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ACOUSTICAL SEALANT CHOICES
AGE of a BUILDING - how to determine
AIR POLLUTANTS, COMMON INDOOR
AIR LEAK SEALING PROCEDURE
AIR TEST FOR MOLD: ACCURACY
AIR TEST SAMPLING CASSETTE STUDY
ALLERGEN TESTS for BUILDINGS
ALLERGENS in BUILDINGS, RECOGNIZING
ALLERGY & MOLD IAQ PRODUCTS
ALLERGY TESTS for PEOPLE
ALLERGY TEST ACCURACY
ANIMAL ALLERGENS / PET DANDER
ANTI SCALD VALVES
APPLIANCE DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
APPLIANCE EFFICIENCY RATINGS
ARCHITECTURE & BUILDING COMPONENT ID
ASBESTOS IDENTIFICATION IN BUILDINGS
ROOF ICE DAM LEAKS
BASEMENT CEILING VAPOR BARRIER
BASEMENT HEAT LOSS
BATH & KITCHEN DESIGN GUIDE
BATH & KITCHEN ASSOCIATIONS, PRODUCT SOURCES
BATHROOM DESIGN, ACCESSIBLE
BATHROOM VENTILATION DESIGN
CABINETS & COUNTERTOP DEFECTS
CABINET CHOICES, Bath / Kitchen
CEMENT BACKERBOARD Installation
COUNTERTOPS, KITCHEN & BATH
FAUCETS, Kitchen & Bathroom
FLOOR DESIGN, Kitchen & Bathroom
FLOOR ENGINEERED WOOD & LAMINATES
FLOOR FRAMING & SUBFLOOR for TILE
FLOOR, STONE, GRANITE, MARBLE, AGGLOMERATE
FLOOR TILE, CERAMIC for K & B
FLOOR TILE SEALERS, CERAMIC, STONE
FLOOR TILE INSTALL on CONCRETE
FLOOR TILE SETTING COMPOUNDS
GROUT INSTALLATION, TILE
KITCHEN CABINET DESIGN Guide
KITCHEN DESIGN PRINCIPLES
KITCHEN DESIGN, ACCESSIBLE
KITCHEN LAYOUTS, Typical
KITCHEN VENTILATION DESIGN
SPAS WHIRLPOOLS SOAKING & JETTED TUBS
SPA WHIRLPOOL & JETTED TUB INSTALLATION
TILE INSTALLATION DETAILS
TOILET TYPES, Design Choices
TOILET INSTALLATION PROCEDURES
TUBS & Tub/Shower Units
BEST CONSTRUCTION PRACTICES GUIDE
Best Interior Finish Practices
BLOWER DOORS & AIR INFILTRATION
BOOKSTORE - INTERIORS
BRICK LINED WALLS
BRICK VENEER WALL AIR LEAKS
BRICK VENEER WALL LOOSE, BULGED
BRICK WALL DRAINAGE WEEP HOLES
BUCKLED FOUNDATIONS due to INSULATION?
BUILDING DAMAGE ASSESSMENT & REPAIR
BUILDING SAFETY HAZARDS GUIDE
BUILDING NOISE DIAGNOSIS & CURE
CABINETS & COUNTERTOPS
CARPETING & INDOOR AIR QUALITY
CARPETING, SELECTION & INSTALLATION
CASEWORK, CABINETS, SHELVING INSTALLATION
CATHEDRAL CEILING INSULATION
CATHEDRAL CEILING VENTILATION
CEILING FINISHES INTERIOR
CEILINGS, DROP or SUSPENDED PANEL
CEILINGS & WALLS, PLASTER TYPES
CERAMIC TILE FLOOR, WALL
CERAMIC TILE, ASBESTOS in?
