ceiling stains

These stains are on the living room ceiling directly below the master bathroom. The tub was filled with water and drained, the sinks were run for 20 minutes, the stall shower was run for 20 minutes, and the toilet was flushed 5 times. After all of that the stains were found to be dry - no other indication of leaks.

Do you:

  1. just mention dry stains on the ceiling and report your inspection method.
  2. Call for more testing, as there are no signs of repairs.
  3. As for a seller written disclosure.
  4. State that there is no guarantee against future leaks due to no visible repairs.

My feeling is that the tub is not being used and may be the culprit. Filling it up once may not be enough to detect any stains. How would you guys write this up.

Defiantly number one,but how was the caulk around the tub area and back splashes?

Was the grout sealed?

Did you test the over flow. (of course not)

Recommend a Licensed and certified Plumber inspect and make any repairs if needed .

When in doubt, I explain everything as you just did to us Bill.

Remember the above I mentioned could still be an issue that is active and occurs under circumstances you did not recreate.

All of the above, with the plumber recommendation include this could have been a one time over flow problem with no defects. Definitely get seller disclosure in writing.

Do you cover shower drain so pan fills with 2-3 inches of water and let sit. Then check floor at adjoining rooms floor with moisture meter.

I would keep number 3 out of it as Seller disclosure has no bearing or interest from our side of it.

Number 4 means nothing with out fact ,opinion and guidance.

Bob -Did not test the overflow. It would have taken another 30 minutes to fill this tub. By the way, I usually do test the overflow.

Ed - I did not fill shower pan and let it sit. Usually 20 minutes of running water will show any leak. Wanted to test under normal conditions. There were no stains in any adjoining rooms. Probably would not find any, as this shower is located on the second floor.

Bob - we are going to disagree here. I think that the sellers disclosure does have a bearing on this issue. Just because we cannot re-create the problem does not mean it does not exist. What happens of our client takes a bath ever night and on the third or fourth night the leak reappears. IF the seller knew about this, they need to disclose it. Perhaps that is why they are not using the tub (FYI - the shower looks like it gets regular use).

In the real world you cant count on or prove the sellers ever knew anything.

How do you test it?

There is a moisture stain on the LOCATION(rooms-interior) ceiling, which you should ask the sellers to explain or have explored further. The stain was dry at the time of the inspection.

Interior: Moisture staining
LOCATION(S): SE bedroom.
There is a water-stain on the ceiling that appear to be the result of water intrusion, possibly from interior plumbing fixtures or water lines. There is no indication that the stains are the result of active leaks. It is unknown how these have affected unseen areas, and whether or not there could be structural damage caused by rot. Recommendation:
n Confirm from seller if the stains are related to a previously repaired problem or
n Regular homeowner monitoring & maintenance- determining and eliminating source of moisture stains and repair or replacement, as necessary or
n Obtain evaluation for the source of the moisture by an appropriate contractor and repair as appropriate.

“There were stains visible on the ceiling below the master bathroom. After plumbing fixtures in the master bathroom were operated, moisture meter testing showed no elevated levels of moisture in the stained drywall at the time of the inspection.
The inspector saw no defects which could be identified as current sources of leakage. Stains appeared to be from past leakage from a source which has been corrected.”

Since the home inspection is not a warranty, you are not responsible for future leakage which occurs only under certain conditions which didn’t exist at the time of the inspection. You ran the water, you tested for elevated moisture levels afterward… you did your job.
If you can show a reason that the tub might leak if used more often, then you should give that reason in your report.

In Colorado, the disclosure is not my business, I’m happy to look at them, but sellers typically fudge them all they can and then claim they didn’t know. If they fail to disclose, that’s against the law and not my area. I usually don’t say anything about disclosures in my reports, the buyer’s agent should explain them to the buyer.

I don’t test overflows or know any inspectors who do. I examine them for corrosion under sinks.

The stains could have been caused by a water splashed out of the tub, or having water run over the lip.

In one plaster repair case I did, we found an intermittent leak when the tub was allowed to fill up to the point of the overflow valve. The overflow valve had a minor leak.

In any case, it is inconclusive. Bears further investigation.

Philip LaMachio