An actively leaking ceiling:

There are many potential causes of a leaking ceiling such as a leaking roof, overflowing tubs or sinks, or leaking pipes, faucets, or fixtures in upstairs bathrooms or laundry rooms.

When you see water leaking from a ceiling, it is important that you act quickly. A leaking ceiling is an indication that multiple layers of building material have been breached. When this has happened, it is not likely that the water will dry on its own. Plus, if not addressed in a timely manner, it is likely that further damage such as bubbling paint, peeling wallpaper, warped wood, and even mold growth will occur.

Who should you call?

  • If you are not the homeowner, then the property manager or landlord must be notified immediately.
  • If you are the property owner and the source is the roof, then a roofing specialist should be brought in to remedy the situation.
  • If you are the property owner and the source is from an upper story and
    • it is a one time overflow of a tub or sink, then a water mitigation specialist should be brought in immediately or
    • it is not a one time overflow, then both a plumber and a water mitigation specialist should be brought in immediately.


While the cause behind a leaking ceiling may be addressed within a matter of days, it typically takes weeks to thoroughly dry the area with a combination of heat and airflow. Then, it may take another few weeks to complete the water damage repair and make it like new. This last phase likely will need the support of a handyman or general contractor to replace any damaged wood, drywall, and paint.

A previously stained ceiling:

It is not uncommon for a property owner to leave a water damaged ceiling for a subsequent owner to address. People who flip homes are familiar with this scenario and know that they likely will need to call in a damage restoration company that is certified to test for mold. If the home is an older home, they will also have to test for asbestos, before repairing the water-damaged ceiling, in order to proceed. Once it is known whether mold or asbestos are present, the damage restoration company can propose a plan for removing any mold or asbestos before repairs begin.