Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Lansdale, PA
    Posts
    876

    Default Stains on ceiling

    I inspected a house today that had unusual stains on ceilings in two rooms. Both first floor rooms, with one room in the original part of the house (33 years old) and another in an addition (22 year old). The stains were similar to ghosting stains, but the stains are brownish, similar to a water stain. There is a second floor above both rooms and the second floor does not overhang the first floor. Brick veneer on the outside wall of one room and vinyl siding on the other. The stains run the full length of the room (probably about 18 feet in one room) and the stains stop at the areas where the joints are spackled.

    Any thoughts?

    P7023287 (512x384).jpgP7023282 (512x384).jpg

    NHIE Practice Exam

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
    Posts
    5,847

    Default Re: Stains on ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Reinmiller View Post
    I inspected a house today that had unusual stains on ceilings in two rooms. Both first floor rooms, with one room in the original part of the house (33 years old) and another in an addition (22 year old). The stains were similar to ghosting stains, but the stains are brownish, similar to a water stain. There is a second floor above both rooms and the second floor does not overhang the first floor. Brick veneer on the outside wall of one room and vinyl siding on the other. The stains run the full length of the room (probably about 18 feet in one room) and the stains stop at the areas where the joints are spackled.

    Any thoughts?

    P7023287 (512x384).jpgP7023282 (512x384).jpg
    Ghosting stains (tar)from smokers.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    so so, California
    Posts
    1,769

    Default Re: Stains on ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Ghosting stains (tar)from smokers.
    We actually find Ghosting stains in ceilings quite common. With our analysis, we've discovered that ceilings that are missing insulation will collect dust that will stick to the uninsulated area when moist likely from condensation, discoloring that specific area.

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    1,258

    Default Re: Stains on ceiling

    Insulation shouldn't be a factor in heated space above and below. Was it forced air heat or zoned hydronic? Sure looks like ghosting, but I haven't seen it when there was little or no temperature differential between areas. Were both levels heated, or possibly one level much cooler than the other?

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Lansdale, PA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: Stains on ceiling

    Scott,
    Original owners and not odor, so I don't think smoking is the answer. Also, should not be a significant temperature difference at the ceiling. With even stains all along the joists temperature does not make much sense. It should be colder near the exterior wall if there was a significant source of air infiltration, but 18 feet away should not be cold. Stains were very uniform too.

    I was thinking that possibly they installed the drywall on wet joists and water wicked though the drywall. This could explain why there were no stains at the spackled areas. Since the one room was part of a two story addition, and this room was the entire first floor of the addition, that made some sense. However, the other room was part of the original house, which did not make sense.

    Jim, Heat pumps for heat/ac. Four systems-first and second floor of main house and addition. I don't know whether they kept temperatures different at each level, but with bedrooms on the second floor I would not expect that they would have temperature much different at each level.

    Adjacent to the first floor large room of the addition was a smaller area completely open to the main room. This area was one story with a high vaulted ceiling. This area did not appear to have been painted recently, and there were no stains on the ceiling.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,777

    Default Re: Stains on ceiling

    Given that the multiple systems in the house it is possible/probable that the 2nd floor and 1st floor are at different temps. My thinking is that the joist are acting as a heat/cold sink. Causing the same effect that appears when there is change in insulation depth or lack of at barrier ceiling to attic/unconditioned space.

    The fact that the effect is in the newer and older sections would demonstrate that it is not a mater of wet lumber in the building.

    You could paint the sealing with stain blocker/killer and I would expect that the same ghosting/staining will reappear if the 2nd floor is kept at a significantly different temp than the 1st floor. What the degree of difference which is the breaking point is the question. Also the time that it will take is also a variable of the ultimate equation.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    so so, California
    Posts
    1,769

    Default Re: Stains on ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Robinson View Post
    Insulation shouldn't be a factor in heated space above and below. Was it forced air heat or zoned hydronic? Sure looks like ghosting, but I haven't seen it when there was little or no temperature differential between areas. Were both levels heated, or possibly one level much cooler than the other?
    In this image the insulation was missing in the exact area and exact shape of the stain. Must be ghosts?

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    1,258

    Default Re: Stains on ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    In this image the insulation was missing in the exact area and exact shape of the stain. Must be ghosts?
    I was referring to the OP situation, not your photo. It would be unusual for there to be insulation between the first and second floor of the house.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    so so, California
    Posts
    1,769

    Default Re: Stains on ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Robinson View Post
    I was referring to the OP situation, not your photo. It would be unusual for there to be insulation between the first and second floor of the house.
    oops, NP, my bad..

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    IL
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Stains on ceiling

    It doesn't just have to be in a smokers home. Over time, dust and particles from cooking will also cause ghosting.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Posts
    885

    Default Re: Stains on ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Ghosting stains (tar)from smokers.
    That's my take also but could also be from lots of fried food smoke over time.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Osceola, AR
    Posts
    310

    Default Re: Stains on ceiling

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Ghosting stains (tar)from smokers.
    I have noticed this a number of times when the occupants make heavy use of candles, scented candles or oil warmers. I finally convinced my wife to stop using the oil warmers after stains began to show up on the newly installed crown molding in a couple of rooms. Stopped using the warmers, cleaned the film off molding, has not been a problem now for over two years.

    Alton Darty
    ATN Services, LLC
    www.arinspections.com

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •