What I'm Seeing Now


Ceilings That Bulge Downward Bulge For A Reason

When walking through a house, ceilings that bulge downward bulge for a reason.

In this case there were new light fixtures installed in the bathroom ceiling.  A new fan was also installed.  And the ceiling nearby bulged downward dramatically.  Knowing what I was seeing I broke out Mighty Mo.

The thermal camera showed what I suspected might be the case.

You can even see the bulging drywall in the thermal image!

This is early in the morning, and it is not hot yet outdoors, yet even in the morning sun the attic space is beginning to heat up quite a bit.

One light and the HVAC register can be seen just to the lower left of center.  The AC is running, which accounts for the cooler temperature at that point.

The new fan is downward and to the left of all that.

You already know what is accounting for the warm rectangle in the middle of the thermal image - a lack of insulation.

Looking at that same location from the attic space the original HVAC duct work can be seen as the large, foil-covered tube running to the area without insulation.

The smaller, white fan tubing can also be seen running upward to exit the roof.

An area devoid of insulation is typical of unprofessional installations such as this one.

High piles of insulation were pushed off of the area that was worked on, without being repositioned back into its place.  Such a large area without insulation will definitely affect the comfort of that bathroom summer and winter.  Particularly in winter!

My recommendation:  in this case it did not take a thermal image to see that there was an issue with the bathroom ceiling.  But the result of the unprofessional work was surely demonstrated by a thermal image, and definitively.   Improper work has consequences.  While it might be a good idea to add new lighting to a bathroom, it is a better idea to do so professionally.  And then not sell the unprofessional work to someone else.   AFTER ALL, WHO WANTS TO BUY A HOUSE WITH UNPROFESSIONAL WORK?   I bet this seller would not want to...  says he, with sarcasm dripping from his lips.


Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 8 commentsJay Markanich • June 06 2016 01:42AM


Jay, when we hire someone to do a job, we expect it will be done properly. Of course, Uncle Billy Bob could have been the contractor. 

You are right, if the shoe was on the other foot.... it would be tight and uncomfortable. 

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 4 years ago

People always want the best to be done for them, often with less regard for what they do to others, Andrea.  This was poor work, no matter by whom.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Good morning Jay. Having a lot of work done? Get an inspection to make sure it was done right! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) over 4 years ago

Frank - selling your house?  If so, the buyer is likely to have an inspection done!  Do things right!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay Markanich You are 'THE MAN' with Mighty Mo in your hands! Not many inspectors carry thermal cameras, but they all should!

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc.) over 4 years ago

I see this so often, insulation brushed aside for a project and never put back into place! Virtually zero "R" value!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 4 years ago

So the removal of the insulation actually caused the drywall to bulge?  What causes the bulge, heat expansion?

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) over 4 years ago

S&N - I saw the bulge, and pretty much could see they new work wasn't attached properly.  The camera makes it really clear what is going on!

Fred - are you supposed to attach new drywall?

I think lousy work caused it to bulge, Stephen.  Nary a nail, or screw!  I like seeing things screwed up, so to speak.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments