A faulty or damaged roof often causes leakage in the ceiling.
Any time you find that your ceiling leaks, it’s essential to have it repaired immediately to avoid further damage to your home.
The cost of repairing a leaky ceiling will depend on the severity of the leak, the type of roofing you have, and the type of ceiling you have.
If the leak is minor, you may be able to repair it yourself with some sealant and caulk.
However, if the leakage is more significant, you will need to hire a professional roofer or contractor to make the repairs.
Home service pros like angi.com, fixr.com, and homeguide.com state that the national average cost of repairing a ceiling is between $250 and $850.
But fixing serious leaks can go as high as $2,000 and more.
The final cost will depend on the repair size and the type of ceiling you have.
In this blog, I will explain the types of ceiling damage you may face and the average repair cost for each to better understand what to expect.
Types of Ceiling Damages
In the present era, different types of ceilings are available for your commercial and residential space.
They differ in make, design, and durability.
And also, different types of ceiling damage can occur to each type.
Here are the most common types of ceiling damage you may experience:
1. Water Stains: These usually occur when there is a small roof leak, condensation on the A/C unit, or moisture in the air. Water stains are usually small and round with a yellow, brown, or white tinge.
2. Cracks: These can be caused by structural damage, settling, or thermal expansion and contraction due to harsh weather conditions.
Ceiling cracks are usually long, thin hair lines that can run horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
3. Sagging: This is often caused by a water leak or too much weight on the ceiling. Sagging ceilings are usually bowed or drooping in the middle.
Besides sagging, there can be warp caused by heat, moisture, or sunlight. Ceiling warps are usually curved or bent out of shape.
4. Peeling Paint: This is commonly caused by moisture, heat, or sunlight. Peeling paint usually starts at the seams and then spreads outwards.
Blistering paint on the ceiling differs from peeling paint, and it looks like tiny bubbles on the surface of the ceiling.
5. Hole: Holes in the ceiling are generally caused by a water leak, impact damage, or falling objects. Ceiling holes are usually round or oval-shaped and can be any size.
You can find these leaks and holes in the drywall, plaster, acoustic tiles, or ceilings made of other materials.
6. Mold and Mildew: This is caused by moisture and often results in a musty smell. Mold can be any color, usually black, green, or brown.
Mildew is generally white or gray and can be found in damp areas like bathrooms or basements.
7. Water Damage and Plumbing Leaks: Several factors can contribute to major plumbing leaks and water-damaged ceilings.
These mainly include burst pipes, defective appliances, roof leaks, clogged gutters, and an overflowing toilet or sink on the roof.
Remember that all these problems are standard in smaller mobile homes because they lack the best levels of strength and durability compared to the bigger houses.
However, if you live in a decade or two old houses, these problems are still bound to occur even if it’s made of sturdier materials.
Professional Repair Cost for the Ceiling Leaks
Depending on the extent of damage, leaks, and materials required for leak repair, the average cost to professionally repair a leakage in the ceiling ranges from $500 to $2,500.
These repairs will generally include:
- Fixing the point of origin for the leak (this will be your most expensive item on the bill)
- Insulating and sealing the area around the leak
- Restoring any damaged areas or materials
- Repainting the ceiling
- Replacing the roof shingles and damaged wood supports if required
Remember that when you plan for a ceiling leak repair, plumbing inspection costs can add to your bills if the source of the leakage isn’t located in the first place.
This can be anywhere between $80 to $150, according to homeguide.com estimations.
That said, it can sometimes increase if you need to check the wiring behind your ceiling’s walls.
In per square foot terms, the water damage cleanup, removal, and ceiling repair cost can be between $45 to $95.
Repairmen, painters, and contractors generally prefer working hourly for smaller projects such as fixing an upstairs shower leaking through a ceiling, water spot, a small crack, or repainting a section of the ceiling.
The per hour rate for such services can be between $50 and $70. But, this will again depend on the scope of work, location, and the type of ceiling.
For example, you can expect to be charged per square foot for larger projects requiring more than one person working on them, such as replacing the entire ceiling.
Whom to contact for fixing water leaks in the ceiling?
If you are facing this problem for the first time, you may wonder who is the right person to fix water leaks in the ceiling.
Or whom should you contact to help with your ceiling problem?
There are typically three types of professionals that can help you with a water-damaged ceiling:
- A general contractor
- A roofer
- A water damage specialist
A general contractor is a pro who is qualified to take on ceiling repair projects, both big and small.
You can contact a general contractor if the damage to your ceiling is extensive and requires more than just a simple repair.
A roofer, on the other hand, is someone who specializes in repairing and maintaining roofs.
If the source of your ceiling leak is coming from your roof, then you need to call a specialized roofing contractor to fix the problem.
