In the first installment of A Healthy House, we looked at water issues. Specifically, water from the outside of the home. Most of this type of water is directly from what the weather refers to as ‘precipitation’, or rain and snow. Even the ground water we looked at were related to rain and snow. There are other types of water issues.
First would be a plumbing problem. You can have a leak in a water pipe, or a sewer line. I know, sewer lines generally do no leak, they slow down, or plug up and then back up. Either way there is water in the house, and someone is cleaning it up.
Many plumbing leaks like this or sewer problems are an ongoing maintenance issue. Not much can be done during construction.
Situations like the drain line, getting stepped on and thus the floor drain is the highest spot in the floor is a construction issue. It takes all the trades to help finish the building correctly. The plumber may have done it right, only to have someone else step on the line.
A nail accidentally driven next to a supply pipe, may cause a problem later. If you have copper, 2 dissimilar metals touching will eventually cause a leak. A nail next to a plastic line that moves, can also create a leak. You may find great work in a home and good, conscientious, plumbers, drywall installers, electricians and others. Sometimes these defects are hidden, like the tip of the nail inside a wall. So maintenance becomes an ongoing effort.
Thoughtful design can help. Specifying hard surfaces for areas within a few feet of tubs, showers, toilets, sinks and laundry facilities is important. Most leaks, spills and accidents will occur in these areas. An easy to clean surface that doesn’t hold the moisture is essential. Carpet has it’s place, just not near water. Some floor coverings such as linoleum or cork type flooring may also not be appropriate for these areas. (Image to the right is courtesy of DalTile.)
Appropriately located floor drains can help. Use of appropriate materials in the floor structure is a good thing. Most homes in this area have a basement, meaning a wooden subfloor is under and of these facilities on the main or upper floors. The proper type of sub floor in these areas is crucial to keeping the home dry. It is also helpful in drying, when the floor does get wet and not encouraging mold growth, as many types of common building materials.
This post is part of a series of posts on A Healthy Home.