A detail oriented inspector will look at the tub or shower surround, associated tiles, floor areas and caulking. One of the more common maintenance calls by the inspector has to be telling clients to remove the old caulking or grout and install new. Most of the time we suggest this be done to prevent problems down the road, such as rot or other wood destroying organisms. I know some parties do not appreciate this type of inspection call, stating that is alarmist on the part of the inspector.
I disagree. To get my point across, I am posting these photos that I took in the past week. Upstairs I noticed that the tiles did not look so good and they were missing grout. I noted that. I went in the crawl space and when I got beneath this tub and wall, I saw a patch of the ugliest and worst rot I have ever seen. The wood was wet and the color was that dark brown -- like you find if you pass by an old log in the woods. You know what I mean, you take a handful of it and it has reverted to soil, you find sow bugs and fine powdery brown wood that is compost. That is what this section of the home was like. I could not resist posting these two photos because they are great visual examples of the end result of having a long term moisture problem that has been ignored. As some people would say: "How bad can it be." In this case the answer is "pretty bad".
Upstairs view of tub and surround
Immediately below tub, sub floor, sill plate, rim joist have become one
Thanks for the view.
Steven L. Smith
Bellingham Wa. home inspections