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Problem with ceiling beam, not sure what to do

Problem with ceiling beam, not sure what to do


Old 10-31-12, 11:41 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 2
Problem with ceiling beam, not sure what to do

Hi! I have an issue with a ceiling beam that I'm not sure how to tackle. Background might be helpful I suppose.

I live in a co-op. Last year I had paint peeling in my bathroom. My roommate and I initially suspected water damage (there was a blister that contained moisture), but the super declared there was no sign of moisture other than the blister that we popped, and nothing was dripping. We scraped everything off and repainted. This year, as the temperature dropped and the heat was turned on, the bubbling came back. One of the regular maintenance guys came over and said it was water damage from above, and to confirm I was to feel the ceiling when the heat was on. If it was hot, then it was steam leaking from the radiator above. Sure enough, the ceiling was hot. They fixed it upstairs, and I'm slated to repaint my bathroom.

A short while ago we got heating upgrades, and I heard that some units in my complex have suffered from cracked steam pipes. Last week I noticed a bubble on the beam of my living room, and initially figured the paint probably needed to be redone. Then today I looked up again and saw even worse (pics attached). I felt the beam, and there was a very slight warmth at the spot that was peeling, compared to the rest of the beam (which was cold). All the blisters visible in the pic are hollow when tapped, and some areas are, well, slightly spongy. I called the super, who came over to take a look, and declared there was no water/moisture since there were no stains, nothing wet, nothing dripping, etc..., and the slight warmth I was feeling was normal since there was a radiator in the floor above.

At this point, I not too sure what to do. I can strip everything off and repaint, however I'm worried about steam leakage again, making the repaint a moot point without fixing the main problem. To make my paranoia worse, whenever the heat is on I hear a tapping/popping(?) coming from upstairs where the radiator is. Adding on top of that, there is a straight line, a slight shadow, on my wall stretching from the beam where the bubbling is, and along the way, tapping, spots here and there are hollow, and nowhere else. Is there anything I can do to find out what the root of the problem is?

Any suggestions would be greatly welcome. Much thanks!
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Old 11-01-12, 02:11 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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Welcome to the forums! You either have pipes too close to the framework of the soffit, or you have a leaking pipe. Aside from removing the sheetrock from the soffit, determining what is causing the problem and fixing it, you can paint every day and it won't go away. Now, with the coop, I am not sure who is responsible for the heating system. But that soffit needs to be dismantled and the problem fixed. Replacing the sheetrock and finishing it is not difficult to do.
Old 11-01-12, 06:34 AM
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I'd get the maintenance guy you mentioned to take a look at this as well, he seems to know his stuff and not be concerned about whether it's going to cost the building management to take care of that which is their responsibility.
Old 11-03-12, 04:35 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 2
Thanks for the insight guys! Repair work is typically authorized by the management office and initiated by outside contractors. I just need to be able to convince the co-op that this is indeed a steam/leak before we can even begin digging around. If the root cause is coming from upstairs, then that becomes even more important. My roommate is inclined for us to wait until there's moisture/water, or until things get worse, and then get the maintenance guys to come over again.

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