So much of building a house comes down to the details – things that a good builder knows and does, but maybe a less experienced person doesn’t know.  And sometimes of course even a builder who knows the details is just in too much of a hurry to do things right.

So if you’re out looking at houses to buy, what are some of the details you can look for to try to determine if this builder (or renovator, or flipper, or carpenter) did a top-quality job or maybe cut some corners?

Here’s one thing to look for: the escutcheon plate at the toilet water supply pipe.  This pipe usually comes through the wall down low and it often comes right through the baseboard, or maybe just above the baseboard.  But the baseboard usually isn’t flat and so the escutcheon plate can’t sit flat against it.  Like this:

The escutcheon plate doesn’t sit flat against the baseboard.

Or like this:

This isn’t a functional problem.  It isn’t going to cause a leak.  It isn’t going to make the toilet overflow.

But it looks bad.

In a situation like this a good carpenter will interrupt the baseboard with a flat block that the pipe will go through and allow the escutcheon plate to sit flat against it.  Something like this:

Now the escutcheon plate can sit flat against the block.

This is a nice detail that shows the carpenter was knowledgeable and paying attention to the details.  Sometimes I see the baseboard just cut away like this:

I don’t think this solution is quite as good as the flat block, but it’s a lot better than doing nothing and still shows the carpenter is attentive to the details.

So the next time you’re out looking for a house to buy pay attention to this detail to learn a little bit more about the care and attention to detail that went into building the house.

Inspection Overview
Why Get a Home Inspection?

Recent Posts

Chimney Crown

The chimney crown is the concrete (sometimes stone) layer that covers the top of a masonry chimney.  It’s one of those classic “out of sight, out of mind” components of your house, since it’s way

Failure Modes

Last spring I was doing some work to my gutters and downspouts.  I was running a new downspout extension out past the front of my porch to make it easier to maintain.  So I bought

Grease traps

Many of the older cities in the Chicagoland area have combined storm and sanitary sewers, meaning that the rain water drainage is collected through the same pipes as the sewage from houses.  This type of

Nonmetallic Sheathed Cable

Throughout the vast majority of the U.S.A., nonmetallic sheathed cable (NM cable) has been the most common type of residential wiring system since about the early 1950’s.  And it’s had a pretty good track record

Request Inspection

More Posts You May Find Interesting

Chimney Crown

August 30th, 2022|Comments Off on Chimney Crown

The chimney crown is the concrete (sometimes stone) layer that covers the top of a masonry chimney.  It’s one of those classic “out of sight, out of mind” components of your house, since it’s way

Failure Modes

August 30th, 2022|Comments Off on Failure Modes

Last spring I was doing some work to my gutters and downspouts.  I was running a new downspout extension out past the front of my porch to make it easier to maintain.  So I bought

Grease traps

August 30th, 2022|Comments Off on Grease traps

Many of the older cities in the Chicagoland area have combined storm and sanitary sewers, meaning that the rain water drainage is collected through the same pipes as the sewage from houses.  This type of

Nonmetallic Sheathed Cable

August 30th, 2022|Comments Off on Nonmetallic Sheathed Cable

Throughout the vast majority of the U.S.A., nonmetallic sheathed cable (NM cable) has been the most common type of residential wiring system since about the early 1950’s.  And it’s had a pretty good track record

Mold

August 30th, 2022|Comments Off on Mold

I frequently get asked if my inspections include mold testing.  With this blog post I’m going to answer questions about mold and mold testing.  Much of the information here is taken from this document from

Fire Sprinkler Systems

August 30th, 2022|Comments Off on Fire Sprinkler Systems

Fire sprinkler systems are becoming very common in new construction and major remodel projects, and so here’s a brief primer on residential fire sprinkler systems. When it comes to enforcing life safety codes in commercial