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  1. #1
    Chris Skoczylas's Avatar
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    Default Concealed Fouling Areas

    I went to a party over the weekend at another home inspectors house. He had just had his kitchen remodeled, with new granite counter tops. I mentioned that his new recessed sink and overhanging counter top did not meet code because of the concealed fouling area. Him and another inspector at the party said they had never heard of this. I mentioned that the Code Check Plumbing had a picture just like his sink installation and the concealed fouling area.
    I have seen the same type installation in several high end homes with granite/cultured stone counter tops. I just saw the same installation in a restaurant bathroom.
    How many of you are seeing this type of installation and how are you writing it up?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Skoczylas View Post
    I went to a party over the weekend at another home inspectors house. He had just had his kitchen remodeled, with new granite counter tops. I mentioned that his new recessed sink and overhanging counter top did not meet code because of the concealed fouling area. Him and another inspector at the party said they had never heard of this. I mentioned that the Code Check Plumbing had a picture just like his sink installation and the concealed fouling area.
    I have seen the same type installation in several high end homes with granite/cultured stone counter tops. I just saw the same installation in a restaurant bathroom.
    How many of you are seeing this type of installation and how are you writing it up?
    That's not a concealed fouling area.

    This is what the IRC says about fixtures: (bold and underlining are mine:
    - P2701.1 Quality of fixtures. Plumbing fixtures, faucets and fixture fittings shall be constructed of approved materials, shall have smooth impervious surfaces, shall be free from defects and concealed fouling surfaces, and shall conform to the standards cited in this code. Plumbing fixtures shall be provided with an adequate supply of potable water to flush and keep the fixtures in a clean and sanitary condition without danger of backflow or cross connection.

    A "concealed fouling surface" would be like one I saw several years ago on a high end, designer designed, lavatory where the drain was hidden by a polished stainless steel projection in a polished stainless steel lavatory and the water drained down to the hidden and concealed drain ... there was no way to remove that hiding projecting piece and no way to clean the bottom of the lavatory or the underside of that projecting piece.

    I wrote that one up.

    What you are describing is just an overhang which can readily and easily be seen and cleaned on its underside, heck, it can even be cleaned without seeing it.


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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    If you look on page 25, Fig. 72, of Code Check Plumbing Second Edition (2004) it shows a picture of the exact type of installation and call it a concealed fouling area. IRC 2701.1 UPC 401.1


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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Skoczylas View Post
    If you look on page 25, Fig. 72, of Code Check Plumbing Second Edition (2004) it shows a picture of the exact type of installation and call it a concealed fouling area. IRC 2701.1 UPC 401.1
    I don't use the Code Check books, there have been, and probably still are, errors in them - I would not rest my case on the Code Check books.

    Read the code I posted, the IRC 2701.1 you refer to.

    The underside of the rim of every water closet would be a "concealed fouling surface" if that were the case, and, as such, would not be allowed - every water closet would not be allowed to be installed as designed and approved.

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Never thought about this before. Here is what the NC Plumbing Code says...

    2009 NC Plumbing Code
    Definition:
    CONCEALED FOULING SURFACE.
    Any surface of a plumbing fixture which is not readily visible and is not scoured or cleansed with each fixture operation.

    ******
    Code Reference:
    402.1 Quality of fixtures.


    Plumbing fixtures shall be constructed of approved materials, with smooth, impervious surfaces,
    free from defects and concealed fouling surfaces, and shall conform to standards cited in this code.


    ******

    Are you saying that the bottom of the countertop is a concealed fouling surface?




    Last edited by James Duffin; 06-01-2011 at 04:16 AM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Am i missing something here? i dont see a picture. I am behind the times, I am not sure waht a concealed fouling area is, or maybe I know it by a different name. Any schooling would be appreciated. Thanks


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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by MARVIN TOWNSEN View Post
    Am i missing something here? i dont see a picture. I am behind the times, I am not sure waht a concealed fouling area is, or maybe I know it by a different name. Any schooling would be appreciated. Thanks
    This would be one:
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    A "concealed fouling surface" would be like one I saw several years ago on a high end, designer designed, lavatory where the drain was hidden by a polished stainless steel projection in a polished stainless steel lavatory and the water drained down to the hidden and concealed drain ... there was no way to remove that hiding projecting piece and no way to clean the bottom of the lavatory or the underside of that projecting piece.


