What I'm Seeing Now


To Tray Or Not To Tray - That Is The Question

To tray or not to tray - that is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler for the room to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous insulation,
Or to add insulation against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them. 
Devoutly to be wished.
To sleep, perhaps to dream, in comfort.  Aye, there's the rub!


Tray ceilings are a popular, and attractive, feature in rooms. 

This one is in the master bathroom.

Going into the bathroom we noticed that it was quite a bit warmer than the master bedroom.

There can be only one reason for a warmer room - poor or poorly-placed insulation.

One critical feature of a tray ceiling is the vertical walls. 

Such vertical walls much be insulated completely!

Going into the attic space I could see that the vertical walls of this tray ceiling detail were not insulated.  The insulation was blown-in cellulose, which is chewed up newspaper.  Such insulation does not pile easily against vertical features.  To insulate the vertical portions of this detail batt (rolled) fiberglass insulation would have had to be used.  But nothing was!

Looking pretty much at the same location with Mighty Mo it is easy to see how the insulation is piled against the lower part of the vertical portions of the wall.

And this was the case when looking all around it!

The light canister fixtures in the ceiling were also poorly insulated. 

All of this adds up to a warm, and in the winter cold, room!  This was entirely expected as soon as we felt the temperature in the bathroom.

My recommendation:  people can live for years with hot or cold rooms without doing anything to see why it is.  A thermal camera can evaluate insulation all over a house.  And it is quick.  The thermal images that follow such an inspection would be definitive.  And the information they give would make it easy for such problems as exist in this bathroom above to be remedied.



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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


Comment balloon 4 commentsJay Markanich • August 04 2016 03:57AM


Good morning Jay! Want to be in the know, use a home inspector with a "Mighty Mo"! Enjoy your day!

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

You are a poet Wayne.  So was that other guy, Willie Shake-something, but I can't remember his whole name.


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

Hi Jay - The house we're currently building has two tray ceilings - I will be sure to check the insulation on the vertical walls. Thanks!

Posted by Dick Greenberg, Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate (New Paradigm Partners LLC) over 4 years ago

A mind stretched by a new idea cannot return to its previous dimension, Dick!

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