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Old 08-21-2009, 05:10 PM   #1
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The wall are running

Okay, I forget if I posted part of this a few years back, but if so, please be patient with me. We bought the house in late Oct 2006. I quickly gutted and rebuilt the bathroom. One change was to install a larger capacity (more CFM) exhaust fan. W/in 2 months of the bathroom being complete and us using it, we noticed streaks on the walls near the shower. I attributed it to high humidity in the room, even though the fan was working well. The quick solution was to make sure the upper sash of the window was open a bit. Now, 2 years later, we have a new problem.

Out in the hallway outside the bathroom, we are seeing more streaking down the walls. Just today, I see streaks and the have a yellowish color to them and the fluid is very viscuous, yet odorless. One thought was leaks in the roof and moisture seeping through, yet the attic is dry as a bone.

Any thoughts out there?

Oh, in the bathroom, the walls were simply repainted, no primer over the existing paint. In the hallway, the walls were primed with a Zinseer primer.

Currently, I am at a loss for an explanation.


Last edited by javan; 08-21-2009 at 05:10 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 08-21-2009, 06:59 PM   #2
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Is the fan venting into the attic? It should be venting to the outside. I have seen bath exhaust fans installed improperly in the past cause the same issue. In cases where it was left unfixed for a long period the insulation was soaking wet and mold growing on the sheetrock.


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Old 08-21-2009, 07:40 PM   #3
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Exhaust to the outside

Yes, it has a fan, and it is ducted to the outside. However this house had an addition years ago, and the bathroom got moved, however the exhaust stack stayed, which is one reason why I upsized the fan. That being said, I know that it exhausts to the outside, but I can not confirm that there is not a leak somewhere....I am still thinking of just putting in an elbow and ducting straight up through the roof. Then again, at the time, it was easier to just connect to the existing duct....

Last edited by javan; 08-21-2009 at 07:52 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 08-21-2009, 08:01 PM   #4
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Were the previous owners smokers??? If so, it could be nicotine running down the walls. If it is an older house with gas heat, it could possible be natural gas stain on the walls (that has happened to mine before). If either is the case, there is potential for bleed through if no sealing primer is used.

Also, possibly there was a leak in the past that wasn't sealed prior to paint.
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Old 08-22-2009, 03:54 AM   #5
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What was the finish paint?
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Old 08-22-2009, 07:20 AM   #6
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I agree with the post about smokers, but hard to tell if thats what it is for sure. The fan sounds like a possibility too. Best to get up in the attic and look above that wall to rule out any leaks or condensation issues first.
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:12 PM   #7
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Previous owners were not smokers.
No leaks or condensation in the attic.
The walls were a flat latex.

I have not seen the problem come back since I have made sure the bathroom door and window were both closed during showers (all humidity, steam, etc. gets exhausted.).

Thinking that the fan is just powerful enough to exhaust the room with everything closed, but with the door / window open, that moist air goes where the pressurization takes it.
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:58 PM   #8
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Sounds like surfactant leeching to me. Surfactants are used in paints to help keep the solids in solution so it does not separate in the roller pan. Certain paints leech those surfactants out, especially in the presence of moisture before, during, or soon after painting. (Behr especially has been reported here to do this.) I would think a quality water-base primer, followed by two coats of quality paint would clear this up.

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Old 08-31-2009, 02:04 PM   #9
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Noob comment so I hope an expert can chime in.

I try to ensure I use a paint specifically designed for bathrooms (ie. Kitchen and Bath paint). So perhaps the wrong paint was used.



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