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How to Fix a Ceiling with Water Damage: 3 Effective Steps

Have you noticed spots, stains, discoloration, or sagging areas in your ceiling? If so, ceiling water damage could be the cause. 

For many homeowners, ceiling water damage is a nightmare scenario.

Fortunately, there are ways to protect your home, minimize the extent of the damage, and reclaim your space as quickly as possible after ceiling water damage.

As a leading Chicago-area restoration company, we help people recover from ceiling water damage daily, so we know what it takes to identify and address this unfortunate event.

In this blog, we’ll share our top tips to recover from ceiling water damage and prevent it from happening again.

Signs of Water Damage on Ceiling

signs of water damage on ceiling

Wondering how to identify water damage on your ceiling?

Look for these telltale signs:

  • Brown or discolored patches. The most common sign of ceiling water damage is brown or discolored patches on the ceiling itself. As the water damage spreads, the patch grows and develops new layers.
  • Mold. If you’ve noticed new green or black patches on your ceiling or walls, it’s likely mold caused by unseen water damage. As soon as you see signs of mold damage, contact a skilled restoration company for mold remediation since DIYing mold removal is dangerous and challenging. 
  • Doors that stop working. Sometimes, water from ceiling water damage spreads into the walls and door casings. As the wood absorbs the water, it swells and makes it so that doors stick or won’t open or close. 
  • Blistering or peeling in paint or wallpaper. When ceiling water damage spreads into the walls, it can cause wallpaper and trim to peel away from the walls or blister. In some cases, paint may buckle away from water-damaged areas. 
  • Sweating. Sometimes, water damage manifests as sweating, which looks like beads of water along the wall or patches of water on the ceiling of your home. 

While the signs of ceiling water are varied, it’s essential to act quickly whenever you notice any of the above. The faster you act to address water damage, the better off your home will be. 

What Causes Ceiling Water Damage?

ceiling water damage caused by pipe leak

Here are a few of the most common culprits:

1. Severe weather

Storms, hurricanes, heavy rain, snowstorms, ice damage, and other severe weather conditions can all damage your roof and cause water to back up under the eaves and shingles, eventually collecting in your ceilings or walls. 

2. Clogged gutters

Your gutters are designed to channel water away from your home. Unfortunately, they can’t do that if they’re clogged with dirt and debris. 

Over time, clogged gutters may collect standing water, which builds up and seeps through your roof or walls to damage the ceiling.

3. AC malfunctions

As your AC unit runs, it develops condensation that could damage your ceiling, especially if the unit’s drain pipe is clogged or the drain pan that sits beneath the unit is full.

4. Leaking pipes

Faulty pipes in your home’s ceiling can cause ceiling water damage. 

If drainage pipes, supply pipes, or other pipes leak, burst, or malfunction, it could cause flooding, damaging the ceiling and leading to expensive repairs.

5. Sprinkler systems

If you have an in-home sprinkler system that’s ever gone off or malfunctioned, it could cause water damage to your ceiling. 

How to Repair a Water-Damaged Ceiling


Wondering how to repair your water-damaged ceiling? Follow these tips:

1. Contain the damage

First, you need to stop the water flow and contain the damage. Unless you do this, the water can flow to other parts of your home and damage your property. 

With this in mind, follow these tips:

  • Turn off the water supply. If you know where the leak is coming from, shut off the water supply to the affected appliance or part of the house. If you can’t identify the source of the leak, shut off the water main for your entire home. 
  • Protect your furniture and belongings. Move all furniture and belongings away from the affected area and set up some pans or pails to collect dripping water.
  • Drain the leak (if possible). If you can pinpoint the area of the leak, you may want to drain it to prevent more extensive damage since drywall will absorb water and cause a leak to spread. To drain the leak, use a drill to create a hole in the ceiling drywall where the water can drip through. Place a tarp and some buckets on the floor to contain the water. 

2. Dry the area

Now that you’ve contained the damage and stopped the leak, you must dry the affected area. 

If the leak is minimal, you can soak up standing water with a wet-dry vacuum, mops, or towels and then place fans and dehumidifiers in the area to remove excess moisture from the air. 

If the leak is more extensive, it’s best to hire a professional restoration company like ServiceMaster of Lake Shore to help you dry the affected area. 

A professional team will have the knowledge, experience, and tools to remove all remaining moisture and prevent future problems like mold and mildew infestation.

3. Make the needed repairs

Once the area is dry, you’ll need to repair the damage caused by the water.  

If the damage was minimal, this might be as simple as replacing insulation and drywall or repainting or re-texturing walls. 

However, if the affected area is bulging or peeling or mold has started to grow, you’ll need to call a skilled restoration company to restore the site to its original condition. 

Who to Call for Help After Ceiling Water Damage

You may require professional help after ceiling water damage, but who should you call? Here are the three professionals you’ll want to reach out to:

1. Your insurance company

Most homeowners insurance policies cover ceiling water damage, so it’s essential to contact your policy provider as soon as you notice signs of moisture intrusion.

Your insurance provider will be able to help you walk through the process of filing a claim, so you can get the settlement you need to pay for repairs and restoration.

2. A roofing contractor

If your ceiling water damage came from a faulty roof, contact a roofing contractor to repair the issue. A roofing contractor can inspect your roof, identify the damage, and make repair recommendations, which will help you prevent ceiling water damage in the future. 

3. A professional restoration company

Last but not least, contact a professional restoration company like ServiceMaster of Lake Shore.

Even when ceiling water damage looks minimal, there could be more damage lurking below the surface.

Only a professional restoration company can identify and repair unseen damage so you can enjoy a clean, safe, mold-free home – even after water damage. 

How to Prevent Ceiling Water Damage

how to prevent ceiling water damage

It’s much easier to prevent future damage than repair existing ceiling water damage. With that in mind, follow these easy prevention steps:

  • Practice routine maintenance. To prevent ceiling water damage, maintain the high-risk appliances and spaces appropriately. This means investing in annual inspections for your HVAC system, checking for clogs in your AC unit’s drip pan, and having a plumber inspect and maintain your appliances at least once a year.
  • Clean your gutters. To prevent water backup or standing water issues, clean your gutters and downspouts at least twice a year – once in the spring and once in the fall. 
  • Add waterproofing solutions. Today, there are a variety of waterproofing solutions, including membranes, sealants, and coatings, that can help prevent water damage to your ceiling. Apply these sealants liberally to reduce the likelihood of water damage in your home.
  • Invest in moisture sensors. Moisture sensors are electronic devices you can embed in your home. When these sensors detect moisture, they sound an alarm, which allows you to act quickly to address the leak – before it becomes a significant problem. 
  • Fix all leaks promptly. Don’t let a dripping faucet or a leaky pipe go unrepaired. The faster you fix these issues, the less likely they are to cause water damage in your home. 

Has Your Home Experienced Ceiling Water Damage in Chicago or Suburbs? Let us Help You Restore Your Space!

Ceiling water damage is a stressful, unfortunate, and expensive experience. Fortunately, you don’t have to navigate it on your own. 

ServiceMaster of Lake Shore is here to help you address and repair ceiling water damage and restore your home to like-new condition. 

Ready to learn more about our team or how we can help you? Contact us today!