CHIMNEY INSPECTION DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
CHINESE DRYWALL HAZARDS
CLOGGED DRAIN DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
COMBUSTION AIR for TIGHT BUILDINGS
CONDENSATION or SWEATING PIPES, TANKS
COOLING LOAD REDUCTION by ROOF VENTS
DEW POINT CALCULATION for WALLS
DRYWALL HAZARDS, CHINESE
DRYWALL INSTALLATION Best Practices
DRYWALL MOLD TESTING
DRYWALL MOLD RESISTANT
EARTHQUAKE DAMAGED FOUNDATIONS
EFFLORESCENCE SALTS & WHITE DEPOSITS
ELDERLY & VETERANS HOME SAFETY
ELECTRICAL INSPECTION, DIAGNOSIS, REPAIR
ENGINEERED WOOD Flooring
ENGINEERED WOOD Products
EXTERIOR WALL SIDING TRIM & FINISHES
FLAT ROOF MOISTURE & CONDENSATION
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FLOOR TYPES & DEFECTS
FOOTING & FOUNDATION DRAINS
FOUNDATION CRACKS & DAMAGE GUIDE
FRAMING DETAILS for BETTER INSULATION
FREEZE-PROOF A BUILDING
FROST HEAVES, FOUNDATION, SLAB
FUNGICIDAL SPRAY & SEALANT USE GUIDE
GAS EXPOSURE LIMITS & STANDARDS
HEAT LOSS in BUILDINGS
HEATING COST SAVINGS METHODS
HOT ROOF DESIGNS: UN-VENTED ROOF SOLUTIONS
HOT WATER HEATERS
HOUSEWRAP AIR & VAPOR BARRIERS
HOUSE DOCTOR, how-to be
HUMIDITY LEVEL TARGET
ROOF ICE DAM LEAKS
INDOOR AIR QUALITY & HOUSE TIGHTNESS
INDOOR AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT GUIDE
INSULATION INSPECTION & IMPROVEMENT
KIT HOMES, Aladdin, Sears, Wards, Others
KITCHEN & BATH DESIGN GUIDE
LIGHTING, EXTERIOR GUIDE
LIGHTING, INTERIOR GUIDE
LIGHTNING PROTECTION SYSTEMS
LOW VOLTAGE BUILDING WIRING
LOW VOLTAGE TRANSFORMER TEST
LOG HOME GUIDE
METAL LATH, PLASTER & STUCCO
MIXING / ANTI-SCALD VALVES
MOBILE HOME INSPECTIONS
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
MOLD INFORMATION CENTER
NOISE / SOUND DIAGNOSIS & CURE
NOISE CONTROL for FLOORS
NOISE CONTROL for PLUMBING
NOISE, PLUMBING DRAIN DIAGNOSIS
NOISE, PLUMBING DRAIN REPAIR
NOISE, WATER HEATER
NOISES, WATER PUMP
ODORS GASES SMELLS, DIAGNOSIS & CURE
ODORS IN WATER
ODORS, SEPTIC or SEWER
ODORS, SULPHUR SMELL SOURCES
ANIMAL or URINE ODOR SOURCE DETECTION
OIL FIRED WATER HEATERS
OUTHOUSES & LATRINES
PAINT FALURE, DIAGNOSIS, CURE, PREVENTION
PIPING IN buildings, Clogs Leaks Types
DRYWALL, PLASTER, BEAVERBOARD
PLASTER BULGES & PILLOWS
PLASTER LATH, METAL
PLASTER TYPE IDENTIFICATION
PLASTER VENEER Best Practices
PLUMBING FIXTURES, KITCHEN, BATH
Plumbing Materials & Fixtures, Age, Types
PLASTIC PLEXVENT ULTRAVENT RECALL
PLASTIC PIPING ABS CPVC PB PEX PVC
PUMPS, WATER REPAIR
RELIEF VALVE LEAKS
RELIEF VALVE, TP VALVE, BOILER
RELIEF VALVE, TP VALVE, STEAM BOILER
RELIEF VALVE, WATER HEATER
RELIEF VALVE, WATER TANK
ROOF VENTILATION SPECIFICATIONS
SAFETY HAZARDS & INSPECTIONS
SAFETY: Elderly & Veterans Home Safety
SEARS KIT HOUSES
SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECT DIAGNOSE REPAIR
METHANE GAS HAZARDS
SEPTIC SYSTEM ODORS
SEPTIC & CESSPOOL SAFETY
SEWAGE BACKUP, WHAT TO DO
SEWAGE BACKUP PREVENTION
SEWAGE CONTAMINATION in BUILDINGS
SEWAGE EJECTOR / GRINDER PUMPS
SEWER GAS ODORS
SEWER LINE REPLACEMENT
SULPHUR & SEWER GAS SMELL SOURCES
CONCRETE SLAB CRACK EVALUATION
SOUND CONTROL in buildings
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING EXTERIORS
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING INTERIORS
STAINS & FINISHES, INTERIOR
STAIRS, RAILINGS, LANDINGS, RAMPS
STUCCO WALL METHODS & INSTALLATION
SUMP PUMPS GUIDE
SWEATING (CONDENSATION) on PIPES, TANKS
THERMAL MASS in buildings
THERMAL TRACKING Indicates Heat Loss
TOILETS, INSPECT, INSTALL, REPAIR
ALTERNATIVE & WATERLESS TOILETS
TOILET FLUSHOMETER VALVES
TOILET INSTALLATION PROCEDURE
TOILET OVERFLOW EMERGENCY
TOILET PLUGS, SEWER BACKUP
TOILET REPAIR GUIDE
TOILET TISSUE CHOICES
TOILET TISSUE TEST
TOILET TYPES, CONTROLS, PARTS
Toilet Types, Flush Methods
TOILETS, DON'T FLUSH LIST
TRAPS on PLUMBING FIXTURES
