We don’t really see this in newer homes, but the DC area has several neighborhoods of homes built in the 1920’s that have a window built into the shower and bath tub area of the bathroom. When I show these homes to clients and we get to the bathrooms in these homes, I pull back the shower curtain and never really know what I might find. I always explain that water from the shower can collect on the window sill if left unprotected and if it sits there it can cause a lot of damage.
So many of these bathrooms have visible mold and wood rot and some clearly have tiles below the window that are about to fall off due to damage to the wall behind the tile. Others look as if they have been freshly caulked and painted and it leaves us wondering if this was just done to get the house on the market or if they always kept it free from water. And we ask whether or not the damage done has been repaired or just covered up quickly.
I was recently viewing a home with some buyer clients of mine and when I pulled back the shower curtain I saw another shower curtain protecting the window. I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I have heard home inspectors recommend this to my clients as a way to prevent water damage, wood rot and mold, yet I think this is only the second time I have seen it in a home.
I immediately took a picture and wanted to share it on my blog. If you are a buyer and looking at older homes, be sure to take a close look at the bathroom window in the shower/tub area and see what you find.
- See if the window sill is clean or covered in mildew or mold.
- Take a look at the caulk and paint around that window and see if it has any soft or rough areas that may be covering up wood rot.
- Tap the tiles below the window and see if they all make the same sound or if a few make a different sound that may indicate the tiles are not secure.
- Be sure to ask your home inspector about this area of the bathroom to see if he or she can see signs of damage.
Finally, if you buy a home with a window in the shower, be sure to protect it with a plastic curtain that prevents the water from getting near the window in the first place.
If you, or someone you know is thinking about buying or selling a home in the DC Metropolitan Area, give me a call to Get Started.