Water stains on ceilings / walls. Plumbing issues that can mean bigger problems #7

November 3, 2021
Discovering Water Stains on Ceilings and Walls

Discovering and Addressing Water Stains on Your Ceilings and Walls

You glance up on your ceiling or over at your wall and notice that there is a faint outline of a water stain. This issue is often caused by some sort of plumbing leak or a structural issue in the home. Not only can a water stain be an unattractive sight in your home, but this is a problem that should be addressed as soon as possible. Some detective work may be needed to figure out what’s going on behind the wall or above the ceiling, but repairing the problem early on can prevent mold growth, wood rot and permanent damage to the structure of your home.

Common Causes of Water Stains on Your Ceiling and Walls
It’s very likely that you have some sort of leaky pipe if you have noticed a water stain on your ceiling or wall. The pipe doesn’t have to be located directly above or behind that area. You could very well have a leak that is then running a stream of water along your framing or pipes. You could also have a leak in your roof that is then running along your rafters and onto your ceiling / walls. Even a more minor issue like condensation in your attic can lead to water stains. Don’t forget, there are a lot of sources of moisture in your home that could be the source of your issue. Things like your hot water heater, air conditioning lines and water lines should all be inspected. Even a tiny crack can lead to some pretty big water stains in a short amount of time.

Condensation in Your Attic
Proper ventilation inside of your attic is extremely important. If you don’t have enough air flow, this can lead to condensation which has the potential to flow down to your ceiling and walls. It’s a good idea to check your attic space periodically to ensure that everything looks ok. Sealing up cracks and gaps in the roof is ideal, as well as replacing any damaged or missing shingles.

Pipes That Leak
Any type of plumbing that you have above your ceiling or walls can lead to water stains. If you have an upstairs bathroom or laundry room, this is something to watch out for. Your pipes may be in tact, but one instance of your washing machine leaking can lead to some nasty water stains below.

Inspect Your Caulk and Grout
Over time, the caulk and grout that is around your shower, tub and sinks can crack and break down. This could allow water to get behind that area, and water stains can occur anywhere in the vicinity. You’ll want to re-caulk or re-grout these areas.

Repairing a Water Stain
Once you have had a professional address the issue that has caused your water stain you’ll need to take care of the stain itself. Before you worry about anything cosmetic, make sure that there isn’t any kind of mold or rot that needs to be addressed first.

Cleaning the stain is the first thing that you want to do. Prepare the area underneath the stain with a plastic drop cloth followed by some absorbent towels. Create a bleach solution of 50 percent water and 50 percent bleach. Use a soft sponge or rag to clean the stained area. Blot the area dry as best you can, and let it dry completely before proceeding.

Prepare your ceiling and protect your walls by applying painter’s tape around the perimeter. You’ll want to use an oil-based and mold-resistant primer paint to paint over the entire area. Anything that is water soluble could lead to more ceiling damage. You’ll likely end up painting the entire ceiling in that room so everything looks uniform. Once the primer is completely dry, you can paint your ceiling using a traditional ceiling paint of your choice. You may need a second coat in order to completely hide the stain if it was pretty severe. The same process can be used to repair a water stain on your wall.

Contact Us

If you notice one or more water stains in your home, it’s ideal that the problem is assessed by a professional as soon as possible. American Service Company can help determine what the problem is, we’ll take care of the issue for you. Give us a call at 804-739-4094 for more information, or you can send us a message.