TRIM, EXTERIOR CHOICES, INSTALLATION
TRIM, INTERIOR INSTALLATION
VAPOR BARRIERS & CONDENSATION in BUILDINGS
VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
VINYL CHLORIDE HEALTH INFO
VINYL SIDING or WINDOW PLASTIC ODORS
VOCs VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS
WALL SIDING TRIM & FINISHES
WALL FINISHES INTERIOR
WALL CONSTRUCTION BARRIER vs CAVITY
WATER BARRIERS, EXTERIOR BUILDING
WATER ENTRY in BUILDINGS
WATER ODORS, CAUSE CURE
WATER PRESSURE MEASUREMENT
WATER PRESSURE GAUGE ACCURACY
WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
WATER PRESSURE PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS TABLE
WATER PRESSURE REPAIRS & COSTS
WATER PUMPS, TANKS, TESTS, WELLS, REPAIRS
WATER PUMP LIFE EXPECTANCY
WATER PUMP REPAIR GUIDE
WATER QUALITY TESTS, CONTAMINANTS, TREATMENT
WATER QUANTITY IMPROVEMENT
WATER QUANTITY USAGE GUIDE
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WATER SUPPLY & DRAIN PIPING
WATER TANK TYPES: WATER, OIL, EXPANSION, ALL
WATER TANK AIR, HOW TO ADD
WATER TANK REPAIRS
WATER TESTS, CONTAMINANTS, TREATMENT
WATER TREATMENT EQUIPMENT CHOICES
WELLS CISTERNS & SPRINGS
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
WOOD, COAL STOVES & FIREPLACES
WOOD STOVE SAFETY
ZONE VALVES, HEATING
Kitchen & bathroom cabinet defects & safety hazards. This article describes common defects found in kitchen or bathroom cabinets - problems that can be found by visual inspection. We describe the hazard of falling wall mounted kitchen or bath cabinets, tipping kitchen islands, and we discuss less serious K&B hazards such as loose, falling off cabinet doors and defective cabinet hinges.
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A second class of kitchen cabinet hazards are un-secured islands and island cabinets that tip over onto a child playing by swinging from the counter edge.
As explained in Chapter 6 of Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction:Assessing a cabinet’s quality is not always easy due to the large number of components involved and the fact that much of the material and joinery is concealed.
One good indication of overall durability is certification by the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association, which has a rigorous testing and certification program that measures such things as structural integrity, shelf strength, hardware durability, and quality of finishes.
But here, adapted from Carson Dunlop Associates' Home Reference Book, we focus on defects in cabinet installation or condition, problems that can be found by visual inspection.
Watch out: Beware of loose, falling wall-mounted cabinets. Inspect carefully before you touch or pull on a wall-mounted cabinet. At a home inspection D.F. gave a gentle tug to the under-lip of an array of wall mounted cabinets. Don't try this.
All six of the wall cabinets in a row crashed to the floor. Luckily no one was close by or someone could have been badly hurt.
Joints in cabinets in poor condition may be separating and shelves may be poorly supported, risking falling contents, sometimes including heavy or fragile items.
Clues for building inspectors that can suggest a loose falling-off wall cabinet include:
Quoting from Carson Dunlop Associates' The Home Reference Book:
Water damaged & moldy Kitchen or Bathroom Cabinets
A small moldy patch on a particleboard cabinet base (below-left, less than 1 sq.ft.) is unlikely to be a significant health hazard in a building, though it could bother someone with sensitive mold allergies or who is asthmatic. There may be more hidden mold below the cabinet base. At below right we not in the same cabinet that the mice don't seem disturbed by water, leaks, and mold - though their droppings make the cabinet unsanitary for food storage.
