What I'm Seeing Now

head_left_image

Space, The Final Frontier

One of my big beefs with Flippers, and homeowners who do their own work, is the bathroom that is placed with the shower/tub hardware against a wall.

They pick out these fiberglass shower surrounds and then make it impossible to get to any hardware because of a foundation wall right behind.

Well, fortunately this builder has heard my complaints.

Here is a bathroom with the hardware side NOT right against the foundation wall.

From this photo it looks like there is great access to the shower hardware.

That gap is only 8".

I could barely extend my (big gun) arm back there to touch the plumbing, much less do work on it!

And there was not enough room for the insulators to put insulation on that foundation wall!

Another problem - the other side you are looking at through this gap will be a family room and that will be the corner with the TV and built-in shelving.  So there will be no access from there.

And this side, from which the photo is snapped, is the corner of a basement bathroom/au pair suite.  I guess there's access, through what will be drywall, but only 8"!

The shower surround is indeed fiberglass, so to do work from the bathroom side necessitates ripping that out.

Overall, while not the best way to install a bathroom, at least there is minimal access. 

And I do know a couple of Boy Scouts who might be able to squeeze in there with some tools!

My recommendation:  on any construction, but especially new, thinking ahead is very important.  Will someone ever need to get to that shower hardware in the future?  Who knows, but if so, it is best to have the space to be able to do it!  Once again, space becomes the final frontier!

 

 

 

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 58 commentsJay Markanich • December 09 2011 05:16AM

Comments

Jay-thanks for the photos and explanation, this is great stuff to know and be able to point out to our buyers.

 

Best

Posted by Adrian Willanger, Profit from my two decades of experience (206 909-7536 AdrianWillanger-broker.com) over 7 years ago

Adrian - I do a lot of new construction inspections and I often have more mentionables there then I do with old construction!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Why would anyone need to get back there?  Do you mean things like this don't last forever?  LOL.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 7 years ago

THAT seems to be the thinking of so many people Debbie!  I don't understand it either.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Hi Jay,

I can't begin to tell you how many times I have not been able to even look at the plumbing, let alone take a picture of it. Have they never heard of an "access panel"?

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 7 years ago

No, Clint, they have not.

What is that anyway?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay, I suspect future work is rarely considered.  We'd have a problem in our home.  Fireplace hearth is behind the guest bath's plumbing wall, and the master bath?  Ceramic tile in it, and the other side of the wall?  Ceramic tile for the guest bath.  Hope we never need to do anything further.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 7 years ago

For sure Bliz!  Did you see my previous post about things I don't understand.  How come I am the only one thinking ahead?

Your circumstance is a prime example.  Just imbecility.  It isn't a question of IF that will become a problem at some point, just WHEN.  And who's problem it will be is yet to be determined!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

So you have big guns do you?  I noticed a board right where the fitting is.  If someone did need to do some work on the shower would not that be an issue?  Now go lift something and get those big guns bigger. ;)

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) over 7 years ago

That board is what the fixture is attached onto for structure James.  It's necessary, but with enough room can be dealt with. 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

You know, if these yo-yo's didn't do stuff like this you would be out of business! OK, maybe not, but your blog fodder would be greatly reduced!

 

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 7 years ago

For sure on the blog fodder Andrea!  Hopefully not on the business!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay~The more I look at that photo it would be nearly impossible to work on, the fixture is behind the 2x4. Hopefully I'll last until a remodel. You must just chuckle every time you see this stuff and say, "Here we go again-another blog post."

Have an AWESOME day!

 

Posted by Michael S. Bolton, MN Appraiser (Michael S. Bolton,Inc.) over 7 years ago

Michael - surely I think blog fodder often!  Then out comes the camera!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay, we all know the access panel come right after the first repair.

That way the Mrs. can change paint colors....................what were you thinking.

Enjoy the day sir

Posted by Don MacLean, Realtor-Homes for Sale- Easton Mass (New England Real Estate Center Inc.) over 7 years ago

They must have referral people that can come in in a few years and re-do all of that so they're looking at business down the road

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 7 years ago

Access? They're supposed to give us access? Jay, if they willingly did that, then we'd say all the mess ups and short-cuts and the likes. 

Posted by Suesan Jenifer Therriault, "Inspecting every purchase as if it were my own". (JTHIS-Professional Home Inspection Team) over 7 years ago

Jay, I haven't seen access to these fixtures for a long time.  Modern ones can be serviced and even replaced typically from in the shower. 

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 7 years ago

I wasn't Don, and I admit it.  But I am always trying!

