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Repairing Water Damage in the Ceiling
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Water damage in the ceiling usually happens as a result of roof leaks or when a pipe running in the ceiling bursts. In a multiple-story building, if the floor above gets flooded for any reason, the water damage is likely to reach the bottom floor through the ceiling.
Water can damage ceilings in several ways, from causing discoloration as a result of dampness to total disintegration of the ceiling material. Worse, if the ceiling remains damp for just a few days, mold can grow. So, it is important to deal with water damage in the ceiling immediately.
Before starting any cleanup or repairs, check if the water is running close to any electrical wiring. If so, shut off the power supply to avoid electric shock. Be careful when standing under a ceiling that might hold too much water because it could cave in on you. A water-damaged ceiling would be soft and cold to the touch. It would be best to inspect the ceiling first before entering a room to see if there are any discoloration or water stains and if the ceiling looks bulging.
10 Steps to Cleanup and Repair
Step 1: Take a moisture reading to find out the extent of the water damage.
Step 2: Reduce the amount of water trapped inside the ceiling by gently punching or poking a tiny hole through the ceiling using a nail or a screw driver. An ice pick or a knife will also do. Be careful when stabbing the ceiling because the water may come rushing all out and flood the room. Also, make sure to put a bucket underneath the hole you're making to collect the water drip.
Step 3: Fix the leak. If the cause of the water damage is a leaking roof, repair the roof immediately if the weather permits it. You can do this on your own or simply call a roof repair professional. If the weather has not cleared yet, making it impossible to seal the roof, then cover it with a canvas or any water-proof sheeting to stop water from coming in through the hole.
If the cause is a burst pipe, stop the supply of water and call a professional plumber to fix the pipe.
Step 4: Once the leak has been fixed, proceed with cleanup by removing all wet ceiling material such as sheetrock and insulation. Scrape away all loose, peeling and swelling drywall or plaster.
Step 5: If there are any salvageable materials, these should be dried with dehumidifiers or other specialized drying equipment.
Step 6: Spray the water-damage area with an anti-mold solution.
Step 7: Proceed with repairs. Install new drywall on your ceiling by screwing or nailing it to the joists. If any insulation was removed, put back new ones before hanging new drywall.
Step 8: Cover the nails or the screws and the joints with a thin coating of mud or joint compound. Then, cover this application with a piece of drywall taping and then over this tape, apply another thin mud layer.
Step 9: Smooth out the mud with a drywall knife. You can also sand the area to make it smoother.
Step 10: Paint the ceiling.
Water damage in the ceiling requires immediate attention to prevent the development of mold. So, it is recommended to call a water damage repair professional who can complete the job quickly, safely and properly.
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