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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Ahh so basically an in-accessible ptrap? Never mind i see what your talking about, just had to do a little research thanks

    Last edited by MARVIN TOWNSEN; 05-31-2011 at 09:11 PM. Reason: learning.

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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Unconcealed fowling area - the parts you can see from the road.

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Here's a picture of what I'm talking about.

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Unconcealed fowling area - the parts you can see from the road.
    Not if you use camouflage and duck (duct) tape


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Skoczylas View Post
    Here's a picture of what I'm talking about.
    But that area is accesible? How could it foul. I understand what Jerry said (i think) the drain was covered for cosmetics, but you could not remove the cover for cleaning? Therefore foulable (correct or incorrect???) I have seen inspections that require areas to be sealed for sanitation reasons, but i have never heard of it called foulable areas. Thanks for any and all info rob


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    I believe this is another one of those things I'm not going to be too concerned about.


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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I don't use the Code Check books, there have been, and probably still are, errors in them - I would not rest my case on the Code Check books.

    Read the code I posted, the IRC 2701.1 you refer to.

    The underside of the rim of every water closet would be a "concealed fouling surface" if that were the case, and, as such, would not be allowed - every water closet would not be allowed to be installed as designed and approved.
    No. The underside rim of a toilet bowl although concealed (not readily visible) and is a surface (china) that IS Scoured or cleansed with every fixture operation (flush) via those outlets for fresh water from the tank which scour and cleanse the concealed (not readily visible) surface under the rim with every fixture operation (flush); therefore the under rim area of a watercloset bowl or toilet bowl it is NOT a "concealed fouling surface".

    The OP has a valid point, in many undermount sinks on the market, especially with undercut surface openings and incorrect installations esp. in food preparation areas (sinks which are frequently filled and which don't have overflows) are IMPROPERLY INSTALLED, so as to create a concealed fouling surface.

    A larger/deeper sink perhaps not, as one could bend one's head in the sink (such as one might if washing one's hair) and turn one's head and visulaize all areas except the back side/faucet side undercut/overhang lip without using any special tool, etc. (mirror, ladder, step stool, etc.) to visualize the surfaces - its those that have dont have an integral deck for mounting faucets - where the back overhang cannot be visualized and mounted faucets (back lip) on the counter surface, and those too small, narrow, or shallow) which even that cannot be done.

    Rarely will you find a PLUMBER working for and through a PLUMBING CONTRACTOR, having had performed the actual installation and hookup for such a fixture - you generally find even if the rough-in was done by a plumber - the fixture & faucets have been installed by a "kitchen remodel contractor" a "DIYer", a "Handyman" or the "Countertop fabricator/subcontractor" when delivered and installed. IME you rarely find the "installation" was done under or by an actual licensed plumber when you find this condition.

    Recessed - no shouldn't see unless sink itself wasn't approved; -- undermount type, perhaps. Check for approvals/reports AND review installation INSTRUCTIONS - you'll find most of the time - they were not followed, including the size of the opening (usually tracing of the inverted upon the top side or a templet) was not followed, the form of mounting, and/or a flange, fitting, part, or accessory, or additional not supplied element/instruction installation step, was required and not employed.

    If some AHJs are overlooking this, well it wouldn't be the first time. Heck how many years have we read lamentations from Texas HIs on how various AHJs "overlooked" required sediment traps on gas lines from drops prior to furnace and storage type NG gas fired water heater's valves?

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 06-01-2011 at 11:04 AM.

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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Note to self......do not invite Chris to any parties at my house.

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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    This is really sad.
    1. Someone has a party, and invited other home inspectors.
    2. They have nothing better to do than "talk shop".


