Ceiling water damage from a leak

Posted by Matt Buchanan

As we’ve discussed before, as much as 10% of water that services American homes is lost due to leaks. 10%! Think about that for a minute. That’s a massive amount of water each year that simply vanishes because of a small leak somewhere in a home. If you’re lucky the leak is to a shower head or dripping faucet, where the water can just be collected and sent down a drain and safely out of your home. But if you’re unlucky, and the leak is concealed within a wall cavity, even small leaks can lead to a lot of water damage. That’s especially true if you find yourself staring up at the ceiling and noticing discoloration or even water dripping from the ceiling. In fact, water damage in ceilings from a leak is one of the most common search terms people find our site from, so you at least know you’re not alone when dealing with this particular type of water damage emergency.


Ceiling water damage – know the signs of leaks!


ceiling-water-damage-stainThis signs for a leak are pretty unmistakable. If you notice a discoloration on your ceiling or the paint has begun to bubble or peel, that’s a clear indication of a moisture problem. Most people understand that, but the real problem is that people assume it’s a small problem and isolated to that one area. For whatever reason, many don’t treat the ceiling water damage problem with any urgency…sadly, that just leads to more problems. If you have noticed water damage stains on your ceiling, please read on so you know what you’re up against and can make the right decisions moving forward.


What to know about ceiling water damage from a leak


While the signs may be obvious, the results of ignoring the leak can be unsettling to homeowners. We’ve dealt with hundreds (and probably even thousands) of losses such as this. Many times we find it’s a small area and isolated, but other times when we dig further we discover a whole host of issues that end being very expensive to fix. Having handled so many situations like these, here are some of the things we think you should know:


Insurance doesn’t cover gradual water damage


Denied-Insurance-Claim-Water-DamageIf you have a toilet overflow on the second floor and it sends water dripping down through the ceiling of the first floor, that’s covered by insurance. But if you notice a stain in your ceiling and suspect it’s water damage and eventually discover you do have a small leak that has caused the problem, that isn’t going to be covered by your insurance policy. That’s incredibly important for you to understand because of the other things we need to point out to, namely…


Mold growth occurs quickly


mold-on-leaky-ceilingHow quickly? Usually around 48 hours. But the scary part is that visible signs of water damage don’t occur immediately. It may have already been a matter of days or even weeks of a small leak before the signs were visible to you. For now, you can’t worry about when it started, you just need to realize that action must be taken immediately. Best case scenario you have a small problem that can be rectified rather cost-effectively. Worst case scenario, you’ve got a bigger problem but you at least dealt with it before it became a massive problem. We’ve done $100,000+ jobs where a small leak eventually caused that much damage. Don’t let this be you!


Mold remediation isn’t covered by insurance


mold-removal-ceilingSo not only is gradual water damage not covered by insurance, but neither is mold removal. And if you think drying out a wet area of a home expensive, you’ll want to sit down when you learn how expensive mold removal can be. If you’ve let the problem sit for awhile, you could easily be looking at $10,000 worth of remediation costs. Not to mention, your home may not be habitable during the remediation efforts depending on how widespread the problem was.


What to do if you notice ceiling stains


The best thing you can do if you’ve noticed staining on your ceiling is contact a certified water damage company. Any reputable restoration company will come out and provide a free assessment of your situation. What does that mean? By the end of it, you’ll know exactly what you’re up against. They’ll be able to use infrared imaging systems to see what’s wet, and they can also use moisture meters to know how wet things are. They can also provide an estimate for the mitigation work that would be required to fix your problem. If you do have a leak, they can recommend a plumber that can fix the leak so the source of the problem is rectified! Of course, if you’ve found this article useful, we would certainly appreciate the opportunity to assist you, so please give us a call!

About Matt Buchanan

I grew up in Irving, TX and left for Nashville, TN for college. After college I lived in Washington, DC and then in Cairo, Egypt. After coming back to the states, I spent a couple of years back in Dallas before moving with my wife to Denver!
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