Just a few weeks ago, I was standing in the kitchen of a prospective customer who was interested in putting in some mini-ductless units this spring, when all of a sudden I felt some water drops on my head! Both the homeowner and I looked up at the ceiling above, only to see (much to the dismay of the homeowner) a water spot on the kitchen ceiling. And unfortunately, it did look to be damp.
Well, without saying, the conversation quickly changed from mini-ductless to, “can you possibly repair my ceiling leak first?” I said I would be glad to locate the source of the leak in the kitchen ceiling and begin to make repairs.
Sometimes it seems like these constant swings in temperature in early spring between the colder and the warmer days play right into these types of interior wall & ceiling leaks. Scientific reasons aside, we can only address the frequency of which these types of leaks occur. Could simply be that it’s “the season for this”!
Tracking down the problem: half the battle
Whatever the cause, it’s the emergence of the ever so dreaded ceiling stain that’s very upsetting to us. You can be annoyed and even do a little cursing, but when you’re ready to investigate the problem, treat it rationally, just like you would anything else. You will need to understand what’s happening; where’s the leak/water coming from? It shouldn’t be too, too hard to figure out from what area of the home the water is coming. Whether it’s the roof or an upstairs bathroom, whatever is above the ceiling is usually the source of your moisture problem. Bear in mind, however, it’s also not uncommon for water to run along rafters or piping before dropping onto your ceiling, obfuscating the true source of the problem.
If you can identify the cause of the kitchen ceiling water stain by yourself, you may find that you’re able to deal with the problem without professional help. However, if you decide to hire a pro, knowing what type of contractor you might need can help save you precious time and money. And investigating yourself will make you reasonably certain of which type of contractor to contact.
Going back to the customer call, since I was already on site, and the homeowner and I had developed a trust over the years, she asked me to go ahead and track down the source of the leak. We were both reasonably sure that it was most likely going to be a leaky bathroom pipe based on the ceiling stain’s location. The bathroom happened to be located directly above the kitchen.
A shower pan, for instance, that has come into disrepair is always a possibility. And a cracked pipe can mean you have a leak or it could also mean a pipe may simply be “sweating” from inadequate insulation. In many of the older homes in the Pittsburgh area, sometimes your pipes are just old and need to be replaced. Other circumstances too, like hard water, may be causing premature damage to your pipes.
Another problem that might occur in this same area is that you could have leakage behind your shower escutcheon “face” plate next to the wall of the shower in your upstairs bathroom. This would probably only cause a smaller watermark on your ceiling. You could seal this up yourself with silicone where the plate meets the wall of the shower, OR you could simply replace, on your own if so inclined, the existing escutcheon faceplate with a new one. This is a better solution and will look much “cleaner” when finished.
The solution: in this case a simple one
Getting back to the customer call again, our guys removed a section of the homeowner’s kitchen ceiling where the water stain had been located and found the leak was coming from a cracked section of drain piping from the bathroom sink. It was relatively easy to replace. Of course, we made sure that the leak was completely repaired, and only then replaced the section of the ceiling with new drywall, before the homeowner would do any painting in this area. All was again well in our customer’s home.
Advantages of calling a pro like Proudfoot Plumbing, Heating & Air
Proudfoot will track down the source of your plumbing or heating problem and solve it for you. Any of our customers will attest to this. We will not leave you “hanging”. Even if the problem may be out of our realm of expertise, we can always recommend someone else that could help solve the problem for you.
Give us a call at 1-412-461-2198, especially if you have water dripping on your head! All kidding aside, we can not only help you track down the source of your ceiling leak but if not due to a plumbing issue, also steer you in the right direction when it comes to the possibility of having to hire another contractor, such as roofing contractor, for instance