When a leak shows up on your wall or in your ceiling the main problem happened quietly and only now snowballed to your attention. Although these may seem like common sense, we want to provide a few simple steps that could save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars in repair.
What Should I Do When I See Water Leaking From My Ceiling?
- Poke a hole in it. As the circle of water in the ceiling expands, take a screwdriver, a drywall saw or any sharp utensil and poke a hole in the middle of the stain. This simple hole drains the built up water, allows the drywall to air out and many times will stop the water damage from expanding across the ceiling.
- Catch the water. This seems silly and like common sense, but we see it enough to mention it. Call us to stop the source, but don’t forget to take care of the moisture on the floor and surrounding area. Put a bucket or container under the drip and use towels to soak up the rest. If the leak is bad enough the container fills up, check back and keep it emptied.
- Start the dying process and turn on a fan. Remove any wet items, such as furniture, and use fans, dehumidifiers, or heaters to help dry out the area and prevent mold and mildew growth. Make sure to properly ventilate the area. A simple floor fan can do amazing work in drying an area. Getting wet is usually not the main problem, it’s when things stay wet that the damage (and the repair bill) grows.
- Call a professional roof repair company. When it comes to roof repairs, it’s usually not a good idea to do it yourself (DIY), especially if the repair involves addressing leaks that are showing water damage on your ceiling.
How to Identify the Cause of a Leak
Prior to taking steps to remedy your home of the effects of a leak, consider the importance of identifying the cause of the leak. This will ensure that more damage doesn’t occur from a persistent leak.
1. Check the attic for signs of water damage. Any contractor who inspects your leak should be getting into the attic and finding the exact entry point of the water.
2. Once on the roof, measure to the point of damage that you found inside the attic space. At this point the leak should become obvious.
3. If it’s not easily seen at this point, you will need to start gently lifting shingles or looking behind siding to find signs of damage. You will be looking for things like water stains and rusty nails.
4. Typically, leaks will come from poorly installed roofing material such as flashing, gutters, shingle over lay and more. So it’s important to also inspect everything in the surrounding area, such as leaky vent pipes and chimneys, to see if the leak is possibly traveling from a few feet away.
You might also wonder about a topic that we go into more detail on in another blog:
What To Do After You’ve Identified The Source of Water Damage on Your Ceiling
Document the Damage: Take photos and make detailed notes about the extent of the water damage for your records. This can be helpful if you need to make an insurance claim.
Contact Your Insurance Company: Depending on your policy, some or all repairs may be covered. It’s best to contact your insurance company as soon as possible to understand your coverage and start the claims process if applicable.
Arrange for a Professional Assessment: Even if you’ve identified the source yourself, it’s important to get a professional to inspect the extent of the damage. You will want an inspector to look at your roof, attic, and check for hidden damage, mold, and other issues.
Professional Repairs: Depending on the source and extent of the water damage, you may need to involve professionals for repair. This might involve a plumber to fix leaky pipes, a roofer to repair a leaky roof, or a general contractor to replace damaged ceiling materials.
Repaint and Finish: Once everything is dry, repaired, and inspected, you can finish the process by repainting the ceiling or applying any necessary finish.
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Article Updated May 10, 2023.