That's the ticket Ed!  Set yourself up for future return on investment!

Well, Sue, at least it wasn't against the wall!

Charlie - from the front one can get in to repair the hardware yes, but if there is a leak behind good luck with repairing that.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

But jay that is true of any fitting anywhere in the wall.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 7 years ago

Jay -- That is interesting, copper fittings to one PVC(?) where is the hot or cold water going to come from to get the temperature correct? Are they on another wall?

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 7 years ago

Agreed Shadow.  So how does anyone get to a leak happening where the CPVC meets the connection to the shower head tube?  Through the little hole on the shower side of the stall?

Steven - what you see is the brass housing for the shower hardware.  It marries to the white CPVC supply tubing.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay, reminds me of some recently graduated engineers our company hired (in 2001 when I was working with a strip metal machinery design company) because of their proficiency with the latest technology. The first leveller one team designed did not have any allowances for maintenance, and this was not discovered until it was built in the field.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 7 years ago

Chris - there's some good thinking ahead too!  Happens to the best of them!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jay, all I am saying is that there would be a lot of ugly walls with access panels everywhere they "might" be necessary.  As with all plumbing connections---they should not leak.  If they do, you have to undertake the necessary repairs---just comes with the territory I guess.  I love the manifold systems with no joints inside the walls anywhere---now that is the ticket :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 7 years ago

Jay, Is this not what a sawzall is for? ; ). This is so you have to get a new stall at that time, freshen it up a bit. You know maintenance is highly over rated.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

I see Charlie.  For sure, they should not leak.  But I have seen so many leaking connections marrying brass or copper with CPVC, particularly over water heaters, that I would always worry about and suspect a leak behind my tub!

I'm not an access panel guy either.

And I've only seen the manifolds with PB and PEX.  You have others out there?

Don - and by then the color you had would not be in vogue and you could change to meet the "new chic!"

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Of course there are still some of the old PB ones around but mostly PEX these days----saaaaweeeet.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 7 years ago

Charlie - I think I just realized what you meant in #18.  By access, I was referring to being able to fit in there if one needs to do a repair.  I could barely get my arm back there.  You were referring to a panel, right?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Tight squeeze for sure. Perhaps a Tribble could fit?

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 7 years ago

Boy, have I seen that a time or two.  My big guns wouldn't be the problem of getting in there.  Even sideways, I'd never make it through that hole.  8=)  I guess they have those new "lifetime guaranteed flawless" plumbing parts.  You gotta love it.

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 7 years ago

hi, Jay!

Agree - very little thought seems to go into home building and maintenance. After all, the builder will likely be long gone by the time an issue is found or repair warranted.  And I bet the larger builders calculate for this.
My plumbing pet peeve, and I see it all of the time in homes from $100,000 to $1,000,000 is when you have a "galley" type of bath, and on one wall you have the sink, then the commode, then they flip the shower to the opposite wall for some reason. Why would you flip the shower to the opposite wall?
The Stage Coach 

Posted by Michael Fontana, @ The Stage Coach (Round Rock Home Stager Austin Home Staging) over 7 years ago

Definitely a great set up for the repair work recommended by the builder, of course, about three to four years down the road. ...... 

Posted by Dagny Eason, Fairfield County CT, CDPE Homes For Sale and Condo (Dagny's Real Estate) over 7 years ago

My new vanity sink fixture would be better if it were  not so close to the thick granite backsplash.   I didn't catch it in time, but you'd think the contractors would think about these things.

Posted by Mary Sheridan, Creative Marketing, Buyer Agency 423-943-7655 (Keller Willliams - 1033 Hamilton Place,Johnson City TN 37604) over 7 years ago

Forethought, hmmm. Maybe the space is between the ears... ; )

Posted by The Derrick Team - Indy Metro Realtors, Your Pet Friendly Realtors (Carpenter Realtors) over 7 years ago

When I rebuilt, from the sub floor up, one of our baths I knew if anything went wrong who would have to get back at it. The only thing that would be a real problem is the toilet sweep located directly above the cistern in our old house. Luckily toilets sweeps are not big wear items.

If you are responsible for fixing up the things you screw up it puts a whole new light on your efforts. I think it's called accountability.

Posted by Marshall Brown, BSEE, CHI (Mid America Inspection Services, LLC) over 7 years ago

Thanks for the illustration and lesson on space and effective planning.

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) over 7 years ago

So?

