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Have you noticed a soft protrusion, stained spot, or peeling paint on your ceiling? Such signs are indicative of early water damage. Action is needed immediately to repair the damage and prevent more serious consequences for your home. Today, we take a look at how to fix a water-damaged ceiling.
If left, more and more water will continue to rot and disintegrate the structure. Worse, freezing can push apart key structural features in winter, leaving weakness after the ice thaws. Mold is also an important risk and will begin to grow within days of water damage. That’s a risk not only to the structure but also to the health of you, your family, and other residents.
We always advise seeking professional help in such situations. You do not want to deal with water damage alone. However, there are several things you should do immediately – and if you’ve got the relevant expertise, you can fix most minor damage yourself.
Let’s go through how to fix a water-damaged ceiling.
How to fix a water-damaged ceiling
The first step is action. That may sound obvious, but many people see signs of water damage – peeling paint, dark spots, or growing mold – and ignore it. Little do they know that the water is trickling across the ceiling and into the wall space or that rot is beginning to set in.
Here are key steps on how to fix ceiling water damage:
Prevent further damage
We’ve all seen people put buckets below the source of the water. That’s precisely what you need to do. If you’re lucky, the water will drip through the ceiling directly into the bucket. However, the water is likely covering your drywall. You will need to use a screwdriver or similar object to create a small hole in the ceiling through which the water can flow into your bucket.
That will prevent further damage to underlying floors, ceilings, and walls.
Locate the water source
You might think the answer is obvious: a roof leak. That is one potential cause, but not all water leaks occur immediately below the roof. There could be a bathroom above or another apartment. Even if the leak is at the top of the house, other potential causes include extreme weather, open windows, clogged gutters, leaky pipes, dryer vent condensation, and more.
Wherever the leak has occurred, you will need to investigate the space directly above. Identifying the exact source can be challenging. You should follow the damage to pinpoint the source. You may even have to remove drywall to find the water leak.
Professional water damage restorers can be hired if you cannot discover the water leak. They use specialized tools to find areas affected by moisture, leading them to the original cause.
Stop the water
After identifying the source of the leak, stop it. That could mean turning off water to affected pipes, de-clogging guttering, or fixing an opening in your roof. The sooner you stop the water, the quicker you can start to dry the ceiling and prevent further damage.
Dry the ceiling
Once you’ve stopped the water, the repair process can begin. To prevent mold and bacterial growth, you need to dry the entire affected area. In some cases, where a huge leak has occurred, a section of the ceiling may need to be removed to increase airflow. Minor leaks, however, tend to dry on their own.
Cover underlying furniture with tarps and towels while the drying occurs to prevent water drips and debris from damaging your belongings. You can also use fans and heaters to dry specific areas – always be careful when you use electricals near water.
Remove the damaged sections
If you’re sure the damaged sections are fully dry; you’ll need to remove the damaged parts. If no major damage occurred from a minor leak that was stopped early, you will not need to remove the damaged sections.
If it was severe, you will need to cut out the damaged drywall and paint where the damage is significant. You should remove all parts of the ceiling where it is peeling, bulging, or stained. Use a keyhole saw to cut out damaged sections in a rectangular shape; these can be replaced with a drywall patch.
Repair the ceiling
Finally, you can begin repairing the ceiling. You should use sandpaper to smooth any rough edges and remove any ridges or bumps. Small holes can be filled with joint compound – dry it and sand it down for a smooth finish.
Bigger holes, where you have removed sections of drywall, should be filled with a new piece of drywall. Start with a piece that’s around 2 inches wider and longer than the hole. Use a utility knife to cut it down to size, then use an adhesive to glue it into place. Apply a layer of joint compound, and sand down for a smooth result.
Paint the ceiling
Following repairs, apply a primer to your finished work. Let this dry; and follow by painting the ceiling with a matching shade. You will want to keep the windows open while painting and priming for proper ventilation.
For the smallest repairs, you need only paint the affected section. Where the damage is extensive, we advise painting the whole ceiling for an even finish. These are just a few of the steps for how to fix ceiling water damage.
Hire a professional to fix your water-damaged ceiling
Learning how to fix a water-damaged ceiling is likely to be a significant hassle for most. That’s where we come in. We’re highly experienced in water damage repair. We use infrared thermal imaging to detect signs of water damage you cannot see – behind walls, under floors, and in ceilings. We’ll then stop the source of the leak and fix the problem.
After we’re finished, your damaged areas will look as good as new – and there’s no risk of mold. That’s our guarantee. Contact us at (844) 979-8500 for immediate help.