A faulty or damaged roof often causes leakage in the ceiling. Any time you find that your ceiling starts to leak, it’s essential to have it repaired immediately to avoid further damage to your home.
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 must 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 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. So, in this blog, I will try to explain the types of ceiling damage you may face and the average repair cost for each to understand better what to expect.
Average Ceiling Leak Repair Cost (Labor Included)
|Low-end (Hairline Cracks)||$100-$250|
|High-end Water Damage||$2,000|
|National Average Cost||$450|
|Tile and Concrete Ceilings||$150 – $825|
|Sagging Beams and Ceilings||$150 – $1,000|
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 in each kind.
Here are the most common damages 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: Ceiling cracks are usually long, thin hair lines that can run horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. These can be caused by structural damage, settling, or thermal expansion and contraction due to harsh weather conditions.
3. Sagging: Sagging ceilings are usually bowed or drooping in the middle, often caused by a water leak or too much weight on the roof. Besides sagging, there can be ceiling warps (usually curved or bent out of shape). These are caused by heat, moisture, or sunlight.
4. Peeling Paint: Peeling paint usually starts at the seams and then spreads outwards. It’s mainly caused by moisture, heat, or sunlight. Blistering paint on the ceiling differs from peeling paint, which looks like tiny bubbles on the surface.
5. Hole: Ceiling holes are usually round or oval-shaped and can be any size. A water leak, impact damage, or falling objects generally cause them.
6. Mold and Mildew: 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. Both of them are caused by moisture and often have a musty smell.
7. Water Damage and Plumbing Leaks: Several factors can contribute to major plumbing leaks and water-damaged ceilings. These include burst pipes, defective appliances, clogged gutters, and roof leaks due to overflowing toilets or sinks on the roof.
Remember that all these problems are standard in smaller mobile homes because they lack the level 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. Not only on ceilings, but you can find these leaks in drywall, plaster, acoustic tiles, and other parts of the houses if left ignored for a long.
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 the following:
- 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
Be aware that when you plan for a ceiling leak repair, plumbing inspection costs can also 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. 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, a water spot, or a small crack or repainting a section of the roof.
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 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 qualified to take on both big and small ceiling repair projects. You can contact them 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. They carry 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?
Leakage and water stains on your ceiling don’t always require professional aid.
For example, if there is a single pipe on your roof that’s leaking and causing bathroom or kitchen leaks through the ceiling. It’s a minor leakage you can easily detect and try fixing 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 repair work for under $250 if you require very few materials and tools.
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 comes from the roof through drop tiles. There can also be texture or popcorn ceiling damage that needs to be replaced.
In all those cases, if you don’t know exactly what you need to do, 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?
If it’s only a minor leak and you have already fixed the leakage source, you will need a putty knife, joint compound, water-resistant primer, and paint to repair the ceiling.
Supposing the area that needs repair is around 10 square feet, the material cost will be approximately $60 for the joint compound, $30 for the primer, and $20-$40 for paint.
Sometimes you will also need other tools and equipment, such as a drop cloth, painter’s tape, and a drill. Check if you already have some of these things lying around the house. If not, you can borrow them from a friend or neighbor.
If you can dedicate a whole day or two to fixing the ceiling (maybe on the weekend), 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 working, that will add to the price.
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 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 which means you would have to pay a certain amount out of pocket before your insurance covers any of the costs.
If you have a $1,000 deductible for roof repairs, for example, 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 essential 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’s better to wait for the ceiling to dry before plastering it.
Also, remember if there are cracks in the ceiling, you should not put the plaster directly. Instead, fix the gaps by filling them with caulk to avoid 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 also lead to collapsing.
Generally, you can tell the signs of severe damage by sagging beams or wet spots on the ceiling. It’s good to inspect early and get them fixed as soon as possible.
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 out within a week or two. However, if the leakage was caused by a severe weather event, such as a hurricane or flood, the ceiling will likely need to be replaced rather than getting dried.
The Bottom Line
Ceiling restoration caused by water damage can be a costly affair. A poor restoration can lead to more damage and a higher repair cost in the future.
While minor repairs can be done DIY, be sure to consult a professional if you are unsure how to proceed with the major repair process. He could 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 over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.