A ceiling leak is easy to see. Water spots or a sagging ceiling alert homeowners to existing water damage, possibly from a roof leak. Noticing the water damage should prompt homeowners to repair the leak. The ceiling will eventually dry, but drying times will vary based on the equipment used.
Water damage to a ceiling can be caused by various factors, such as roof leaks or plumbing problems. Most ceiling water damage leads to a slow drip of moisture, which stains the ceiling. Less often, major leaks force a gush of water through the ceiling within minutes.
Roof leaks, just like plumbing issues, can occur at any time of year, regardless of season. Spring and summer thunderstorms can cause rainwater to seep through damaged shingles and enter the interior parts of the home. Ceiling water damage is the inevitable result.
The winter season, too, can lead to extensive roof leaks and subsequent water damage. Ice dams form under shingles when temperatures fluctuate, leading to a cycle of freezing and thawing. A ceiling located below the attic will be the first to show signs of a roof leak.
What are signs of a ceiling water leak?
1. Sagging Ceiling
A water damaged ceiling shows several visible cues. A sagging ceiling is one warning sign that water has saturated the ceiling material, thereby weakening it. Water carries substantial weight, and the sheer weight of water causes the ceiling to sag.
Ceiling water damage is a sign of moderate water damage. Drop tile ceilings are mostly affected; however, drywall and plaster ceilings are also susceptible to sagging from water weight. Ceiling water damage is a critical issue that warrants immediate repair.
2. Cracked Plaster
Cracked plaster or peeling paint are additional signs of ceiling leaks. Small leaks develop, saturating the ceiling over prolonged periods. Gradually, the paint on the ceiling will bubble or peel as a result of the water damage. Cracks may develop as the plaster shrinks and expands.
3. Water Spots
A brownish or yellowish stain on the ceiling reveals water damage. Water spots indicate that the moisture has had time to dry. Rings may form when the water gradually spreads from the source. Despite the water spots feeling dry to the touch, they reveal a persistent water leak.
What are causes of roof leaks?
1. Damaged Shingles
Fixing the ceiling water damage starts with identifying the cause of the leak. When the leaky ceiling is located under the roof, check the rooftop for damaged shingles. Improperly installed shingles, storm damage or wind damage can compromise the integrity of the shingles.
2. Rooftop Holes
Roof leaks can be an outcome of holes. Punctures from fallen tree branches can allow rainwater to seep into the home. Or, removing objects installed on the roof, such as old antennas or a satellite dish, can expose holes. It is important to patch any holes to prevent roof leaks.
3. Aging Roof
Normal wear and tear can also cause roofs to eventually leak. Roof materials gradually become brittle after extended periods of time. As a roof naturally deteriorates, it no longer protects the home from water intrusions. A common asphalt roof lasts approximately 20 years.
4. Vents, Skylights and Chimney
Improperly installed vents, skylights or chimney can allow water to leak through the roof, especially when the features are not installed with a watertight seal. Homeowners may even need to reseal the gaps around these features to ensure continual protection from leaks.
How do homeowners dry out the ceiling?
Before drying out a water damaged ceiling, pinpoint the cause of the leak. If the ceiling water damage is the result of a roof leak, repair the roof right away. Fixing the ceiling water damage without repairing the roof will allow further and more extensive ruin in the future.
Once the rooftop leak is repaired, the ceiling should be dried out immediately. Delays in drying the ceiling will encourage mold growth and additional damage. Running ordinary fans will dry out the ceiling, but the downside of this approach is that it will take days or weeks to dry.
A quicker solution is to rent high-volume fans and a structural drying dehumidifier to dry the ceiling. Direct the fan blades toward the ceiling, raising the fans up, if possible. Set up the dehumidifier under the wet ceiling. Empty the dehumidifier on a regular basis during the drying process.
Utilizing powerful equipment will dry a water damaged ceiling within six hours to one day. Once the ceiling appears dry, test the thoroughness of the dried ceiling with a moisture meter. Never rely on sight or touch alone to determine if the ceiling is fully dry.
Water Damage Restoration from ServiceMaster
Water damage of any type or extent is problematic and best repaired by experienced professionals, like those from ServiceMaster. Our skilled technicians are equipped with the advanced tools, machinery, and training to successfully restore your property after water damage.
ServiceMaster specialists are IICRC-certified and insured. Local home and business owners have full confidence in our effective water damage restoration techniques and quality customer service. Our water damage restoration crews work quickly to limit the spread of damage.
Technicians arrive promptly after your call to assess the extent of water damage. Our powerful equipment extracts all excess moisture and dries the affected areas with speed. We also provide mold remediation, if necessary, and top-notch reconstruction services to restore water-damaged materials.
Water damage may be caused by a range of natural or manmade disasters. Natural flooding, pipe bursts, appliance leaks, roof leaks and sewage backups are just a few of the many events that can cause unwanted water damage.
ServiceMaster’s water restoration crews stand by 24 hours a day to respond to emergency water damage crises. Our services are comprehensive and meet the needs of home and business owners in Southeast Nebraska.