drain cleaning

What Is Causing Water Stains On My Wall And Ceilings?

Have you ever spotted a yellowish or brownish spot on your ceiling or wall? Maybe it also had some peeling paint or drywall that looks bubbly? That’s a sure sign of water damage.

But don’t panic. It could be something that happened just one time. Or, it could be a sign of a much larger issue and an ongoing problem that becomes much worse if it’s not fixed. That would be the time to get to the bottom of the problem. The more important warning we can give is not to ignore it.

First, Take Steps To Control The Water

Move belongings away from wall and ceiling water stains.  Put a bucket or plastic tarp under the water stain. Consider making a hole in the drywall with a drill or screwdriver so you can direct any water coming out into your bucket or onto your tarp.

You’re better off controlling the water flow than allowing it to run all over the area, and you’re going to have to replace that part of the drywall anyway.

Next, Find The Source of the Problem

The location of the water stain may hold a clue as to where the water is coming from.


Possible Water Stain Causes In A Ceiling

If it’s in the ceiling, it could be a roof leak, water spilling into an area from a clogged gutter, or damaged or loose flashing. Or it could be from a source inside.

Is there any area above that part of the ceiling that has plumbing, such as a bathroom, a radiator, a sink, or a laundry unit? Be aware that water can travel along boards and pipes, so the source of the leak may not be directly above where it’s showing up in the ceiling.

Possible Water Stain Causes In A Wall

If the spot is on the wall, chances are it's an older pipe that’s leaking or a newer one that’s had some kind of damage. It’s possible that an overhead leak would show up only on a wall, but not very likely. Again, do your best to find the source of the water.

Now, Bring in a Professional

A professional plumbing service company is your best bet to find and repair the source of the leak or to verify your DIY diagnosis. We don’t recommend you repair the leak on your own, as there’s a good chance it will return.

There’s usually quite a bit of repair needed to your ceiling or wall, and you want to avoid doing that more than once. Your plumber has the tools and knowledge to repair the leak or replace or seal any pipe or fittings that need it so the water stains don’t return.

Check Your Homeowners Insurance

If the damage is extensive and will be costly to repair, it’s a good idea to call your insurance company. There’s likely to be a substantial deductible, but if the cost of the repair exceeds that, it could be worth filing a claim.

Finally, Repair The Damage

Repairing the damage to your ceiling or wall may be a simple task that you can DIY, or it may mean replacing entire sections or the entire ceiling or wall and you may choose to hire a pro. It all depends on the extent of the damage.


Clean And Dry Everything Out

Make sure all the surfaces are clean, and allow everything to dry thoroughly before replacing or re-painting anything. You don’t want to put fresh, dry materials on wet or damp beams, joists, or framing.

Inspect for Mold

Check all surfaces for any mold that may have grown in the dampness. Remediate that immediately with bleach or by replacing the material. Hidden mold can cause serious damage later.

Prep the Area

It’s best to repair an area larger than the place where the water stain is. It’s easier to have a full view, have access to joists or framing, and blend in texture and paint in a larger area.

Replace and Repaint Damaged Drywall

You may just need to touch up the area with texture or spackle, prime, and paint. Or you may have to replace a section or more of drywall. It’s a good idea to start with a waterproof sealer before you re-texture and paint.

Is A Remodel Necessary?

It could be. If you’re having to tear out and replace large sections of walls, ceiling, underlying structure, and electrical, HVAC, or plumbing infrastructure, you essentially have to remodel the area.

Be aware, however, that if you’re filing an insurance claim, your insurance company is only responsible for restoring your home to how it was before the water damage, not for making any improvements. You’ll need to make that a separate bid and invoicing event from any contractors you use.

A professional plumbing company is your best and safest resource to minimize damage indicated by wall and ceiling water stains.


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