What I saw was unprofessional plumbing work.
The phone call said that a contractor (in the carpet industry) said he also did remodeling on the side and completely reworked two bathrooms.
The plumber that was sent was unfamiliar with the work he was asked to do, and did not appear to be licensed. There were a few signs in that regard!
When one of the bathrooms was first used a stain was seen in the kitchen ceiling.
The contractor said it was because there was some water "left on the other side of the drywall" after the work was done and that it would not be a problem.
But things did not look right.
When things don't look right to a consumer the odds are fabulous that things are not right at all!
The homeowners were referred to me by a family member in another state who followed my blogs! When I arrived I saw a huge repair in the kitchen ceiling, and not very well done. That was Sign 1.
Going into the bathroom I could see Sign 2, in the photo above. Can you see it? The drain cap was not level. That can only mean one thing - stress.
The homeowner opened up the kitchen ceiling, and what we could see one can only describe as stress.
The drain line was cocked at an odd angle.
It was put together with a dozen small pieces! Sign 3.
Each piece was put on one by one. How could I tell? Because each was primed individually and glued in place backwards toward the tub.
How could I tell that?
Because the primer had dripped downward from each piece of plastic tubing to the one below. Sign 4.
The "plumber," who spoke little English, had things so out of alignment he apparently was unable to bend the pieces to make them go together.
To solve this problem he created many smaller pieces, fitting each in place and making the whole assembly easier to "curve" into place.
That caused stress, and the drain line was not plumb.
And THAT would be why the drain cap was not level.
I said to the homeowner that this stress might cause a leak as the assembly is heated during a shower.
A couple of days later I had a message on my phone. It was the homeowner who said that my predictions were "spot on" and "hit the nail on the head." A family member had taken a shower and during the shower the drain line leaked badly into the kitchen. That leaking was almost certainly the cause of the stain in the ceiling previously.
My recommendation: when things are visible it is easier to make a diagnosis. But in this case I thought the future was predictable. Now the homeowner is left with the need for a real, licensed plumber. And to have to deal with the previous contractor, who was not licensed. It will probably take more time to fix this "remodeling" than it was to do the initial job! It pays to have a licensed professional do any work.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560