Last but not least, you have water damage specialists. These professionals are trained to deal with all types of water damage, including ceiling leaks.
Water damage specialists have the right equipment and knowledge to identify the source of the leak and fix it quickly and efficiently.
How Much Will It Cost to Fix a Ceiling Leakage Yourself?
A leakage and water stains on your ceiling don’t always require professional aid.
Like there may be a single pipe on your roof that’s leaking and causing bathroom or kitchen leaks through the ceiling.
If it’s a minor leakage that you can easily detect, you can try to fix the ceiling leakage yourself.
And that shouldn’t cost you more than $600. According to angi.com, the cost can even be lesser, and you may finish all the leakage repairing work for under $250.
When to consider DIY options?
I would recommend undertaking DIY ceiling leak repair jobs only if you know what you need to do and how to do it.
This also means that the project you would be working on doesn’t require moving or repairing any structural item in your ceiling.
For example, if a metal pipe is leaking upstairs that needs replacement – it’s a job for a professional.
The same goes for exposed electrical wiring on the basement ceiling or if the leakage is coming from the roof through drop tiles.
There can also be texture or popcorn ceiling damages that need to be replaced, which would require professional aid.
In all those cases, you need to know what you’re doing exactly, or you could end up making the situation worse and costing yourself more in repairs.
It’s always helpful to take the help of a roof or ceiling specialist rather than taking a chance with complex repairs.
What will you need for DIY ceiling repairs?
You will need a putty knife, joint compound, water-resistant primer, and paint.
Supposing the area that needs repair is around 10 square feet, the material cost will be something like $60 for the joint compound, $30 for the primer, and $20-$40 for paint.
You can shop around and ask for a discount on the materials since you’re buying them in smaller quantities.
You will also need other tools and equipment such as a drop cloth, painter’s tape, and a drill.
You may already have some of these things lying around the house. If not, you can borrow them from a friend or neighbor.
The only cost you will need to consider is the time you’ll spend on the project.
If you can dedicate a whole day or two to fixing the ceiling, then the only thing you’ll be paying for is the material cost.
If you need to take time off from work or hire someone to watch your kids while you’re working, that will add to the cost.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover My Ceiling and Roof Leaks?
Homeowners’ insurance policies do generally cover roof leaks unless specifically excluded.
Most homeowner’s insurance policies have a “dwelling coverage” limit, which is the maximum amount that your homeowner’s insurer will pay to repair or replace your home in the event of damage.
Let’s say you have a standard dwelling coverage limit of $250,000, and your home sustained $10,000 in damage from a fire; your homeowner’s insurance would cover $10,000 of the repair costs.
If, however, the total cost to repair your home was $15,000, including ceiling or roof leaks, you would be responsible for paying the additional $5,000 out of pocket.
Some homeowner’s insurance policies have a separate deductible for roof repairs.
This means you would have to pay a certain amount out of pocket before your insurance covers any of the costs.
For example, if you have a $1,000 deductible for roof repairs and the total cost to repair your roof is $5,000, you would be responsible for paying the first $1,000, and your insurance would cover the remaining $4,000.
It’s important to check with your homeowner’s insurance agent to see if your policy has a separate deductible for roof repairs and to find out what that amount is.
If my ceiling is wet, can I still plaster it?
It is not recommended to plaster a wet ceiling as this can cause the plaster to crack. It is best to wait until the ceiling is dry before attempting to plaster it.
Also, remember if there are cracks in the ceiling, you should not put the plaster directly.
Instead, fix the cracks by filling them with caulk to avoid any structural weakness.
Can my ceiling collapse due to leakage?
Yes, if the leakage is not fixed, it can cause extensive damage to your ceiling, which may lead to it collapsing.
It is always best to inspect and get any cracks or leaks in your ceiling fixed as soon as possible.
Generally, you can tell the signs of severe damage by sagging beams or wet spots on the ceiling.
How long will it take for my ceiling to dry after a leak?
It generally takes between two weeks and a month to resolve. But the time it takes will be determined by how much water the ceiling was exposed to and how long the leak endured.
Like if there is a garage ceiling that is starting to show water spots, it probably just needs a little extra ventilation to help dry it out within a week or two.
However, if the leakage was caused by a severe weather event, such as a hurricane or flood, it is likely that the ceiling will need to be replaced rather than getting dried.
The Bottom Line
Ceiling restoration caused by water damage can be a costly and time-consuming process.
It is important to take action as soon as possible to avoid any further damage to your ceiling or home.
Be sure to consult a professional if you are unsure about how to proceed with the repair process.
He would be able to guide you with all the exact expenses and give you a time frame for the entire fixing process.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.
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