How to Prevent Dust Streaks on Ceilings

Why Dust Streaks on Ceilings and Upper Walls Occur

By Mark J. Donovan

Dust streaks on ceilings and upper walls is a fairly common phenomenon. Cathedral ceilings are often more prone to this type of problem then flat ceilings, and most particularly at the outside wall edges. The dust pattern often has a scalloped type look where the ceiling intersects the exterior walls.

Wall and ceiling dust streaks occur due to insufficient insulation in the attic area of the home. Due to inadequate insulation in the attic, the ceiling and upper wall surface temperatures are much cooler than the air and wall surfaces near the lower levels of a room.

When warm moist air rises from the radiators or hot air registers, the moisture in the warm air condenses and forms microscopic water droplets on the ceiling and upper walls where the surface temperatures are much colder. In addition to the warm air rising, small particles of dust also get lifted upwards towards the ceilings.

As the dust comes in contact with the cold moist surfaces of the ceiling and walls, it sticks to them. As the dust builds up on the ceiling and upper wall surfaces, over time slightly shadowed or dark looking areas form.

Consequently the only way to really prevent dust streaks on ceilings and walls from occurring is to install enough insulation in the attic and walls so that they do not become cold.

If they are prevented from becoming cold, the warm moist air will not condense on them and cause dust to stick to them.

How to Repair a Large Drywall Hole EBook

To remove dust streaks on ceilings and walls the best solution is to repaint the surfaces after first washing off the dust with warm water and a detergent. In some cases, you may be able to forgo the repainting, but in most cases it’s the only true way to permanently mask the shadowed dust streaked ceiling stains.

For information on repairing a large drywall hole, see the “How to Repair a Large Drywall Hole” Ebook from  The “How to Repair a Large Drywall Hole” Ebook provides step-by-step instructions on how to repair your damaged wall so that it looks as good as new.

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