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Thread: Bathtubs

  1. #1
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    Default Bathtubs

    I am curious as to how many inspectors out there fill the bathtub to the overflow drain?

    Regards:

    Bryce Jeffrey

    2018 ASHI InspectionWorld

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bathtubs

    Quote Originally Posted by Bryce Jeffrey View Post
    I am curious as to how many inspectors out there fill the bathtub to the overflow drain?

    Regards:

    Bryce Jeffrey

    Always, it is the only way to find out if it leaks (more leak than you would think ).

    Fill the tub up to the overflow, then hold your hand over the overflow blocking as much as you can to fill the tub to the top of the overflow if possible (or higher) then remove your hand ... of course, sometimes you will hear/see the leak before you do that.

    While on bathtubs ... don't forget to look closely around the drain too ... more than you think are rusted/rusting out there - many will leak/are leaking there. Some are so rusted out that a slight touch with a finger or screwdriver will poke a hole through it - remember *YOU* *DID NOT* "damaged" the tub, *YOU* only discovered the *ALREADY DAMAGED AND RUSTED OUT* tub. Kudos to you from your client when you find those. Not so happy from the agent or the seller, but THEY SHOULD HAVE DISCLOSED that (especially when there is Bondo around it and the tub has been refinished).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bathtubs

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Always, it is the only way to find out if it leaks


    Actually it isn't the only way, it is one way. Good that you check it, but there is always more than one way to do almost anything...


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bathtubs

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    Actually it isn't the only way, it is one way. Good that you check it, but there is always more than one way to do almost anything...
    I am waiting ...

    ... for the other way ...

    Okay, one COULD construct a device which could be placed over the tub overflow and then filled with water, in fact, one COULD make that with an adapter which connects to the tub spout so it is easy to fill with water considering that most of the water will be going down the overflow drain ... that would be one other way - however remote and unlikely that would be ... so I stand on my 'the only way' ...

    (At least for now until someone comes up with another way suitable for a home inspector to use and do. )

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5

    Default Re: Bathtubs

    I test main floor ones, but am too worried about liability to test the upper level ones.

    I just cup my hand under and around the overflow, and force water in to check for leaks.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Bathtubs

    Gotta say I've never done this. But I would try and find an alternate way of testing the overflow without having to fill the entire tub. The easiest way would be if the tub has a spray wand attachment for the shower head and the hose is long enough. Or maybe keep a squirt bottle in the tool bag that produces a straight solid stream of water and empty the entire bottle into the overflow opening. The red and yellow ketchup and mustard squeeze bottles come to mind.

    OR (inspection tool invention idea), create a half-moon shaped flexible rubber or plastic type device that can be held in place around the overflow valve and filled with water. The shape I'm thinking of would like similar to the rind from 1/4 of a watermelon. It would have to be flexible enough to be bent and match the curvature of the tub. Holding it in place by hand would allow water to leak out of the device but it would still hold enough to direct water into the overflow valve to test for leaks.

    Hmmmmmmm.........


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Bathtubs

    Oooooh Jerry. You typed yours as I was churning up the same idea in my head. Time to work on my speed typing skills.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Bathtubs

    Unless you are prepared to have a shower or a bath I for one do not fill the tub. But I do turn on the taps and shower.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Bathtubs

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Unless you are prepared to have a shower or a bath I for one do not fill the tub.
    But I do turn on the taps and shower.
    And the difference is ... ?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Bathtubs

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    I test main floor ones, but am too worried about liability to test the upper level ones.
    Those are the important ones to check.

    I just cup my hand under and around the overflow, and force water in to check for leaks.
    Not enough water for long enough time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    The easiest way would be if the tub has a spray wand attachment for the shower head and the hose is long enough. Or maybe keep a squirt bottle in the tool bag that produces a straight solid stream of water and empty the entire bottle into the overflow opening. The red and yellow ketchup and mustard squeeze bottles come to mind.
    Not enough water for long enough time.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11

    Default Re: Bathtubs

    Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore
    I test main floor ones, but am too worried about liability to test the upper level ones.