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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    This is really sad.
    1. Someone has a party, and invited other home inspectors.
    2. They have nothing better to do than "talk shop".
    Well, the Coyotes were 0 for 4 in the playoffs ***. I can understand they wouldn't want to talk hockey.

    Chris, we're just funnin with you. It is a legitimate issue, and high-end doesn't mean sanitary, by any means.

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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Technical discussion, technical area doesn't deserve all this off-topic banter and wasted space full of hockey statistics.

    It is a legitimate issue, and although confusingly first described ("recessed" not undermounted), is a valid issue.

    It is unfortunate that some have spouted off who don't know what a "concealed fouling surface" is and is not.

    The OP is correct in what the issue may be depending on the installation. We do not know about the specifics of the sink he viewed.

    Readily viewable is the code definition for use of the word "concealed" by itself.

    The term "concealed fouling surface" has a definition all its own. It is and has been uniform amonst the various model codes for many decades. It is further defined amongst the standards for fixtures, appartunances, and appliances, to which the model codes refer.

    This may or may not be more rigorsly enforced in a single family home vs. one in which more aggressive inspection/enforcement, such as a shared system for condos, apartments; a family day care home, a home in which there are employees (such as housekeepers, nanny, cooks, etc.) one in which there is a buisness use (home office, vistors to the business operations, even if just the occasional accountant visit, etc.), etc. Or one in which requires regular sanitary inspection - say commercial food preparation certificate, etc. or a home on a private water supply and private sanitary system, not caught, and not enforced (especially if no PERMIT for the plumbing modifications, etc.); But it is still an "issue" for private and public heath if even for just the family who occupies the home and the potential contamination of the water supply and the general health spread of disease with those that come into contact with the parties who are exposed/carriers/ill.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 06-01-2011 at 11:11 AM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Technical discussion, technical area doesn't deserve all this off-topic banter and wasted space full of hockey statistics.

    It is a legitimate issue, and although confusingly first described ("recessed" not undermounted), is a valid issue.

    It is unfortunate that some have spouted off who don't know what a "concealed fouling surface" is and is not.

    The OP is correct in what the issue may be depending on the installation. We do not know about the specifics of the sink he viewed.

    Readily viewable is the code definition for use of the word "concealed" by itself.

    The term "concealed fouling surface" has a definition all its own. It is and has been uniform amonst the various model codes for many decades. It is further defined amongst the standards for fixtures, appartunances, and appliances, to which the model codes refer.

    This may or may not be more rigorsly enforced in a single family home vs. one in which more aggressive inspection/enforcement, such as a shared system for condos, apartments; a family day care home, a home in which there are employees (such as housekeepers, nanny, cooks, etc.) one in which there is a buisness use (home office, vistors to the business operations, even if just the occasional accountant visit, etc.), etc. Or one in which requires regular sanitary inspection - say commercial food preparation certificate, etc. or a home on a private water supply and private sanitary system, not caught, and not enforced (especially if no PERMIT for the plumbing modifications, etc.); But it is still an "issue" for private and public heath if even for just the family who occupies the home and the potential contamination of the water supply and the general health spread of disease with those that come into contact with the parties who are exposed/carriers/ill.
    As I understand it the only correction would be to fill it with an approved sealant? It seems to me proper cleansing of the sink would solve the problem. so basically this code is basically covering poor hygiene?


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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    No. The underside rim of a toilet bowl although concealed (not readily visible) and is a surface (china) that IS Scoured or cleansed with every fixture operation (flush) via those outlets for fresh water from the tank which scour and cleanse the concealed (not readily visible) surface under the rim with every fixture operation (flush); therefore the under rim area of a watercloset bowl or toilet bowl it is NOT a "concealed fouling surface".
    I have not seen a single toilet bowl where the water from those holes "scours and cleans" THE UNDERSIDE OF THE RIM ... down and around the bowl, yes.

    If you want THE UNDERSIDE OF THE RIM cleaned, then watch all those toilet cleaning commercials for ways to accomplish that: special angled brushes; special angled toilet cleaner bottle nozzles; special ... you get the picture ... the toilet does not do it, the operator/housekeep/maid does it.

