The constant rain in Brisbane over the past year has damaged many ceilings and ceiling replacement work is in high demand.
If you notice that your ceiling is stained, discoloured, or blistered, that’s a sure sign that your property has had a leak in the ceiling or in a water pipe above the ceiling.
If you notice the damage changing over time, you know the problem is current and needs fixing. Take care of it immediately because the longer you wait, the worse the damage will be and the higher the repair bill!
Signs that your ceiling is leaking
It can be difficult to notice if it’s a small leak.
- You may see faint discolouration on the ceiling or
- mould forming in part of the ceiling
- You may notice moisture on the ceiling or adjacent walls.
- There could even be blistering on the wall paint.
If it is a major leak, it should be pretty obvious, and water should be dripping from the ceiling. If this is the case, you should do everything you can as soon as possible to minimize the damage. For example, provide a water bucket to catch the dripping water, so it doesn’t soak into the floor.
Leaks are not always easy to find
The leak’s source may not be where the water is dripping through the ceiling.
Rainwater may be running down a rafter or joist in a sloped roof before it drips onto the affected section of the ceiling. A similar phenomenon can be observed with water coming from a burst or leaking pipe.
Plumbing problem or roof leak?
If the portion of the ceiling damaged by the water is clean and the water dripping into the bucket looks fairly clean, this indicates that a plumbing problem may cause the leak. On the other hand, dirty water and heavy discolouration on the ceiling indicate that a leaking roof is the cause of the problem. This is because dirt and other contaminants accumulate on the roof as rainwater runs off.
The following steps should be followed if your ceiling is leaking:
1. Try to minimize the damage
To stop further harm to your home’s flooring, if it is safe to do so, lay buckets and towels under the leaking area of the ceiling. If possible, remove furniture and objects from the room where the leak occurs. Avoid standing directly under the leaking area, as the water can affect the strength and integrity of the plasterboard ceiling and they can and will collapse.
If there is any chance that electrical wiring or fittings are getting wet – Turn off your power at the switchboard. You do not want an electrocution.
If the ceiling does start to collapse and there is water coming in – Call you insurance company.
They may need to arrange a makesafe so that no more damage is done to the home and no one in the home will be in danger.
2. Contact your insurance company
Many home insurance companies have their selected insurance construction companies that will do the roofing, plumbing. Insurance Construction Companies only do insurance repair work and they work with exclusively for all home insurance claims.
If you don’t know what your home insurance policy says, contact your insurance company and ask about their policies for repairing your ceiling or roof.
If the leak is severe and you don’t mind paying the bill, you can try calling a 24-hour plumber to get an immediate solution to the problem.
3. Take photos to document the damage
Proper documentation is critical to making a claim against your homeowner’s insurance company. Make notes of what happened and when it occurred.
Take photos not only of the damage to the building but also of furniture, bedding, electronics and other personal items that were damaged.
Get advice for your insurance company before removing or throwing out damaged furniture, appliance and flooring.
4. Put a tarp on the roof
After the rain has ended and the roof is dry, if for some reason you are unable to remedy the leak right away, and you are certain that the damage to the roof is the cause of the leak, cover the damaged area with a tarp.
You may need to call the SES to arrange a roof tarp if the roof has a significant leak or damage.
5. Plumbers and Electricians
If you don’t have homeowner’s insurance or your insurance company lets you choose the contractor to fix the damage, you can call and arrange for a roof plumber to come and fix the leak if it is from a pipe.
If the leak is from major damage to your home’s roof, you may need to hire a roofer to replace portions of the damaged roof.
An electrician may also be required to replace light fittings in the ceiling.
6. Hire a plasterer
Once the cause of the water damage is fixed, you will need to hire a plasterer to repair the water-damaged ceiling and perhaps the adjacent walls. Be sure to hire a plasterer with experience repairing water-damaged ceilings, as many plasterers focus on new construction and renovations and have limited repair experience.
After all, you want the repair work to blend seamlessly with the rest of the ceiling so that the damage is no longer noticeable.
7. Hire a painter
Once the ceiling is in order, the final step in the repair process is to hire a painter to paint the new plasterboard ceiling. It might be difficult for the painter to match the exact colour of the repair work to the existing room, especially if the room hasn’t been painted in a long time and you don’t have any leftover paint. In this case, you should take the opportunity to renovate.
The Brisbane Painters we recommend are Brisbane Painting Pros or the team at Qld Interiors
Repair your leaking ceiling
Leaky ceilings can be serious, cause immeasurable damage in minutes, or be seemingly small and insignificant. In either case, it’s best to fix the problem as soon as it appears.
It is not recommended that you wait for it to go away on its own.
As time passes and water gets more exposed, fixing the problem will become more extensive and costly.
As soon as you notice the leaking ceiling, you should immediately take the steps described above.