    Those are the important ones to check.
    Jerry,

    Since you've done this plenty of times. I have to assume you've damaged some ceilings below. Have any sellers come back at you in an attempt to have you repair the damage caused?

    I agree it's important to check, but I'm still worried about getting dragged into small claims court, etc.


    I just cup my hand under and around the overflow, and force water in to check for leaks.
    Not enough water for long enough time.
    It's enough water to find leaks quite often.
    What's the industry standard for testing the overflow?


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Bathtubs

    Jerry,

    Tubs/Shower will sometimes only leak when a person is in the tub. I am also not about to run a well dry should the property be in the country. If it is also a very small leak it may not even show up on a one time fill up.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Bathtubs

    I always check the lower ones, but don't usually test the upper ones. If there is an access panel behind the tub drain (in a closet), I will take the cover off and look at the back side of the tub.

    Years ago, my wife and I were sitting in our dining room and our daughter was taking a bath in the bathroom above us. I heard dripping in the ceiling, then ran upstairs to find the tub full to the top and water going into the overflow.

    The amount of time the water was running into the overflow, far exceeded the amount of time I would likely let water run during an inspection. I ended up cutting a hole in the back side of the closet to check it out and fix the drain. But there was never a sign of the leak on the ceiling of the dining room.

    I look for signs of past leaks on the ceilings below bathrooms. I'm looking for all leaks, toilets, sinks, and tubs. I use my screwdriver and check the overflow to see if its tight, but I don't run water into the overflow on tubs above finished spaces.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Bathtubs

    I inadvertently checked one when I was filling a whirlpool tub and forgot about it. I found the bad overflow when water came running through the dining room ceiling.

    No one seemed happy that I found the problem, not even my client. I feel there is too much downside so I don’t check them.

    I do think the best way to check them would be to fill the tub over the overflow for a real life situation.

    Has anyone ever had a complaint for not testing?


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Bathtubs

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lamb View Post
    [Has anyone ever had a complaint for not testing?[/SIZE][/FONT]
    In 7+ years of inspecting, no.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Bathtubs

    I was inspecting a typical row house in Philadelphia a few years ago. The owner had died and her daughters hired me to do the inspection so they could figure out what to do with the house. Both daughters came to the inspection, and sat in the living room while I did my thing.
    After a while I couldn't help but notice that the sisters had started to argue about the house and family problems. This turned into a full blown screaming match while I was on the second floor.
    I started running water in the bathtub, and all of a sudden the yelling stopped.
    Then it started again, only now they were yelling "TURN IT OFF! TURN IT OFF!".
    The bath drain was leaking so badly, it was coming through the ceiling onto the fighting sisters!
    I could barely keep a straight face.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Bathtubs

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Always, it is the only way to find out if it leaks (more leak than you would think ).

    Fill the tub up to the overflow, then hold your hand over the overflow blocking as much as you can to fill the tub to the top of the overflow if possible (or higher) then remove your hand ... of course, sometimes you will hear/see the leak before you do that.

    While on bathtubs ... don't forget to look closely around the drain too ... more than you think are rusted/rusting out there - many will leak/are leaking there. Some are so rusted out that a slight touch with a finger or screwdriver will poke a hole through it - remember *YOU* *DID NOT* "damaged" the tub, *YOU* only discovered the *ALREADY DAMAGED AND RUSTED OUT* tub. Kudos to you from your client when you find those. Not so happy from the agent or the seller, but THEY SHOULD HAVE DISCLOSED that (especially when there is Bondo around it and the tub has been refinished).
    So when you do this test in a second floor bathroom is it only an issue once you find the ceiling coming down.?

    Many of these type leaks are slow and will not be seen during a test such as you describe,but occur over time, which is why SOP may disclaim such a test.

    There is also the fact you need to run it for a very long time and if you are just checking back and forth have good odds of it overflowing after doing this every day .(you will forget to check it on time)

    Just check the ceiling below and be done with it.

    I would put this in the same category as turning shut off valves.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Bathtubs

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    So when you do this test in a second floor bathroom is it only an issue once you find the ceiling coming down.?
    Not even an issue for ME then ... for someone else, yes, it certainly would be an "issue".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Bathtubs

    This is of interest. A small claims case from the province of Quebec.

