Ceiling damage can happen for a number of reasons—heavy rains, busted pipes, poor
construction. Yet whatever the cause of water damage to your ceiling, the end result
is the same: you have an unsightly mess that needs attention right away.
However, the steps to repairing ceiling water damage are clear and straightforward.
Before you even think about painting or redecorating your room, start with repairs by
following these steps to get back to a flat, clean ceiling that’s ready for your decor
Identify what is causing the leak and move things away
Leaks can be caused by a variety of factors. If you suspect that your ceiling is leaking,
first identify what is causing the leak. If there are signs of water damage on the floor
or walls, then you know for sure that it’s a leak in your roof.
If there are no other signs of water damage, but you still hear dripping sounds
coming from above, then there may be a problem with your roof.
Take a look at the area where you’ve heard dripping sounds coming from and inspect
for any cracks or holes in the ceiling or walls. These could be signs of water damage
from a leaky roof or another source, such as an air conditioner or pipe bursting.
If there aren’t any obvious signs of leaks in your ceiling, then make sure to check
whether there’s an air conditioning unit installed in the attic (if so) and make sure it’s
working properly and not leaking anywhere else in your home.
Move anything that can be damaged by water out of the room where the ceiling
damage is occurring. Clothes, furniture, and electronics should be moved to another
room before beginning cleanup efforts.
Clean and thoroughly dry everything you remove from your room
Now that you’ve removed all the items from your room, it's time to clean and dry
them. First things first: all of the items in your room should be thoroughly dusted
with a damp cloth before they are dried. It’s also important that you do not use a fan
or any other type of device with an electric motor, as this can cause electrocution or
Remove wallpaper and paint the wallboard
The first step is to remove any wallpaper that may be hanging on your ceiling. To do
this, you will need a steamer or wallpaper remover spray. The second step is to
remove any nails and scrape off the glue with a putty knife. The third step is to sand
down the wallboard so that it’s smooth and even before painting it. Make sure to wait
for the paint to dry before moving onto the next steps!
Repair the walls with drywall tape where necessary
If you have any holes or water damage, repair them. You can use drywall tape to
cover cracks and holes. You should also use a rag to soak up excess moisture from the
wall before applying the drywall tape on top of it.
You can do this by cutting off the corner of your rag with scissors and then rubbing it
across the surface of your walls until it’s soaked through (you don’t want any drips!).
Then apply a thin layer over each spot that needs it—use enough pressure so that
there are no bubbles left behind when you pull away but not so much that they
spread out too far into other areas where they shouldn’t be!
Put on a second coat of drywall compound and smooth it out
To apply the second coat of compound, use a trowel to spread the mixture along the
entire length of each seam. Then smooth it out with a putty knife.
If there is any remaining gap in between your drywall and ceiling, cut in around
electrical outlets and light fixtures with a drywall knife. You’ll do this by drawing
lines along where you want to cut into your paper, then slicing through that line with
an angled stroke of your blade (like you would for trimming wallpaper).
From there on out, follow standard drywall installation practices: tape around pipes and wires; screw them into place after patching up holes; then sand down any rough edges
around those screws or pipes before painting over everything.
Sand lightly and apply primer to the area
Use a fine-grit sandpaper (400 grit) and a sanding block to remove any bumps,
ripples, or other imperfections.
When you’re finished with this step, it’ time to prime the area with your chosen
Remember that primers are often not one color but rather have multiple
colors in them; so before you begin priming, make sure that your primer is
compatible with both your paint job and the type of surface being repaired. If
possible, try matching the final color of your project as closely as possible by
purchasing a similar shade of primer from a hardware store or home improvement
stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot.
A flat, clean ceiling will make your decor look great again
The last thing you need is a ceiling that is uneven and dirty. If you have not already
done so, begin the process of cleaning your ceiling by removing any damaged or torn
pieces of molding and insulation. Be sure to wear protective gloves when handling
these materials as they can cause skin irritation in some people.
Next, using a flat-head screwdriver or awl, remove any lath beneath the drywall that
has become loose during the repair process. You may also have to trim back drywall
slightly along edges where it overlaps other materials such as flooring or baseboards.
This will help prevent moisture from penetrating further into structural walls after
repairs are complete.
Pro tip: Get a renters insurance
If water damage is a possibility, you need to have renters insurance. This will help
protect your belongings from water damage. Water damage is one of the most
common causes of insurance claims.
You can get renters insurance through an independent agent or through your
landlord’s insurance company. If you have any questions about what’s covered in
your policy, check with your insurer before you make any repairs or replacements.
You may need to file a claim for partial or full coverage if there’s water damage in
your apartment or home.
We hope this guide has helped you to repair your ceiling and prepare for decorating.
Remember that there are professionals who specialize in this type of work, and they
can help you achieve the results you want.