    The drawing the original poster posted is a cutesy drawing, unfortunately, that drawing does not show what is required - that is required to be SEALED at that joint, and if sealed properly then those cartoony characters would not be there, and the surface could easily be cleaned.

    Let's see, let's take a regular toilet, and the INSIDE SURFACE of the rim (not to mention the underside of the rim), you say that you have toilet which scour and clean that? My gawd, man, no wonder your toilets are spraying water 6 feet around the toilet whenever it is flushed.

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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    What you don't know about plumbing and plumbing terminology could fill an ocean.scour OR clean not AND, lets get our articles straight.Scour does not mean scrub.When a DW pipe is scoured or a fixture is scoured or cleaned it is not brushed or scrubed. Can't be sure if you're trying to be funny or truly without a clue.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    This is really sad.
    1. Someone has a party, and invited other home inspectors.
    2. They have nothing better to do than "talk shop".
    Sounds smart to me, now its a business meeting and a tax deduction


  23. #23

    Thumbs up Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by MARVIN TOWNSEN View Post
    Sounds smart to me, now its a business meeting and a tax deduction
    Where is the like button?....

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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    What you don't know about plumbing and plumbing terminology could fill an ocean.scour OR clean not AND, lets get our articles straight.Scour does not mean scrub.When a DW pipe is scoured or a fixture is scoured or cleaned it is not brushed or scrubed. Can't be sure if you're trying to be funny or truly without a clue.
    My lack of knowledge would drown in your lack of knowledge (your ocean is so much larger ) ... show me a toilet which does EITHER for the rim of the toilet. Then show me where ALL approved toilets do that (I'm allowing you to start off easy with just 'one', then you can progress to 'all').

    The surfaces shown in the drawing. The rim openings are to 'wash' THE BOWL, not the rim surfaces.

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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    No one but you suggested otherwise.

    The inside nor the top of the rim is concealed from view. Only the underside is and it (the underside) of the rim is NOT a concealed fouling surface, IT is scoured or cleaned with every fixture operation, as it is flushed with the unfouled water which further scours or cleans and refills the boiwl post evacuation, via ports in same.


  26. #26

    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Skoczylas View Post
    Here's a picture of what I'm talking about.
    ...so in 5th grade english what is the consensus? Are undermount sinks a violoation of the code? what would make an undermount sink qualify.

    I mean no matter how you slice it there is always going to be some kind of cavity in there. Plus the underside of the counter (e.g., granite or other) is not polished so it is pourus and coarse.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by champainspectionnews View Post
    ...so in 5th grade english what is the consensus? Are undermount sinks a violoation of the code? what would make an undermount sink qualify.

    I mean no matter how you slice it there is always going to be some kind of cavity in there. Plus the underside of the counter (e.g., granite or other) is not polished so it is pourus and coarse.
    1. Seems to me its up for interpretation, therefore up for debate.

    2. DONT DO YOUR DISHES IN THE TOILET


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    China sinks are available with glazed or non- glazed rims, glazed rims are used when portions might be in view. Most plumbing codes requires fixtures and trims to be sealed, most times they are caulked in place. The caulking should cover the entire underside of the unsealed surface. Water closets are glazed on the underside of the rims and are Exposed, not concealed from view.


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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Now I can't drink out of the sink either? Guess I'll just have to use that under-the -rim brush thingy on my sink also.


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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Ask me if I care?

    Do you really think a home purchaser would give a hoot? What will they do tear out the counter top and sink?

    The simple solution is running a dish cloth with soap and a bit of javex up under the rim!
    Its called good house keeping.

    Oh look the underside of the toilet seat is splattered with feces and urine stains! Gee does the code cover that too? Oooops I am not buying the house that is a deal blower!


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Ask me if I care?

    Do you really think a home purchaser would give a hoot? What will they do tear out the counter top and sink?

    The simple solution is running a dish cloth with soap and a bit of javex up under the rim!
    Its called good house keeping.

