An unsteady commode could mean trouble down below!

Home Inspector with Aldrich's Home Inspections, Inc.

As a Washington State licensed home and structural pest inspector, a standard part of my bathroom inspection protocol is to test whether or not the commode (a.k.a. water closet, toilet, throne, lavatory, latrine, john or potty) is properly secured to the floor. 

On a recent inspection in Sequim, WA, I found a loose water closet in the master bathroom. At first glance, the flooring around the toilet looked okay-that is, it wasn't discolored. However, after taking a closer look, I noticed the floor directly around the base of the throne did have a bit of a wave to it. A quick swipe of my moisture meter began to confirm my suspicion that the lavatory might be leaking at the wax seal and that the subfloor around the base of the latrine was wet under the vinyl flooring material.

My suspicions were completely confirmed when I inspected the drain pipe under the john from the crawlspace. As you can see from the photos below, the wax ring is leaking enough "yuck" to create a small puddle on the vapor barrier.

At this point, I recommend a licensed plumber and/or contractor remove the potty, and then further evaluate the flooring and substructure materials below it to determine the extent of the damages and what repairs need to be made.

This is a great example of why it's a good idea to have regular maintenance inspections on your home. After all, how often do you go down below your home to look for potential problems?


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Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector


I hope all is going well up here in Bellingham.

Mar 10, 2011 03:50 PM #1
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Jason Aldrich

Sequim, WA Home Inspector
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