Results 1 to 27 of 27
  1. #1
    Robert Strain's Avatar
    Robert Strain Guest

    Default What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    Hello Forum!

    I have a four year old house in PA. Second Owner. About 9 months ago I saw a small amount of this stuff in one spot on my basement ceiling. I was confused and I wiped it off. And I didn't see anything until a few days ago. A few days ago I saw some more of this stuff. It is hard and crusty, but it wipes off easily. I stuck a flat head screw driver through the dry wall and made the hole bigger. Now one day later more of this stuff is pushing down through the hole in the ceiling. Does anyone know what it looks like? I don't think there are is any hard rubber water tubes going through the area above it.

    *pictures removed for older computers, more pictures below posted the correct way*

    Similar Threads:
    Last edited by Robert Strain; 12-09-2012 at 12:39 PM.
    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
    Posts
    3,746

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    This is little more than a guess,.
    I cannot tell from the pictures, but I suspect it is a type of fungus.
    Fungus (mold) will only grow in areas where there is high moisture.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Chicago IL
    Posts
    1,984

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    Is there a bathroom above or known drain lines running across the ceiling? Is there an exhaust fan that might be dumping into this cavity area instead of outside.
    Looks like organic material growing due to some sort of moisture source. It also looks concentrating so I would guess from a 'source' rather than high humidity. High humidity basements usually start out with sprawling surface area discoloration and then concentrated growth.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  4. #4
    Robert Strain's Avatar
    Robert Strain Guest

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    Is there a bathroom above or known drain lines running across the ceiling?
    There is a bathroom above, and also known drain lines nearby one floor up. But they do not appear to be right above the piece of drywall where there is this growth.


    Is there an exhaust fan that might be dumping into this cavity area instead of outside.
    Looks like organic material growing due to some sort of moisture source. It also looks concentrating so I would guess from a 'source' rather than high humidity. High humidity basements usually start out with sprawling surface area discoloration and then concentrated growth.
    I don't think it is high humidity either. There is a forced air duct nearby. I took a picture of the air duct below. I also climbed up and took another picture of the gap between the ceiling and the floor. By my rough measurements, the growth from the ceiling is coming from just about where the two wood joists meet (one of them has all that white (moldy?) discoloration) at the end of the first photo. But I don't see anything in the photo that looks like what is coming out of the ceiling...

    Thanks for your help!


    *pictures removed for older computers, more pictures below posted the correct way*

    Last edited by Robert Strain; 12-09-2012 at 12:40 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,776

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    Why not just cut the affected area of the ceiling, determine actually what is going on, patch and paint.


  6. #6
    Robert Strain's Avatar
    Robert Strain Guest

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    I would need to go to Lowes and buy a keyhole saw to cut. How big of a hole would you cut? Plan to go to Lowes later today. That was my second step after asking the question here... also I never patched drywall before... Thanks.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,776

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    As big as needed 8"or 12"x____.
    Before you go out to the Big Box. Check with your neighbors or friends. They may be able to help you out with cutting it out and then patching back in so it does not look like a patch job. A good patch job will not be able to be detected. But it does take a little experience. Ask around for some help. It is close to Christmas so they may be more charitable than usual....


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    Termite mud.
    Call a pest control company. Around here they will do a free termite inspection in hopes of getting your business for a treatment job.
    No need to cut or disturb anything, in fact better if you don't.
    Everything looks too dry for mold, so unless proven otherwise, I would not go down that road.
    By the way, please follow the board posting rules which makes viewing photos easier for everyone.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  9. #9
    Robert Strain's Avatar
    Robert Strain Guest

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    Thank you, Jim.

    It does look similar to some pictures on the internet of termite mud.

    I called a Terminix. Anyone know if they are good?

    How can I find out what are the board posting rules for photos? Is there a web URL for the rules? I can't find where to read the rules. Of course I am happy to follow them.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    Basically just scroll down past the text box and use the "upload photos" button. Thanks, this makes it easier to read and view the photos, especially for those on slower systems.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,243

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    While the photos of it are quite a bit out of focus, I suspect they may be swarmer castles for termites leaving to an existing colony and going on an adventure to start a new colony - if they survive their adventure.

    You took a photo in that duct for heating/cooling with that NM cable in it, or was that a photo of some other place and not a supply or return duct?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  13. #13
    Robert Strain's Avatar
    Robert Strain Guest

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    You took a photo in that duct for heating/cooling with that NM cable in it, or was that a photo of some other place and not a supply or return duct?

    I don't know what an NM cable is... I took a photo of a air supply duct. I did it because the two wood joists on either side of the supply duct are the same wood joists in the other photo. In fact I stuck the camera in between the two joists to take the photo.


  14. #14
    Robert Strain's Avatar
    Robert Strain Guest

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    It was very difficult to get my auto-focus camera to focus on what we are now calling termite mud.


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Snowbird (this means I'm retired and migrate between locations), FL/MI
    Posts
    4,086

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    "... I also climbed up and took another picture of the gap between the ceiling and the floor. By my rough measurements, the growth from the ceiling is coming from just about where the two wood joists meet (one of them has all that white (moldy?) discoloration) at the end of the first photo. But I don't see anything in the photo that looks like what is coming out of the ceiling..."

    The second picture was from below the duct work looking up.

    It seems the white NM cable is not an air handling space, and has had the cable fished in the floor/ceiling cavity above the bsement ceiling after the area was covered.


