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How to Fix Water Stains on the Ceiling

[fa icon="calendar"] Oct 20, 2017 10:02:00 AM / by Krystal Coddington

Krystal Coddington

how to fix water stains on the ceiling

Your home is many people’s most valuable investment, so when you see an unsightly stain, it causes some concern. There may not be an obvious flood situation to blame, but you must investigate the water damage to ensure that roof repairs or plumbing repairs are not needed.

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What Causes Brown Water Stains on My Ceiling?

You are looking at some form of water damage and possible mold growth. Mold almost always needs some moisture to develop, so you must find the leak. Determining the source of the water damage is notoriously tricky because water travels. The brown color can come from the mineral deposits of the roofing material or is an indication of mold.

  • If you are living in a one-story building, then you may have a roofing issue. The shingles could have cracked, cupped, or curled in any area. Alternatively, the drainage of your HVAC unit could leak in the piping causing the water to seep under the shingles.
  • Make sure the sealant around your skylight is adequate so that air and water don’t seep through.
  • If you have a two-story home with a bathroom on the second floor, then it is worth investigating the sealants and grout in your bathroom. Grout does not remain waterproof and must be resealed after some time.  
  • Check to see if you have clogged gutters because that will cause leaks. Keeping them clean no matter the season is essential.
  • Condensation can be a cause if your home is not suitably vented or insulated. Warm and humid air seeps in and begins to collect in corners. It is mainly an issue with houses that have attics or whole home humidifiers.

Related: How To Detect a Roof Leak With No Attic Access

How to Fix Water Stains on the Ceiling

Address the root cause of the problem before you deal with the aesthetics of the stain. Otherwise, the water damage will continue, and you will have more ceiling stains as well as a potential threat to the integrity of your home. Your best bet to find the source is during an active leak, but you may get lucky.

  • Test your grout with a couple of drops of water on the groove. If after a few minutes the water disappears, then you will have to seal the grout because the water is seeping in. It does not take a flood of water to cause problems for you.
  • Reseal any cracked caulking, fix toilet issues, or tighten leaky sink pipes if the leak is coming from the bathroom.
  • If it’s a shingle issue, pry out the damage shingle so that you can carefully replace it with a new one. Measure out the new shingle to cover the area and overlap onto the neighboring shingle. Then use shingle nails to hammer it into place.
  • Seal off any air leaks in your attics and then if necessary add more insulation. Make sure your humidifier is set to 30% or below to avoid excess condensation.

Related: How to Repair a Roof Leak in 3 Easy Steps

For more complicated issues, it’s best to trust your home to the hands of an experienced plumber or roofer, depending on the cause of the water damage. Once the cause of the problem has been addressed, it’s time to get rid of those pesky ceiling stains.

  • First, treat the stain with a mixture of bleach and water. One part bleach to three parts water will do the trick in getting rid of the mold. Mold can lead to respiratory issues and irritate allergies. Protect your sensitive eyes and use gloves when wiping the solution off and drying the area.
  • When you are ready to paint the area, make sure you use an oil-based and mold resistant paint. These paints are often water-insoluble, so water stains cannot get through. Whether your ceiling is smooth or textured, opt for a non-reflective finish when selecting a cover-up paint.

Do not just live with the stain because it is neatly hidden in the second pantry that is used for storage. If you are looking at multiple points of stains, then it is time to call a roofing company or a plumbing company that can professionally detect and repair the problem.

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Krystal Coddington

Written by Krystal Coddington