There’s an old saying among remodelers: Walls are built to cover the misdeeds of those who came before us. Okay, that’s not an old saying—we just made it up—but it should be. During tear-out remodels, we just so often find that the homeowners’ walls have been hiding mistakes left by previous contractors. Some of these mistakes are more laughable than concerning, but others can be serious, rotting away at the value, safety, and very structures of your home.
When doing a major remodel, an added bonus is that you can discover and repair hidden problems before they make themselves known in big, ugly, and more expensive ways. A remodeler isn’t trying to rake you over the coals when they show you what they’ve found. On the contrary, we feel it’s unethical not to show you the issues and explain to you the benefits of fixing them, if not the risks of leaving them be. Here are just a few of the more problematic issues that are exposed during tear-outs:
Plumber flooring. Plumbers don’t actually do flooring, of course, but their work can affect your floor if they’re not careful when notching joists to accommodate for pipes. Reckless notching can compromise the stability of joists, a problem you’ll get to see in action if you try to install a new tile floor over a notch-happy plumber’s handiwork. (You can almost hear the tiles cracking now.
Waterless bathing. We’re pretty sure this type of bathing was never in fashion, but you have to wonder when you see the lack of waterproofing around many showers and tubs, especially older ones. Yet it’s not just the old installations that fall short. Sometimes the waterproofing of modern installations falls short and can lead to leaks and structural deterioration. (Hello, dread mold.)
Duct (don’t) work. A bathroom without a fan is no bueno. If you are nodding in agreement with one eye on that awesome fan in your bathroom, hold on. Do you know where and how it’s venting? When we get to peeling back the skin on a bathroom, we sometimes find that fans have been installed without ducts! More often, we find ducts that are venting moist air into the attic or even the basement. (That’s no bueno, too.)
From corroded plumbing to mangled wall-studs, there are plenty of other potential issues lurking behind your walls and under your floors. Most aren’t going to be the end of the world or even the end of your savings account. On the contrary, you’ll probably be among the lucky ones who can make repairs when repairs are still manageable. Finding those hidden problems is just one of the hidden benefits of doing a major remodel!