    COURT OF QUEBEC
    Small claims Division

    CANADA
    PROVINCE OF QUEBEC
    DISTRICT OF
    MONTREAL
    TOWN OF MONTREAL
    Civil Division

    No:
    500-32-081467-047



    DATE:
    November 16th, 2005
    __________________________________________________ ____________________

    IN THE PRESENCE OF
    THE HONOURABLE
    ANN-MARIE JONES, J.C.Q.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________


    Reghan J. HILL and Jana HILL
    4127 Hampton avenue
    Montreal (Quebec) H4A 2L1
    Plaintiffs
    v.
    Brenda MURRAY
    990, 47e avenue
    Lachine (Quebec) H8T 2R3
    Defendant
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    JUDGEMENT
    __________________________________________________ ____________________

    [1] Plaintiffs are claiming from the defendant the amount of 5 952,51 $ for water infiltration stemming from the main bathroom. The plaintiffs submit that the problem is directly related to the improper installation of the whirlpool bathtub in the main bathroom, which they qualify as a latent defect.

    [2] The defendant contests the claim and submits that water damage to the downstairs hall ceiling, under bathtub was clearly evident and discussed with the plaintiffs and their real estate agent at the time of the sale of the property.

    The facts

    [3] On August 1st, 2003, the plaintiffs bought from the defendant a house situated at 4127 Hampton avenue in Montreal. A pre-purchase inspection of the house was conducted and the owner filled out a three page disclosure form in which the following question is asked: “Have there ever been damages caused by faulty plumbing?”. Answer: “See entrance hall ceiling – bath taps now siliconed and ceiling is dry”. The plaintiffs say the defendant told them that there was no longer any water infiltration. The plaintiffs admit that water damage was apparent at the entrance hall ceiling, but that it was dry at the time the inspection.

    [4] Shortly after moving into the home the plaintiffs experienced water leaking from the bathroom after using the shower. They claim that their pre-purchase inspection could not detect this latent defect. The plaintiffs hired an engineer to know what was the cause of the problem. This expert concluded that the problem was due to the faulty installation of the bathtub resulting from inadequate support around the lip of the bathtub. The plaintiffs also hired a contractor who’s estimate for the reinstallation of the bathtub and repairing of the tiles is 4 600 $.

    [5] The plaintiffs had Mr. Germain Fréchette, engineer, testify concerning his inspection of the bathroom on September 8th, 2003. He concludes that the water leakage problem is directly related to improper or incorrect installation of the whirlpool bathtub. This type of polymer whirlpool bathtub must be supported by a wooden frame around the lip of the bathtub in order to ensure that it does not move. In this case support is only partial permitting movement of the bathtub flange. Consequently, the joint between the bathtub and the wall can never remained sealed, creating an entry point for water. If properly installed the caulking around a bathtub should last ten to twelve years.

    [6] Mr. Fréchette says there was no indication of any water leakage from the bathtub or the plumbing system around or under the bathtub as the plaintiffs have not used the shower for some time. He did not conduct any tests to see if the bathtub moved or not. He states that a pre-purchase inspection could not have revealed this defect and that to inspect underneath the bathtub he had to unscrew two traps in the master bedroom and remove some shelves.

    [7] The defendant states that water damage to the entrance ceiling was evident and that it was discussed with the plaintiffs and their real estate agent. Their inspector could have asked to inspect underneath the bathtub and to have access to the traps, which was never done. Furthermore, the bathroom was renovated in 1998. In January 2001, there was water infiltration due to the caulking around the tabs, which was repaired. After that the defendant says that she did not observe anymore water leakage.

    [8] The defendant had both real estate agents involved in the sale of the house testify. They confirmed that water damage to the ceiling was evident at the time of the purchase of the house.

    [9] The defendant also had Mr. Maruca testify, who was the contractor who installed the bathtub. Mr. Maruca testifies that the bathtub was properly installed and that urethane was put underneath to prevent it from moving. Also, that the bathtub is supported by pieces of wood at the front and the back. Furthermore, he inspected the bathtub on January 20th, 2004, at the request of the defendant and there was no recent water stains. He had the shower run for ten minutes and there was no water leakage. He concludes that there is no indication that the bathtub was improperly installed or that it moves. The caulking around any bathtub should be changed every two or three years.

