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What Should I Do about a Water Stain on the Ceiling?

Posted on: May 15, 2017


One of the trickiest things about home plumbing is how difficult it is to notice problems like small pipe leaks because most of the plumbing is hidden from sight. You instead must rely on deduction, using smaller signs that your home is experiencing something like pipe leaks or slab leaks. When you have any doubt about the performance of your household plumbing system, then it’s time to contact our licensed plumbers to look into the matter.

There is one obvious warning sign of plumbing problems most people recognize: a large, spreading stain on the drywall of the ceiling. It’s unattractive, sure, but it may also be a major threat to the building material in the house, lead to the growth of mold and mildew, and waste significant amounts of water. In most cases with water stains on the ceiling, you’ll need to call for professional plumbing repairs in Durham, NC to fix the trouble.

Reasons for Stains on the Ceiling

The most likely cause (although not the only cause) for this type of water stain is a leaky pipe above. What room is located directly over the spot on the ceiling? If it’s a bathroom, then you’ve probably found the source of the problem. The stain might be from leaking pipes, but could also come from water leaking around the base of the toilet due to a decayed wax ring or loose sealing around the shower of bathtub. You can rely on our plumbers who are familiar with bathroom plumbing to find out what’s caused the leak and where it’s coming from.

The second part of that is more difficult than it sounds. The leaking pipe or appliance doesn’t necessarily have to be right over the water stain. Water can run along wooden beams, or seep through insulation and end up in a different place from the original leak. This is another reason you want licensed plumbers on the job. They’ll have the best leak detection equipment available to ensure they find the leaking pipe and repair it without causing extensive damage to the floor or the ceiling.

Another reason for these leaks coming from the upper floor of a house is poor pipe installation. Inexperienced plumbers often perform inferior caulking on bathroom plumbing pipes, and the caulking goes bad leading to leaks. We recommend having our plumbers do repiping to fix the mistakes the earlier plumbers make. This is the best long-term solution when you have bad piping.

If there isn’t any room above the water spot, or you live in a one-story house, then the issue might not be plumbing but a leaky roof. In that case, you’ll need a roofing contractor to handle the issue—and that’s also a job we can take care of. It may also be a good idea to have our plumbers check to make sure that you aren’t actually experiencing a plumbing problem.

The bottom line: don’t ignore the water stain on the ceiling. If you shrug it off as unattractive but not a big deal, you’ll soon be dealing with a ceiling that’s falling apart, or even collapse from furnishings from above. And you’ll be wasting water as well. Get our plumbers (or roofers) on the job ASAP.

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