Sometimes a client will ask me about the condition of the floors in the home—-and whether the floors need to be replaced or not.
Most of the time any issues with the condition of flooring would be considered “cosmetic.” These cosmetic issues are not generally the focus of the inspection. Other than noting the “overall” condition I rarely get too involved with the condition of flooring as long as it is “functional” and not going to jump up and hurt someone. I will note stains, and trip hazards—-like carpet seams that are coming apart, tiles that are loose or splinters that might injure someone. Sometimes carpeting is removed and staples are not removed—these can be very sharp and injure someone walking barefoot or sock feet on the floor.
Seriously stained carpet can mean damage to structures under the carpet—-especially if the staining is from pets. Most inspectors will note these kinds of stains because of the potential for hidden damage and the difficulty of repairs to homes with severe pet damage. Even if the stains were not caused by pets they can be so deep into the wood flooring that removing the stains is not possible and the stained areas may need to be replaced (like the stains in this floor that were finished-over because they could not be completely removed).
In a recent home there was considerable staining of the carpet and walls where a pet had slept in the corner of the bedroom for many years. My buyers were interested in removing the carpet and re-finishing the wood flooring under the carpet. While, without pulling up the carpet, there is no way to definitively state that the floors under the carpet would be in poor condition—–the probability was very high and the buyer should “anticipate” additional costs associated with re-finishing the floors.
They might look like this floor did when the carpet was removed.
Sometimes the flooring is just so bad that the inspector must recommend replacement of the floor for safety and/or sanitary reasons—-especially in Kitchens and Bathrooms.
I would say that this Kitchen Floor fits those criteria—-with large areas worn completely through, exposing previous floor coverings. Cleaning and maintaining floors that are in this condition is going to be difficult if not impossible—-and they should be replaced.
Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector
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