    Analysis

    [10] The question is whether this defect can be considered as latent. This analysis must be done in regard to section 1726 of the Civil Code which read as follow:
    1726. The seller is bound to warrant the buyer that the property and its accessories are, at the time of the sale, free of latent defects which render it unfit for the use for which it was intended or which so diminish its usefulness that the buyer would not have bought it or paid so high a price if he had been aware of them.
    The seller is not bound, however, to warrant against any latent defect known to the buyer or any apparent defect; an apparent defect is a defect that can be perceived by a prudent and diligent buyer without any need of expert assistance.”

    [11] The motion of prudent and diligent buyer is discussed in the jurisprudence. As stated by the honourable Jacques Lachapelle in Papasian c. Hébert[1] this notion is more exacting than that of a reasonable person:

    “Certaines clauses de jurisprudence parlent de « personnes raisonnables », nous soumettons que l’article 1726 va maintenant plus loin que le concept de « personne raisonnable » et exige que le vendeur soit diligent et prudent. Ainsi celui qui procède à l’examen doit être attentif, actif et poser les questions qui s’imposent concernant l’âge de la bâtisse, la date des réparations, l’objet de ces réparations, etc. ».

    [12] The jurisprudence also states that the prudent and diligent buyer cannot satisfy himself with the answers of the vendor. In the presence of signs as to the presence of a defect, the prudent buyer cannot content himself with the answers of the vendor. He must push his investigation further in order to find out the extent of the defect and the damages. This is what our colleague, the honourable François Marchand, states in the case of Joly c. Courchesne[2]:
    “La jurisprudence enseigne que lorsqu’il existe des symptômes ou des indications laissant soupçonner la présence d’un problème ou d’un vice quelconque, l’acheteur prudent et diligent doit prendre les dispositions qui s’imposent pour connaître la nature exacte de ceux-ci. L’acheteur ne doit pas se contenter uniquement d’un examen visuel sommaire.”

    [13] In the present case, the plaintiffs were accompanied by an inspector during the pre-purchase inspection. Water damage to the entrance ceiling was apparent and they were informed that there had been in the past water leakage from the main bathroom. They therefore knew there was a water infiltration problem but did not push the investigation any further in order to have an idea of the extent of the defect. In so doing, they did not to conduct themselves as prudent and diligent buyers and consequently the water leakage defect cannot be considered as a latent defect.

    [14] Furthermore, the burden was on the plaintiffs to prove that not only had the bathtub been installed incorrectly, but that there was shifting or movement of the bathtub preventing the joint between the bathtub and the wall remaining sealed. This was not proven, as the expert for the plaintiffs conducted no test as to whether the bathtub was stable or not and that the expert for the defendant noticed no water infiltration after having the shower run for ten minutes.

    [15] For these reason, THE COURT;
    [16] DISMISSES the plaintiffs claim without costs.

    Ann-Marie Jones, J.C.Q.

    Date of hearing:
    October 24th, 2005


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Bathtubs

    Nice post Raymond. I did a construction insp last week, client isn't happy with some of the contractor workmanship. One of the issues, fiberglass set in jacuzzi; Unit is raised 1/8 - 3/16 above the finished wood box. Caulk seam along the tile wall keeps coming loose. No caulk around the fiberglass/wood seam at all. Not only is there the movement issue but also water intrusion through the gap into the box cavity.
    Contractor won't return her calls anymore or fix any of the other issues. And yes, he did get his final check.

    www.aic-chicago.com
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    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Bathtubs

    Quote Originally Posted by Bryce Jeffrey View Post
    I am curious as to how many inspectors out there fill the bathtub to the overflow drain?

    Regards:

    Bryce Jeffrey
    If I have access to the underside of the tub and I can view the overflow drain area I will fill it to the overflow. If I can not see the overflow area and everything is enclosed, I do not fill the tub to the overflow.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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