Most homeowners have experienced water coming through their ceiling before. The typically course of action usually involves setting up pots, pans, and whatever else we can find to catch the water drips coming from the ceiling. However, after the water has stopped flowing, many of us don't know what, if anything, to do next. Will the ceiling dry itself out or does it need to be repaired?
While it may seem obvious, the first thing you will want to do is find and fix the source of the water. It doesn't do you any good to repair your ceiling if it is going to continue getting wet again in the future. You will also want to make sure your ceiling is properly dried out to prevent the growth of harmful mold or mildew. After the ceiling is dry, the damage repairs can begin. The repair process typically involves replacing wet drywall, patching holes, and repainting your ceiling.
The top 6 causes of ceiling water damage in Denver
Knowing these common causes will help you pinpoint the exact source of your leak when it occurs. The list below includes the 6 most common causes of ceiling water damage that we see in Colorado:
For example, if water starts dripping through your ceiling during a heavy rainstorm you will want to check your gutters or roof for leaks. This means climbing into your attic to look for wet plywood, framing, and/or insulation.
On the other hand, if you notice water coming through your ceiling after using an upstairs washing machine then you are probably dealing with a faulty appliance.
If the source of the water is not obvious you will need to remove the wet drywall on your ceiling first. Once you have opened up your ceiling you will be better able to hunt down the culprit. This is often required for leaky pipes for instance.
Your homeowners insurance will cover the cost of repairing your water damage if the source of the water was any of the causes listed above.
How to tell when your ceiling needs to be repaired
After you've eliminated the source of the water leak, you will want to asses whether your ceiling needs to be repaired. This will depend on both the category of water, the extent of the water damage, and whether there is any structural damage.
If the water is clean, and the overall amount of water was relatively small, then your ceiling probably won't require major repairs. You will probably only need to make sure that it is properly dried out to prevent mold growth in the future. Major flooding or Category 3 water damage means that all of affected ceiling material will likely need to be replaced.
Some signs that your ceiling will need to be repaired include:
How to repair a water damaged ceiling - 4-step process
Step 1: Drain any excess water
Before beginning to fix a water damaged ceiling you will want to make sure there is no standing water trapped above your ceiling. If your ceiling is bulging you will want to place a large container under the lowest point and poke a hole in it. This will allow any excess water above to drain out.
Step 2: Remove damaged wet drywall
Once the water has stopped draining you will need to cut out all of the saturated drywall in your ceiling. Start by removing the most obviously damaged drywall or plaster. Work your way outward from the center of the damage until you have removed all of the wet materials.
Step 3: Dry the area above your ceiling
After the wet drywall has been removed you will want to make sure the area above your ceiling is completely dry. This will require airing it out with industrial-grade air movers and dehumidifiers for 2-3 days. A water restoration professional will also use high-tech moisture sensors to verify the ceiling is completely dry before beginning the repair process.
Step 4: Patch the damaged area
When the area above the ceiling is dry you can begin the repair process. This involves installing new trimming to screw the replacement drywall into. After installing a drywall patch joint compound can be applied with a putty knife to fill in any holes or gaps. Once the mud has dried it needs to be sanded down to smooth out any rough edges. Add texture to match your existing ceiling texture and then paint.
The following YouTube video does a good job walking you through the repair process:
The average water damaged ceiling repair cost
It is impossible to repair drywall that has become saturated or rotted out. Once the structural integrity of drywall has been compromised there is no bringing it back. This drywall will have to be cut out and replaced. The average cost for repairing a water damaged ceiling varies depending upon the square footage impacted and the category of water. However, drywall repairs for your average leaky roof, overflowing bathtub, or appliance malfunction will typically have a project cost of somewhere in the $500-$1,000 range.
Call a water damage restoration professional
If you are comfortable performing general home improvements you can attempt to perform a small repair on your own. However, if the damaged area is large, or the water source was unsanitary, you should call a professional water restoration company. If you're in Denver or anywhere along the Colorado Front Range you can call us at (720)-720-9594 and we can have a technician at your home in 60-minutes or less.
Professional restoration companies, like Denver Flood Repair, have highly trained technicians who are experienced at dealing with these types of water damaged ceiling repairs. They also have high-tech equipment specifically designed to dry out your ceiling and clean up any damage. Most water restoration professionals will provide you with a free cost estimate or inspection before starting the job. They can also help you determine whether the loss would be covered under your homeowners insurance policy.