  16. #16
    Robert Strain's Avatar
    Robert Strain Guest

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    Termite mud.
    Call a pest control company. Around here they will do a free termite inspection in hopes of getting your business for a treatment job.
    No need to cut or disturb anything, in fact better if you don't.
    Why is it better if I don't cut into the drywall? Thanks.


  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,243

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Strain View Post
    I don't know what an NM cable is...
    NM cable is that electrical wiring in that photo.

    I took a photo of a air supply duct. I did it because the two wood joists on either side of the supply duct are the same wood joists in the other photo. In fact I stuck the camera in between the two joists to take the photo.
    "I took a photo of a air supply duct."

    That is what I am trying to get clarification on - you removed a supply register, stuck your camera up into the supply duct, then took the photo ... that is what you are saying, correct?

    If so, that electrical cable should not be in there.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Strain View Post
    Why is it better if I don't cut into the drywall? Thanks.
    Just so the termite inspector can see what you are seeing without it being disturbed. i.e. don't contaminate the crime scene .
    Also, chances are there will be no need to remove any drywall or do any repairs. I'm just lazy that way!

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  19. #19
    Robert Strain's Avatar
    Robert Strain Guest

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    NM cable is that electrical wiring in that photo.



    "I took a photo of a air supply duct."

    That is what I am trying to get clarification on - you removed a supply register, stuck your camera up into the supply duct, then took the photo ... that is what you are saying, correct?

    If so, that electrical cable should not be in there.
    I didn't remove anything. There is no cable in the supply ducts (as far as I know). The cable in the photo was in the space above the ceiling of the basement. It is the space next to the supply duct, but it is not inside the duct. Thanks.


  20. #20
    Robert Strain's Avatar
    Robert Strain Guest

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Just so the termite inspector can see what you are seeing without it being disturbed. i.e. don't contaminate the crime scene .
    Also, chances are there will be no need to remove any drywall or do any repairs. I'm just lazy that way!
    Thanks. Attached are some better, more in focus photos (posted the correct way). I got a Terminix person coming to my house tomorrow afternoon.

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,776

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    Bringing a bug guy for an opinion on WDO (wood destroying organisms) is good.
    Not trashing the evidence is preferable for an inspection.
    Tearing out to see actually how much damage there is and repair it is a responsible course of action. If it is WDO then determining the extent of the damage can be beneficial. An you may be surprised to the extent.

    Originally I figured that you would see something that was suspect and bring in someone to explain what you were seeing. That was why the "see what was actually going on' suggestion was all about.


  22. #22
    Robert Strain's Avatar
    Robert Strain Guest

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    Had two pest control guys come to my house today.

    The local small business guy said it would cost about $700 with a big discount (not sure how much until he gets back to me) to get rid of the termites.

    Terminix would charge approx $1100.

    Terminix says they use "Termidor" which is a special chemical that lasts for 5-10 years. They say the other pest control companies use weaker chemicals that will only last for 1-2 years.

    Is Terminix worth the extra $$$$? What do people think?

    Last edited by Robert Strain; 12-03-2012 at 02:05 PM.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Strain View Post

    Terminix says they use "Termidor" which is a special chemical that lasts for 5-10 years. They say the other pest control companies use weaker chemicals that will only last for 1-2 years.

    Is Terminix worth the extra $$$$? What do people think?
    No.

    How does Terminix know what "the other guys" use? The chemical cost is actually a pretty small portion of the cost of the treatment.
    I would find a good local "mom & pop" service where you deal with the owner of the business rather than a by the hour or job employee of a mega corporation, but that is just me. Termidor is what my guy uses and swears by but the proper application is just as important as the proper chemical.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  24. #24
    Robert Strain's Avatar
    Robert Strain Guest

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    Thanks everyone in this thread for all your help. I found a local termite exterminator who has been in business for a long time, seem to have good BBB rankings, and gave me a much more reasonable estimate. We will do the extermination ASAP. I also cut a hole in my ceiling and found more evidence in the attached two photos. As far as I can tell it looks like we caught it early and I can't find very much damage (crosses fingers).

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,243

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Strain View Post
    I also cut a hole in my ceiling and found more evidence in the attached two photos. As far as I can tell it looks like we caught it early and I can't find very much damage (crosses fingers).
    Keep in mind that they had to eat their way up to that area in ceiling ... up from the ground ... I hope I didn't rain on your parade too much.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  26. #26
    Robert Strain's Avatar
    Robert Strain Guest

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Keep in mind that they had to eat their way up to that area in ceiling ... up from the ground ... I hope I didn't rain on your parade too much.
    I'm fully aware that I have a finished basement, and I can-not see very many of the wood beams. That said, and you couldn't possibly have known this when you posted, that area of my basement ceiling is in fact exactly at ground level. So they didn't have to "eat their way up to that area in ceiling ... up from the ground" to get to that point.

    I personally estimate that their most likely entry point would be at exactly the level where they are currently residing. Although they could have entered elsewhere, I think it most likely that if they had then I would see a bigger infestation than just on this one beam. I can see lots of beams close to this one, and none of them show any evidence of damage...

    I also don't notice any of the "signs" that people tell you about, like creaky floors etc.


  27. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,243

    Default Re: What is growing down from my basement ceiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Strain View Post
    That said, and you couldn't possibly have known this when you posted, that area of my basement ceiling is in fact exactly at ground level. So they didn't have to "eat their way up to that area in ceiling ... up from the ground" to get to that point.
    That is good information and certainly helps your chances of the infestation being limited - "helps" - but does not guaranty anything. I hope the infestation is limited, just don't want you to have your expectations raised too high as that only increases the disappointment when things are not as 'good' as hoped for.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.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
  •