When water gets into plaster or drywall ceilings, the damage caused can be extensive. Repairs are often harder to make than those needed when repairing drywalls – for example because of mold – partly because everything is above your head. And knowing how to repair water damaged ceiling is only the first step: you’ll also need to uncover the source of the problem and tackle that, too.
The common causes of water damaged ceiling
There are several reasons why ceilings are prone to water damage. The most common are:
- Rain coming in through the roof
- A leaking pipe in the attic space
- A leak in the water tank
In all cases, water drips onto the top of the ceiling and seeps through. It’s usually a slow process, with the damage developing gradually. By the time you notice the tell-tale coffee colored stains, you already need to take pretty drastic action.
Water finds the quickest route downhill, and when it comes to drywall ceilings that usually means through the seam between panels. Damage on plaster ceilings develops differently – the water forms a pool and begins to soak into the surface. Eventually it leaks straight through and drips appear on the ceiling.
What to do first when you want to know how to repair water damaged ceiling
The discoloration of a ceiling that is suffering water damage is pretty ugly, and you’ll need to tackle the damage quickly to stop it becoming more serious. The ceiling material is quickly degraded, and if it is left more than a couple of days you’ll find mold starts to form.
A word of warning here: mold can be hazardous to your health, so if the ceiling damage looks bad you should have a professional come in and test for mold.
Assuming there is no mold present, take the following steps to make a repair:
1. Get into the attic and find the leak
Put a bucket under the leak and mop up excess water. If you can’t access the attic space, place a bucket under the drip from the ceiling. Punch a hole in the ceiling so that the pool of water above drains away.
2. Repair the leak
Though your inclination may be to tackle the ceiling immediately, unless you fix the leak first then you’ll find yourself back at square one and the water damage is likely to get worse. You may need to hire a roofing contractor or plumber to do this work.
Now allow the ceiling to dry.
3. Repair the ceiling
If the damage is minimal, you may be able to remove flaking with a putty knife before patching. Then apply stain sealer before repainting.
4. Repairing holes in the ceiling
If the ceiling is more severely damaged, then you will need to cut away the damage to the point where the ceiling material is sound. To fill in the hole that has been left, cut a piece of pegboard that will go through the hole but overlap above.
Loop a piece of wire through the pegboard to create a handle.
Cover the underside of the pegboard with drywall compound, and then pull the pegboard down hard to the upper side of the ceiling. Use pencil or piece of wood inserted in the wire ‘handle’ to hold the pegboard in position.
When the drywall compound is dry, remove the pencil, cut away the wire, and apply two more coats of compound. Each time, allow the compound to dry. Finally, sand down, seal, and paint.
While it’s perfectly possible for DIY repairs to do the job and last a long time, in cases where damage is widespread, you’ll need to get a professional who knows how to repair water damaged ceiling to do the work. The repair will be guaranteed, and you’ll never know that you once had a small swimming pool sitting above your head.
For more information, contact us today – we’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will be happy to help.