What is this?

I have never seen a pattern like this in a ceiling before. Looks like moisture with a hint of termitacitus. There is a furnace with ac coil in the attic (no drain pan). My first thought was moisture leaking onto the ceiling, but it does not look like a moisture stain (odd pattern and no staining on the drywall in the attic). Also thought about termites, but no sign of them anywhere the attic and no other signs anywhere else (this was found on the second floor ceiling in the center of the home). I am tring to figure this one out and can’t make sense of it. Any thoughts???

Hall Ceiling1.jpg

Check this link…I think it started today…

Could it be painted over left over glue from removed paneling orwall paper type material ? We removed some wood paneling and the glue pattern looked very similar to that.


No, it was only in this one location on the ceiling next to the light fixture.

Hey Tim,

Was the furnace located at this area or very close by?
What did the surface from the attic look like?
How old is this house?

Almost looks like someone damaged the ceiling with a heavy object from the attic and did a really bad job at trying to repair it incorrectly. i.e. used some glue or other compound that reacted with the paint perhaps?

I don’t know… looks very strange indeed.

as it is saturday nite and nothing else to do i’m giong to hazard a guess and I do stress guess. it is hard to tell from the picture but I would rule out water damage because as you said no discoloration and also no delamination at any tape joints.I’ll also rule out residuale adhesive from a previously applied ceiling treatment because it is highly unlikely that all of the applied adhesive would intersect. even though you saw no signs of activity i woud say that it is termites as every pathway in the picture is interconnected (termite tunnels). on my report i would state undetermined ceiling damage recommend evaluation by a pest control operator