    Oh look the underside of the toilet seat is splattered with feces and urine stains! Gee does the code cover that too? Oooops I am not buying the house that is a deal blower!
    Problem is poursis, unsealed areas, especially in food preparation areas become breading grounds for bacteria spreading illnesses.


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Thompson View Post
    Problem is poursis, unsealed areas, especially in food preparation areas become breading grounds for bacteria spreading illnesses.
    So dont put a toilet in your kitchen and your ok I may be wrong but it sounds like concealed fouling areas could be anywhere there are conditions for bacteria growth in any plumbing situation, toilet, bath lavatory, bath tub, wash basin in laundry room? Or is it just for food prep areas?


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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by MARVIN TOWNSEN View Post
    I may be wrong but it sounds like concealed fouling areas could be anywhere there are conditions for bacteria growth in any plumbing situation, toilet, bath lavatory, bath tub, wash basin in laundry room? Or is it just for food prep areas?
    Nope, you are not wrong, it is not just food preparation areas, it is applicable to all plumbing fixtures.

    I just used the toilet example as it was the first one which came to mind which had a lip which projects out over the bowl and has a concealed return surface on its underside (a return surface which I guess I need to enlarge and make my arrows more specifically pointed to the surface for Watson to understand and comprehend ).

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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Bacteria is everywhere, has been since the dawn of time. It soley doesn't reside in bathrooms. And it just doesn't reside in concealed areas.


  35. #35
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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by MARVIN TOWNSEN View Post
    So dont put a toilet in your kitchen and your ok I may be wrong but it sounds like concealed fouling areas could be anywhere there are conditions for bacteria growth in any plumbing situation, toilet, bath lavatory, bath tub, wash basin in laundry room? Or is it just for food prep areas?
    Applies to ALL plumbing fixtures, implying concealed areas. Codes also dictate acceptable materials allowed.


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    Default Re: Concealed Fouling Areas

    I'ma couple years late reading this thread, but I do have some comments. The basic definition of “Concealed Fouling Surface” is “Anysurface of a plumbing fixture which is not readily visible and is notscoured or cleansed with each fixture operation.” I am agreementwith the people that believe that the idiot that decided to put ahole in the granite countertop that was smaller than the sinkunderneath created a code violation. As one person mentioned, thesurface under the overhang is visible if you stand on your head inthe sink like you were washing your hair or use a mirror, That isn't“readily visible”. The underside of the countertop is aconcealed fouling surface. One guy says you can clean it even if youcan't see it, well the definition says “readily visible” not“readily cleaned”. I have seen many kitchen sinks that are underthe granite countertop and every one I've seen, the inside edge ofthe granite is at the top radius point of the sink edge, the seambetween the granite and the sink is visible from the top and theseinstallations are code compliant. The same contractor moves to thebathroom lavatory and has this huge brain fart, If he builds it thethe same way he built the kitchen, he would be code compliant. Butno, he makes the hole in the countertop smaller than the sink todeliberately create the concealed fouling surface up under the lip ofthe countertop. Not code compliant.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I'ma couple years late reading this thread, but I do have some comments. The basic definition of “Concealed Fouling Surface” is “Anysurface of a plumbing fixture which is not readily visible and is notscoured or cleansed with each fixture operation.” I am agreementwith the people that believe that the idiot that decided to put ahole in the granite countertop that was smaller than the sinkunderneath created a code violation. As one person mentioned, thesurface under the overhang is visible if you stand on your head inthe sink like you were washing your hair or use a mirror, That isn't“readily visible”. The underside of the countertop is aconcealed fouling surface. One guy says you can clean it even if youcan't see it, well the definition says “readily visible” not“readily cleaned”. I have seen many kitchen sinks that are underthe granite countertop and every one I've seen, the inside edge ofthe granite is at the top radius point of the sink edge, the seambetween the granite and the sink is visible from the top and theseinstallations are code compliant. The same contractor moves to thebathroom lavatory and has this huge brain fart, If he builds it thethe same way he built the kitchen, he would be code compliant. Butno, he makes the hole in the countertop smaller than the sink todeliberately create the concealed fouling surface up under the lip ofthe countertop. Not code compliant.


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