Steven L. Smith, Bellingham, WA Home Inspector (King of the House)


Blaine WA Home Inspection (King of the House): These Photos Will Floor You!

 Last night I was writing about floor damage, primarily around tubs and showers. The specific topic had to do with failed caulking. For a simple topic, this garnered a surprising amount of interest as it is a problem everyone sees on occasion or maybe even more often than not. In that blog, I made reference to what I consider to be a poor judgement call -- expensive wood floors in areas where water might end up spoiling them. Personally, I know something about this as a door in my house, from outside, opens onto an oak floor. If I was to do it again, the area in front of the door at the inside would be tile. The photos below I took the other day. They are from an expensive home.

The first one is the result of repeated spillage of water onto the floor through a shower curtain.

The second photo is a closeup view of the same area and there is not only unsightly and warped flooring but actual rot in the floor, at the upper left side.

The last picture is from the same house and, obviously, the laundry tub has had some leaks. This spoiled the floor and not much can be done other than replacing it in that area and that will probably not match well either.

I have friends, in a very nice home on Camano Island, and they have an oak floor in the kitchen. One day the washing machine sprung a leak in an adjacent room, the water ran out to the kitchen, so now they too have a warped floor. They have had, lesser, but similar problems when the garbage disposal backed up and the hose came off. I like hardwood floors, but there is a place and a time for them and it is not in areas where it is probable that, at one point or another, water will spill onto them. They have almost no tolerance for this abuse.



Thanks for coming by.

Bellingham WA home inspector

Steven L. Smith

Steven L. Smith

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Comment balloon 8 commentsSteven L. Smith • January 30 2008 12:01PM


Good post.  It's good to think about when deciding on tile or hardwoods in certain areas
Posted by Clint Haynes (Peoples Home Equity, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

Hi Steven,

I have a rental property that has hardwood floors in most of the areas.  Sometimes, it is difficult to get tenants to be careful with them. 

Posted by Leslie Bloss, Bellevue Real Estate Professional almost 12 years ago

the hardwoods look like they once were really nice.  too bad people don't always notice or care about the water on the floor.  So much damage that could have easily been avoided.

 Fairstone Properties

Posted by Beau Rudzek, Fairstone Properties (Fairstone Properties) almost 12 years ago
Good information. Thank you for sharing and posting pics.
Posted by Melissa Sall, Realtor ~ Belmont County ~ Ohio (Sulek & Dutton Real Estate) almost 12 years ago
This makes me want to change out my hardwoods to tile.  The hardwoods are beautiful, but this is starting to happen in my home!  Besides constantly drying the wood after each shower or bath, is there another way to care for these areas of the home?
Posted by Matthew Ricker (Keller Williams) almost 12 years ago

Thanks for all the interest, all of you.


I do not think there is much you can do other than trying to keep the water off the wood. The other thing, that looks nice, is to remove the wood in those heavy use water areas and put in attractive tile. Tile goes well with a wood floor if done neatly and it beats having to replace the floor. In our wet northwest, especially at entrances, most homes are doing that now to protect the hardwood floors. It could be done in a bath as well.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 12 years ago


I am looking into replacing it with tile.  I'd like to save any wood that I can and put it elsewhere.  The thing I don't like is when you transition from a wood floor to tile and it isn't level. 

Posted by Matthew Ricker (Keller Williams) almost 12 years ago


That can be a problem. It takes careful selection of tile, underlayment, etc. It is easier with new houses where it all goes in at the same time.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 12 years ago