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We moved in 2 years ago into a new build. Just today I’ve noticed this discoloration on the ceiling. Directly above it is the master bath shower stall.

My husband thinks this is a bad patch work. I’m just a little worried since we are both first time home owner and both not very handy at all.

I would like second/third opinions from someone that is more knowledgeable than us.

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  • It's a bit difficult to tell from a photo but it looks like water damage to me. I don't like coincidences so the fact that it's below a shower leads me to strongly suspect water leaking. The only way to tell for sure is to inspect it. You might try some moisture % reading with a meter and a "borescope" through a small hole before you start opening up drywall. – jwh20 Nov 17 '20 at 18:56
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    The fact that you can see an outline of what looks like a panel removed is also suspicious. Perhaps there was a previous leak prior to your taking possession and they "patched" it. – jwh20 Nov 17 '20 at 18:57
  • Is there a shape to it or is it just color? Could just need a good primer and paint. – isherwood Nov 17 '20 at 20:34
  • Then I bet it was opened to repair plumbing and patched back in. Whether there was water present isn't terribly relevant at this point. Single incidents aren't usually a long-term problem. – isherwood Nov 17 '20 at 20:44
  • @jwh20 thank you for your input. I suspect it’s water damage too since it’s below the shower. We will get someone out to inspect it just in case... it’s very suspicious since we’re the first owner of this home. Very disappointed with the work/builder so far. Sigh – Sammy Nov 17 '20 at 21:12
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It is both. Probably.

A section of drywall was removed to fix a leak. Perhaps the leak has returned and now moisture has migrated into the seams of the resectioned area causing discoloration. However user DMoore has never seen such a thing and his reputation is beyond reproach.

So it could be that a section of drywall was left out during drywall install to leave access to the underside of a shower that had not yet been hooked up.
This was done in my house when the plumber was on vacation and the drywall installation had to proceed.

To be certain that it is active leak use a moisture meter to determine that this area is significantly higher in moisture content than other areas in the ceiling.

If it is wet a similar cut out will need to be made so that whatever is leaking( most likely the drain) can be fixed. Then a new patch can be made.

Followed with a stain blocking primer and repaint the ceiling.

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    This is obviously not the right answer. If there were water damage the ceiling would be yellow and have spotting. There would not be a tape line around the patch that was put there. This is not right - you should remove this. I have never seen a water stain in my life that is a rectangle. – DMoore Apr 17 at 6:48

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