Below we illustrate another minor mold contamination case, due to water that leaked from a nearby shower to beneath the vanity base. The vanity was replaced and the new unit first coated with a clear sealant on its hidden surfaces, then caulked at the floor and walls to keep water out of its hidden spaces.<
But mold growth behind wall or base cabinets can be quite extensive, and totally hidden if a home has been flooded for any reason, as we illustrate with the photos below, showing mold on the previously-hidden sides of kitchen cabinets. More examples of mold growing on just about anything in buildings can be seen at MOLD GROWTH on SURFACES, PHOTOS.
It would have been a mistake to leave these cabinets mounted to the wall of the home where they were found, even though mold was not visible on the room side of exposed wall surfaces. And further investigation of the wall cavity behind where these cabinets had been mounted confirmed that the cavity side of the wall needed to be cleaned as well.
Leaks into kitchen or bath cabinets can occur in surprising places, as water can travel inside a building wall or along a floor where it passes into hidden spaces such as the interstitial space between a cabinet back and the building wall, or the cabinet base and the floor. A result can be hidden mold contamination.
Expect to find mold on hidden wall or floor cabinets on hidden surfaces if a building has been flooded or subject to extensive leakage or wetting due to extinguishment of a fire.
The most common location of water damage to cabinets is of course at sinks or at the sides and bottoms of base cabinets adjacent to a leaky dishwasher (our two photographs above).
At left we illustrate a ceramic tile countertop. The uneven surface and grout joints make this countertop difficult to cle3an.
Quoting again from The Home Reference Book:
Countertops can be made of many materials.
Laminated plastic surfaces applied to fiberboard are common because they are inexpensive, water resistant, available in a huge selection of colors and patterns, and are easy to clean.
They are difficult to repair if cut by knives, chipped or burned. These are referred to as laminate countertops.
Other common countertop materials include granite, marble, stainless steel, ceramic tile, concrete, hardwood (butcher block), soapstone and a number of manufactured products including engineered stone and other solid surface materials.
The ideal countertop won’t burn, crack, chip or break, is easy to clean, non-porous, and is resistant to rot, water damage, stains and knives.
Cabinet problems may include improper operation of doors and drawers.
Sticky drawers and doors that will not stay closed are common. Hardware may be missing, worn or inoperative.
Cabinets may be damaged or deteriorated due to wear and tear.
Cabinets, doors and drawers may be mechanically damaged or worn. Knobs may be loose, missing or broken.
Many of these are cosmetic or nuisance issues.
The decision to replace cabinets and countertops is subjective.
Our next-to-last cabinet damage photo (we're all getting sick of this issue but there are still hinges to discuss) illustrates the problem of hidden leaks, cabinet base damage, even rot, that we don't discover because of all the clutter stored in the cabinet base.
Our flashlight points to a puddle of water, but also notice that the whole cabinet base bottom shelf is falling apart.
You often won't see this in a home until you start pulling out all that stuff crammed into the cabinet.
Problems with Kitche or Bathroom Countertop Damage
Countertops may suffer cosmetic damage, and fiberboard countertops often rot, especially damage around sinks and faucets.
Burns and mechanical damage are common on laminate countertops.
Cracked tiles and missing grout are common on ceramic tile countertops.
Problems with Kitchen or Bathroom Cabinet Hinges
Common K&B cabinet hinge problems show up as
The photo below shows what happens when hinges or their mounting point are falling apart or are just loose.
Loose, askew, falling cabinet doors are almost always due to hinge problems (discussed below), but keep in mind that particleboard cabinet carcases in which the hinges have become loose will require more effort (and glue) to repair.
At left we illustrate problematic cabinet doors. On a cabinet base such as this one, watch out for drawers that are falling apart as well.
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers(AHAM) www.aham.org
National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) www.nkba.org
Ceramic Tile Institute of America www.ctioa.org
Home Ventilation Institute (HVI) www.hvi.org
Marble Institute of America www.marble-institute.com Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) www.porcelainenamel.com
Tile Council of America (TCA) www.tileusa.com
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