Weird ceiling issue

I did an 11th month inspection back in July and found a bunch of stuff but now the homeowner has called me about a weird looking area of the ceiling thinking there was a roof leak after the heavy rain storm in the past couple weeks. Their builder has already scheduled a number of repairs and they wanted my opinion of this before repairs started.

One area of the ceiling in a guest bathroom that is seldom used or even occupied started bubbling or blistering after my 11th month inspection was completed. I also see the same kind of cracking in the finish along the corners of the wall and ceiling in the same room. This area is in a corner near the bathroom’s hvac ceiling register. I have zero access to the attic space above this room to observe anything above it. I walked the roof in this area and everything looked fine. My moisture meter didn’t give me any indication of moisture and my thermal camera was a big blank here as well.

My only thoughts were about this possibly being related to the finish work done before painting and possibly due to the ceiling register blowing directly into this corner and maybe some kind of condensation issue.

Any tips or guidance on what could cause this, as well as the likelihood that it might be an ongoing issue after repairs?

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Looks like condensation droplet patterns and damage from here in GA. An infrared scan might show some missing insulation which could increase the condensation rate on the surface.


I was thinking the insulation thing but this home had the insulation at the roof sheathing instead of the attic floor. But then I also could not access this area of the attic space as it appeared to be totally separate from the rest of the home (kind of a ‘U’ shape to the house) and no attic access point. Thermal scans show similar results in this area as I got from other areas of the home. This ‘wing’ of the house is rarely used except when guests visit which also means that it’s usually closed off and ceiling fans aren’t running and creating any kind of airflow other than what blows out of the registers. But then this didn’t show up until after the 1 year inspection so it seems thats kinda odd.

I’m sure condensation is the problem, I just hadn’t seen anything quite like it yet.

I agree it looks like condensation. Only time I have seen condensation do this is when the ceiling was unpainted. Is that possible here?

To me it looks like an improper texture job. The droplets were to big at that spot.
Probably didn’t know how to use a texture hopper gun.

Did you check it with a moisture meter?

looks like paint blistering. Can be caused by improper paint mixing, wrong roller used or improper surface prep.


That was my thought too.
It really looks like the paint was sprayed on too heavy, and formed drops and cracked as it dried. I see this in the corners sometimes on new construction when they spray too heavy.

Daniel, are you sure it was after your inspection? Perhaps you just didnt notice it on the 11th month?


I’m wondering if it was primed/painted before the mud was good and dry.


Pretty darn sure I didn’t miss it. My routine takes me through all wall and ceiling surfaces in each room and I don’t recall being distracted. My report noted other conditions at the ceiling in the adjoining room and closet, and this area is easily at least one square foot in size and super noticeable when looking up, even without a flashlight. But it does kinda appear like the condition isn’t exactly new. In either case, my report covers multiple issues with wall and ceiling finishes because there were quite a few throughout and it was written without specific locations notes due to the quantity. Should be fine for correction by the builder, but I thought this was particularly interesting.


Cosmetic, if nothing else.