There are a lot of homes that have no access considered to the shower/tub plumbing. Some where you can cut out the wall if you need to access a leak or an issue or many that are not. If one is concern about access, then do not finish the inside of your home. Let all the plumbing, electrcial, air ducts and every thing else be exposed for easy access. Little silly is it not.

Anyway, in this situration your right because its nearly up against a foundation wall, the tub/shower end of the wall should have been the opposite ends for access. Yes, a homeowner renovator want-a-be install. Good notice. That looks for the work of a thin midget.

Posted by Dave Brice (Pacific West Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

No tribbles Jim!  Remember the trouble tribbles caused for another Jim?  They multiplied like crazy!

Mike - this connection would have to come with a lifetime leak-free guarantee!

Michael - I think shower hardware should always be on an available wall.  Love your signature!

Dagny - three or four years or more!  Or less!  Who knows!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Mary - my mother used to complain that "engineers should be forced to cook on their stuff before they put it out in the public!"  I think she would agree with you.

Derrick Team - all construction requires forethought.  You'd think...

Marshall - accountability is the name of the game!  Unless you are a builder.

Kimo - you are welcome sir!  More to come.

Dave - or a skinny 12 year old Boy Scout!  Thanks.  Another six inches out from the wall, or the hardware on the hallway wall opposite this one would have done it.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

you know people often do not think thinks out right.  I once put the lights up on my house backward and the end I need to plug in was furthest from the outlet.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Dear Jay,

Boy, have you hit one of my pet peeves. Builders thinking ahead, ha! We have some homes in our area, where you have to take out one or another bath to work on things, because the pipes are back-to-back. Kitchen work areas behind refrigerators seem popular too. Of course, some services do not want to be left behind, so Verizon, for example likes to install their boxes either really visibly in a living room or such or with the plug-in cable running across the washer, so you can either watch TV or wash clothes, which is ok for a 1-person household, but how many of those are there?

Posted by Dörte Engel, ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland (RE/MAX Leading Edge) over 7 years ago

After 17 years, I lost track of how many times I asked, "What were they thinking?"  Of course the answer was probably, "They weren't!"

Posted by Woody Edwards, A Realtor® Who Answers His Phone! (First Choice Realty, Inc) over 7 years ago

When the tenants finally got around to telling us there was a leak in their shower, my son had to rip out part of a wall to get at the broken pipe. It really would be nice if houses were designed so that ALL the plumbing was accessible without the need to destroy anything.

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) over 7 years ago

No problem.  You just need to find a plumber who has been on a diet.

A really good diet.

Posted by Jim Hale, Eugene Oregon's Best Home Search Website (ACTIONAGENTS.NET) over 7 years ago

That's what they make extension cords for Gene.  Just lay it attractively!

There aren't too many Dorte.  Saving space is one thing, creating an inability to do something is quite another.

Woody - in a nutshell!

Marte - that is exactly my point, but these days of wide open this and convenient that, the work gets crammed into spots unknown!

Jim - and they're everywhere!  One of my little Boy Scouts would work too.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Good planning is the key to any project, but plumbing access is a pet peeve of mine.  A better plan up front, will save the homeowner (and future owners) headaches in the future.  Great blog!

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) over 7 years ago

Good post as always about not thinking ahead.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 7 years ago

Lisa - future plumbing headaches are the bane of every home owner, and certainly they should not be set up by bad planning!

Thanks Lyn.  Yet another!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Hi Jay,  Great post, but lots of luck getting a builder to care much less think forward to an installer needing access.  lol

Posted by Bob Miller, The Ocala Dream Team (Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty) over 7 years ago

A repair guy can get access Bob, IF he weighs 40 pounds or so!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

You'd think there would be a code for adequate access.

Posted by Sylvie Stuart, Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagsta (Realty One Group Mountain Desert 928-600-2765) over 7 years ago

Very good advice for those that renovate homes and another very good reason for home buyers to request a professional home inspection to disclose these issues.

Enjoy the holidays!

Colonial Williamsburg Holiday Wreath IMG_1243

Photograph by Roy Kelley using a Canon PowerShot G11 camera.

Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

 

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) over 7 years ago

There may be Sylvie, but I don't know what it says in that jurisdiction.

Roy - disclosure is what home inspections are all about!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

Why would it be so bad to have the shower facing the other way?  Bad times.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 7 years ago

It would not have been bad Reubs.  The other end was a hallway!  I suggested that, but no...  is too logical this.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

You are so helpful.  Thanks!

Posted by Dale Taylor, Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos (Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois) over 7 years ago

Glad you could find and oldie but a goodie and stop by Dale!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 7 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments