A homebuyer always looks at the style and upgrades of a bathroom when touring a listing. A home inspector looks for two things, safety and water. A home inspector always has the worst scenario in mind and the bathroom tends to be where one would occur. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did a study that showed in 2008 emergency department doctors treated 234,094 non-fatal injuries that occurred in the bathroom.
“There are so many ways to be injured: slipping on wet tiles, scalding water that is too hot, and electrical shock from improper wiring are all common occurences,” Welmoed Sisson, a certified home inspector says.
The water coming from the faucets in a bathroom should never go over 120 degrees out of the sink and 106 degrees in the bathtub. Other issues that will be noted are cracked tiles with sharp edges, loose toilets, poor clearance, loose grab bars, small shower doors and non-tempered shower door glass. Another potential hazard can be the electrical outlets. A home inspector will make sure there are GFCis located in the bathrooms. A ground fault circuit interrupter will protect against electrical shocks.
Water can cause a damp environment which is not a good sign in a bathroom. This can cause thousands of dollars in repairs. A home inspector will look for gaps between tiles and missing caulk around bathroom fixtures. They will also look underneath the sink to make sure the drain is plumbed correctly.
“Many people assume that a bathroom is waterproof-it’s not. It’s water-resistant. Water is persistent and will find any available opening to flow into. Any tiny gap in caulking or grout can lead to massive amounts of hidden damage to the framing inside the walls,” she says.
Another thing is to make sure the base of the toilet is secure and there is no softening of the floor. The softening of the floor can indicate water damage. They also want to make sure the toilet does not shimmy.
“It should not move at all. Any movement could indicate weakening of the seal at the floor, which can lead to leaks,” Sisson states.
Remember if you are looking for a new home, make sure to not just look at the aesthetics in the bathrooms, but the caulk and grout condition as well. Home inspectors warn that buyers get distracted by things such as trendy light fixtures and upgrades.
“They should get up close to the walls and floors, looking for signs of poor maintenance,” Simmons suggests.