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Question DetailsAsked on 6/9/2017

Pine sap is dripping from my 3 season room ceiling. We had our pine trees cut and kiln dried over 25 years ago.

How can we clean the ceiling and keep the rustic look of my room

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1 Answer


Kiln Drying does not stop sap - it will reliquify and run whenever it get hot or humid enough - a main reason sappy or knotty pine/spruce is not recommended for cathedral/vaulted ceiling finishes.

Rubbing alcohol will dissolve it readily - wipe toward the source to avoid spreading it further around the area, and do a quick wet rag/paper towel short soak (5-10 seconds) then wipe to remove some, then let it evaporate to avoid (hopefully) damaging any stain or clear coat. Work around the trouble areas in a circuit, coming back for another pass on thicker/gummier areas as needed not more frequently than about 5 minutes drying interval to avoid soaking the wood/finish with the alcohol. Should not (with limited applications like that) hurt normal oil based stains or clear coats, will remove most water based ones, will definitely remove shellac and some older brand varnishes.

And unless you can direct real serious ventilation at the work area, you should probably have a half-mask respirator with normal chemical cartridges (about $30-50 for a 3-M with a set of cartridges) because you will have alcohol fumes ungulfing you when working overhead like that. And remember it is flammable - no turning ceiling lights or fans on until it has evaporated a good 30 minutes or so after last use.

If this is a new problem after 25 years of being OK, I would look for possible insulation or leak maybe promoting the sap flow - also taste it to be sure it is not honey from a hive in the attic.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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