You’re minding your own business one day when you notice something troubling: a moisture stain on the ceiling of your home or a slow drip of water pooling on your floor.
Now, you’re stressed about the cause of the leak, concerned about hidden water damage, and wondering who to call.
Don’t worry – you’re not alone.
Here at ServiceMaster of Lake Shore, we help people in the Chicago area deal with water leaks daily, so we know what it takes to address and repair the damage.
In this blog, we’ll discuss who you should call when you notice a water leak in the ceiling and what steps to take next.
Signs You May Have a Water Leak
Not sure how to tell if you have a water leak in the ceiling? Look for these telltale signs:
- Musty smells. Slow water leaks sometimes cause mold and mildew to grow in hidden places, like wall voids. When this happens, the first sign is usually a damp, musty smell in your space.
- Signs of mold and mildew. Sometimes, you can see and smell mold. After water damage, mold growth usually looks like a black, green, or gray stain, specks of black, white, green, brown, or orange, or a patch of furry black growth. If you’ve noticed mold damage, hiring a skilled team to remove it is essential since mold presents a series of health risks.
- Stained floors or ceilings. Water damage may cause discoloration in affected areas, like ceilings and floors. This discoloration may look like streaking or oblong dark or tan blotches. Sometimes, you may also notice blistering or peeling paint and wallpaper.
- Dripping water or puddles. Last but not least, look for dripping or pooling water, which are sure signs of a water leak in your ceiling. Keep a close eye out for slow leaks that originate in the ceiling and migrate down the drywall before reaching the floor.
Who Should You Call for a Water Leak in the Ceiling?
Who you should call for a water leak depends on where the water leak originates.
Here’s what we recommend:
1. Your insurance company
Before you do anything else, contact your insurance company, notify them of the damage, and get a claim number.
This step is critical to get insurance reimbursement for the damage.
If you’re unsure where to start, a restoration company like ServiceMaster of Lake Shore team can help you navigate the insurance process.
2. Roofing contractor (for leaks on the top floor) OR a plumber (for leaks on the lower level)
If you have a water leak in the ceiling of your home’s top floor, your roof is probably leaking.
In this case, you should call a roofing contractor, who will inspect your roof, identify the damage, and make repair recommendations.
Common signs of a leaky roof include the following:
- Damaged flashing or shingles.
- Water spots on the ceiling of your top floor.
- Dampness, condensation, and moisture buildup in the attic.
- Water dripping from the ceiling.
If your roof isn’t leaking, the water is likely coming from somewhere else. If you live in a multi-story home and notice signs like wet or stained ceilings, soggy drywall, or pooling water, a plumbing issue (like a burst pipe) is likely to blame.
In this case, you’ll need to call a professional plumber, especially if you can’t identify the source of the leak on your own.
A plumber will be able to identify water leaks in hidden areas like wall voids and make needed repair recommendations.
Here are a few additional signs that a plumbing leak caused your water damage:
- You hear water rushing or dripping behind walls or in your ceiling.
- Your utility bills have recently increased.
- Your water pressure or water temperature is suddenly low or unpredictable.
- Your area has recently experienced extreme cold.
- You live in an older home.
- You can’t identify other causes of water damage, like roof problems or severe weather.
3. Water damage restoration company
If you’re in the Chicago area, call the team at ServiceMaster of Lake Shore.
We can work alongside your plumber or roofing contractor to provide comprehensive restoration services that help you get life back to normal.
Why Should I Call a Professional?
If you’ve experienced a water leak in your ceiling, we recommend contacting a skilled restoration company as quickly as possible rather than trying to DIY the repairs.
- Expertise and experience. A plumbing issue behind your walls or a leak in your roof are significant problems, and they require the expertise of a professional. In most cases, it’s impossible to fix these problems on your own, and trying will only put your home at increased risk of further damage and subsequent issues, like mold growth.
- Comprehensive tools and services. If you’ve experienced water damage, fixing the issue is usually a multi-step process. Fortunately, a team of restoration professionals can work alongside a plumber or roofing contractor to fully repair and restore your home – replacing soaked building materials like drywall and flooring and providing all needed remediation services from start to finish.
- Convenience and safety. You’re a busy person, and the last thing you need is to spend your free time repairing your water-damaged ceiling. Fortunately, trusting the job to a professional restoration company like ServiceMaster of Lake Shore means you can focus on living your life while our team cleans and restores your home until it’s in like-new condition. For your peace of mind, we’ll also assist with other tasks, like helping you communicate with your insurance company and file a claim for the damage.
- Prevention of future water damage. In addition to repairing your current water damage, a restoration team will work with you to provide recommendations to prevent future water damage from causes like plumbing issues, roof malfunctions, and severe weather.
What to Expect During the Repair Process
What happens when you hire a restoration team to repair your ceiling leak?
Here’s the process most teams follow:
All reputable restoration companies start water leak repair jobs with an inspection.
During this inspection, the restoration team will identify the source and severity of the leak, pinpoint underlying issues like poor gutter drainage or old pipes, and make repair and restoration recommendations.
As part of this step, the team will also provide a detailed quote for repair costs.
2. Cleanup and repair
During the next phase of the process, the team will focus on cleaning up and repairing the damage.
They’ll start by removing all standing water, drying and dehumidifying the affected area, removing items and building materials that can’t be saved, cleaning and sanitizing affected surfaces, and preparing the site for restoration.
Next, the team will begin the restoration part of the job. During this phase, they’ll replace damaged building materials like drywall and flooring,
3. Prevention recommendations
Finally, the team will close the job by inspecting their work and providing follow-up recommendations to help you prevent water leaks in your ceiling in the future. We’ll share a few of those top tips in the next section.
How to Prevent Future Water Leaks in the Ceiling
Preventing water leaks in the ceiling is much easier than repairing them.
With that in mind, here are a few of our top tips for stopping water damage before it starts:
- Invest in regular roof inspections. Roof damage is one of the most common causes of water leaks in the ceiling. To prevent this, invest in regular roof inspections by a professional roofing contractor. This allows you to identify roof and repair malfunctions before they cause a leak.
- Ensure proper insulation and ventilation in the attic. Good ventilation prevents moisture attic water damage caused by buildup and condensation, while adequate insulation helps keep water out during severe weather or storms. If you live in an older home or it’s been a while since you checked and updated your attic’s insulation and ventilation, now is a great time to do it.
- Clean and maintain gutters. Your gutters serve an essential purpose: they catch water and direct it away from the home. To prevent water backup and other problems that could lead to water leaks, clean and inspect your gutters at least twice a year.
- Trim trees. If you have trees near your home, trim and maintain them regularly. Rogue branches or limbs could come down on your roof during a storm, leaking to leaks and subsequent roof damage.
Are You Dealing with a Leaky Ceiling in Chicago, IL, or the Suburbs? We can Help!
Is your ceiling leaking? Have you noticed telltale signs of water damage? If so, it’s time for you to get the help you need.
ServiceMaster of Lake Shore is a comprehensive water damage cleanup company serving Chicago and the surrounding areas.