is...eagle eye Jay uncovers yet another construction flaw...good job !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) almost 10 years ago

Gee, Dale, if they don't do you think they should?

Damon - I would say most people!

Mel - happy to have another convert!

Jim - I am aware of all that.  Hard to see, but they created almost an on-the-spot S trap with that initial little 90 degree bend to get the drain out of the way of the other drain.  Then, to hold it all in place, stressed it with that 2x6.

S&D - didn't exactly take an eagle eye to see this one.  I always look at the underside of bathrooms when I can see them.  Sometimes you find some really funky stuff!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

I don't understand why someone used that 45 elbow.  It seems like everything would have worked fine if they hadn't done that...

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 10 years ago

They were "thinking" on the spot Reuben!  Initiative, spunk, thinking outside the box!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 10 years ago

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