Jim's Blog


The Only thing between the Subfloor and certain Destruction

Bathtub joint on a home inspection in Salem, Oregon Places that water is present are generally layered.  If one layer of protection fails there will be a second to prevent damage.  This is true of properly constructed roofing and exterior components but not the other area in the home that sees a lot of water: the bathroom.

  The seam between the bathtub and the flooring is especially vulnerable and is sealed with a flexible caulk.  The subfloor is usually an engineered particle board and can be very sensitive to water exposure.  The purpose of the caulk seam is to try to seal this joint as the two different materials move independently.  The more water the seam sees the more likely it will open up, and particle board acts like a sponge that expands as soon as it is exposed to moisture. 

  I see grout used between the tub and the floor often, on home inspections, but it is not a very good solution.  The tub is made of a different material and the grout will fracture and break.

  Caulking is the best but it will need to be maintained.  That means when it fails the caulk should be removed and a new, fresh seal should be applied.  Seriously, when the caulking joint opens up, it is time to get in there with the razor blade and remove the old caulk.  This should be done before damage to the flooring occurs.

  Do not put this little maintenance item off unless you want some major changes to the flooring.  If you want a comprehensive list of things in your home that you "ought to get around to," in the Salem, Oregon area, call me.

Jim Allhiser President/Inspector
503.508.4321         jallhiser@perfectioninspectioninc.com

"Always on the cutting edge"

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Comment balloon 6 commentsJim Allhiser • March 13 2009 03:26PM


Jim - I see this problem in SO many homes that I do consultations on -- people do not perform this easy maintenance item.  One other point -- not all caulk is created equal.  There are tubes of caulk that are $2 and others that are $5.  For showers/tubs I really recommend the "splurge" and buying the mold resistant and more expensive caulking -- it is worth it! 

Posted by Margaret Oscilia, Home Stager, Salem Oregon (Creative Concepts-Home Staging and Contracting, Salem Oregon) over 11 years ago

Jim, good info to pass along.


Posted by Tad Petersen / Home Inspector, Mpls (Safeguard Home Inspections, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Margaret:  Great point and please remember DO NOT use 100% silicone if you are going to paint!

Tad:  Thanks for the comment.

Posted by Jim Allhiser, Salem, Oregon Home Inspector (Perfection Inspection, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Uh-oh--that looks like my bathtub. 

Posted by League City, TX - Worrell Team, REALTORS, GRI, CNE (RE/MAX 1st Class) over 11 years ago

Jimbo, that's good info but you are hurting me. If people take your advice in my area, Myrtle Beach SC, then there won't be enough moisture to encourage termites to attack, haha! Moisture problems and termites go hand in hand, this is great advice to avoid conducive conditions for termite infestation.

Posted by Matt McLaughlin (The Pest Force) over 11 years ago

Great post, Thanks.

Posted by Jean Terry (Keller Williams Realty Spartanburg, S.C.) over 11 years ago