Fixing a Leaking Ceiling in You Home.
If ceiling water leakage is a minor disaster, but that portends a major disaster that can ruin flooring, walls, appliances, and furniture. Knowing why water is coming through the ceiling light fixture, where it is coming from, and how to fix it allows you to step in quickly.
What’s the Immediate Responses?
First shut off circuit breakers controlling electric wall receptacles located in the room.
After that if the circuit breaker still off, turn off the light switch that controls the ceiling light fixture.
Next step is to shut off the water main. Typically, homes will have a water main shut-off valve inside the house and facing the street side.
You need to remove as many valuables as possible from the room. If you can remove furniture, you need to do so.
Use a wet-dry vacuum, suck up water and debris located below the leaking ceiling fixture.
Lay 5 milimiter thick clear plastic sheeting on the floor, extending up to the walls as high as possible. Tape to the walls with duct tape.
Why Water May Leaks Through the Ceiling Light Fixture
Usually your home’s exterior is designed for managing water, directing the flow of water along the lines of gravity and away from your house. But, your home’s interior has no such water management system. In bathrooms and kitchens, where water is expected, tubs, sinks, and waterproof flooring contain the water and keep it moving along. In the rest of the house, though, water will carve out its route by following the path of least resistance.
For a water a weak point in the ceiling is the hole in the drywall that contains the ceiling light fixture, as well as the light fixture itself. In a ceiling water leak, water will pool on top of the drywall, between the joists, for a surprisingly long time before you notice it below. Ceiling blown-in cellulose or fiberglass batt insulation compound that problem, since they soak up water like a sponge and slow its downward flow. Acrylic-latex ceiling paint forms a thin waterproof membrane that contains the water for a short while.
Sometimes, a circular or crescent-shaped bulge around the light fixture will precede drips. Piercing the bulge will expel the water trapped between the drywall and the paint layer, but it does not solve the more significant problem. If the water is clear, this is a new leak. If the water is brownish and smells moldy, the leak has been building up for a long time. The light fixture may short out and stop working because its circuit breaker tripped. Sometimes, the fixture will continue to work even as water drips around and through it. At this point, you need to take immediate, short-term measures to ensure your safety and mitigate further damage to your home.
Two Main Sources of Ceiling Fixture Leaks.
Water that leaks through and around ceiling light fixtures fall into two broad categories: plumbing leaks or natural water leaks from rain or melting snow. Common sources within those categories:
Copper pipes that have burst or have developed pinhole leaks
Faulty push-fit pipe connectors that produce water leaks
Ill-fitting upstairs bathtub or shower drain assemblies
Leaking drainage pipes leading from tubs, showers, and sinks to the sewer stack
Rain leaking through exterior flashing around the chimney
Frozen, clogged gutters that form ice dams, forcing snowmelt under shingles and into the attic
Permanent Repairs of Ceiling Leaks
Once you have protected your home and located the source of the water leak, you have more breathing room to fix the leak permanently.
– Replace copper pipes with plastic PEX pipes.
– Replace push-fit Sharkbites-style connectors with new ones.
– Check on your shower or tub’s overflow drain.
– Remove the shower or tub drain assembly, clean out the old
plumber’s putty, and replace with new putty.
– Repair drainage pipes.
– Repair or replace exterior flashing (some roofing companies will do
– Improve ventilation to your attic to combat ice dams before they
Install an ice dam barrier the next time you roof your home.
Repairing Your Damaged Ceiling
Water-damaged ceiling drywall and insulation should be replaced entirely. Neither material can return to its same dimensions.
Remove all insulation that soaked up water, packing it in contractor’s bags and removing it through the access door. Extend the removal area by another couple of feet to give yourself working room.
With the power shut off, remove the ceiling light fixture.
Inside the attic, pull back the electric wiring several feet beyond the work area and safely cap the electrical wiring inside of a receptacle covered with a blank faceplate.
– Remove all water-damaged drywall.
– Cut back undamaged drywall to the joists.
– Replace the ceiling drywall.
– Replace the ceiling light fixture and insulation.