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How Thermal Ghosting Occurs and What You Can Do about It

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Structural integrity is one of the most important aspects of any building. It ensures the building can withstand various environmental factors and remain safe for occupants and the property. Structural integrity is essential to prevent damage and ensure the longevity of the building. However, several factors can compromise the structural integrity of a building. One such factor is thermal ghosting.

Thermal ghosting is a phenomenon that occurs in buildings. It is the appearance of dark or discoloured patterns on walls and ceilings. These patterns are usually in the shape of studs or rafters. It is also known as “ghosting” because it appears like the ghost of a structure. Thermal ghosting is also called “thermal bridging” because it occurs when there is a break in the insulation, allowing heat to escape.  Thermal ghosting can signify a more significant problem, such as structural decay, mould growth, or poor ventilation. If left untreated, thermal ghosting can lead to significant structural damage, which can be expensive. Few people know how it works, so we will discuss the details in this article.

How Does Thermal Ghosting Occur?

Thermal ghosting occurs when there is a difference in temperature between the inside and outside of the building. When a building is heated, the air rises and moves towards the ceiling. The air then cools, causing moisture to condense on the walls and ceiling. The moisture then attracts dirt and dust particles, which stick to the walls and ceiling. Over time, these particles build up, creating dark patterns on the walls and ceiling, known as thermal ghosting.

Several factors can cause the build-up of dirt and dust particles on walls and ceilings, resulting in thermal ghosting. Some of these factors include:

Indoor Cigarette Smoking

Indoor cigarette smoking is a significant contributor to thermal ghosting. Smoking releases smoke particles and tar, which stick to the walls and ceiling. Over time, these particles build up, causing dark patterns on the walls and ceiling.

Scented Candles

Scented candles can also contribute to thermal ghosting. Burning candles release soot and other particles, which can stick to the walls and ceiling. Over time, these particles build up, causing dark patterns on the walls and ceiling.

Poor Ventilation

Poor ventilation is one of the leading causes of thermal ghosting. When a building is poorly ventilated, the air becomes stagnant, allowing moisture and particles to build up on the walls and ceiling. This can lead to the growth of mould and mildew, which can cause significant structural damage.

Ways to Avoid Thermal Ghosting

To avoid thermal ghosting, you can take the following measure:

Adequate Ventilation

Adequate ventilation is critical to preventing thermal ghosting. It ensures a continuous flow of air in the building, which helps remove moisture and particles from the walls and ceiling. Proper ventilation also helps prevent mould and mildew growth, which can also contribute to thermal ghosting.

Repair or Replace the Insulation

Insulation that is damaged, compressed, or wet can contribute to thermal ghosting. Repairing or replacing insulation in areas where it is damaged or ineffective is essential because this will help maintain a consistent temperature throughout the building and prevent cold spots from leading to thermal ghosting.

Seal Air Leaks

Air leaks around doors, windows, and other openings can contribute to thermal ghosting. It is essential to seal these leaks to prevent cold air from entering the building and causing temperature differences that can lead to thermal ghosting.

Avoid Excessive or Reduced Air Humidity

Excessive or reduced air humidity can lead to thermal ghosting because moisture can build up on the walls and ceiling when the air is too humid, leading to thermal ghosting. When the air is too dry, it can cause the walls and ceiling to crack, leading to significant structural damage. Maintaining the right air humidity level is essential to prevent thermal ghosting.

Hiring a Professional Plasterer

If you notice thermal ghosting on the walls and ceiling of your building, you must hire a professional plasterer. A professional plasterer can help to identify the cause of thermal ghosting and provide the right solution. They can also help repair any damage caused by thermal ghosting, ensuring the building remains safe and structurally sound.

However, you must carefully weigh your options because you must find one with adequate experience dealing with thermal ghosting and other related issues. Check their credentials, portfolio, and references to ensure they have the necessary skills and expertise to handle the job.

Additionally, ensure the plasterer uses high-quality materials and equipment for the best possible results. A good plasterer should also be able to provide you with a detailed cost estimate and work schedule so you know what to expect. License, insurance, and bond also matter to protect yourself from potential liabilities or damages.


Thermal ghosting is a common problem in homes and can be frustrating. For this reason, you must identify the root cause of the problem and take appropriate measures to correct it. This way, you can enjoy a comfortable and energy-efficient home without the unsightly effects of thermal ghosting.

If you’re looking for plasterers in Brisbane, We Plaster & Recruit can help you! Our professional plasterers will ensure your home’s plaster and drywalling needs are addressed for maximum comfort for an affordable price. Call us today at 11 641 139 568 to request a quote!

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