Hot Topics: Bathroom Ceiling with Oily Yellow Spots

yellow oily drops on a bathroom ceiling

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mcannon1964 - Member


I am near completing a bathroom renovation in which I have repainted the entire room including the ceiling.

I used 2 coats of Zinsser Stain Blocker oil based primer and then followed up with 2 coats of Kilz ceiling paint.

I allowed 24 hours between coats for it to dry and then it was another 24 hours before we used the shower again.

The day after we started using the shower again, yellow oily 'drip spots' and patches appeared on the ceiling along the outer wall of the bathroom. (pictures attached). The spots were of an oily texture and smeared when wiped and the patches were subdued but visible.

NOTE: There were NO spots prior to me painting the ceiling.

Can anyone provide a reason for this issue?

NOTE: we do run a ceiling fan but still get some level of expected humidity in the bathroom with longer showers.

stickshift - Group Moderator

Zinsser is good primer but I have never used Kilz paint. That said, I would suspect the paint as being the issue. I would apply another coat of primer and then a different paint like Zinsser Perma White and see what happens.

mcannon1964 - Thread Starter


At this point I'm willing to try it.

The remodel is coming around and I really like how it looks...with exception to the ceiling...

marksr - Forum Topic Moderator

Is the exhaust fan in a different location? While I second the recommendation for PermaWhite I'm not sure the paint is the issue.

btw - welcome to the forums!

mcannon1964 - Thread Starter

The ceiling fan is located 2 to 4 feet from the stains.

I replaced it in the process of the remodel but other responses have me wondering if there is enough airflow into the bathroom.

marksr - Forum Topic Moderator

Does the fan have good suction? maybe the ductwork got compromised along the way ??

stickshift - Group Moderator

I assumed the variable of the fan had not changed, my bad on that.

mcannon1964 - Thread Starter

I didn't do anything with the ducting (only swapped out the fan) but I will definitely check on it.

Would the staining appear so quickly if it's a ventilation issue?

stickshift - Group Moderator

If you're getting condensation on the ceiling from the shower being used, it's certainly possible.

marksr - Forum Topic Moderator

The duct could have gotten bent or something inadvertently pushed up in it - stuff happens.

AllanJ - Member

Was the paint stirred adequately prior to use?

Did the paint (and also the primer) instructions say how long you would have to wait (for the paint to cure as opposed to just be dry to the touch) before it is safe to expose to water or rain?

mcannon1964 - Thread Starter

The suggestion was 24 hours, and I did wait for more than that.

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