Caulking and grouting is typically found in the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry area at connections between the toilet and floor; the bathtub floor and wall; the shower floor and wall; and sink back splash and counter tops. Deteriorated or cracked caulking or grouting can allow moisture to penetrate into structural framing, causing water damage (rot) or promoting the growth of mold. It is impossible to tell how long deteriorated grouting or caulking has existed, and moisture might have penetrated subject areas and caused damage which is not visible and can only be determined by remodeling/renovation or destructive testing.
Before deteriorated grouting or caulking is repaired, the substructure should be examined for evidence of structural damage or deterioration. While re-caulking and re-grouting normally is not a cause for concern, and homeowner maintenance typically is to be applauded, in today's world of mold disclosure and mold claims, the reason behind re-caulking/re-grouting is that moisture penetration into the structural framing might have occurred, possibly causing structural damage or promoting mold growth. Remodeling or removal of shower and/or bathtub sections could indicate moisture damage or structural damage that was concealed at the time of the inspection. I do my best to inspect your sub flooring under the kitchen and bathrooms when fully exposed, but finished basements with concealed defects are not within the scope of my home inspection. So if you decide to remove any tiles, bathtubs, basins or toilets, expect to find wood damage from over the past years.
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