A ceiling leak can be a messy situation.  One day everything is fine, and the next, you start to notice a small stain on your ceiling.  Before you know it, the stain turns into a pile of water, and sheet-rock all over your floor, furniture, and whatever else was underneath it.

If this sounds familiar, the important thing to know is that there are usually 2 different types of ceiling leaks.

1 – Attic Leaks

Attic leaks are usually the easiest to troubleshoot, since there is usually access into the attic crawl space, and the number of possible causes is fairly limited.

The most common cause of attic leaks is actually a leaky roof.  Inspecting the underside of the roof with a flashlight, above the offending ceiling spot can usually give you a good idea whether or not it is a roof leak.  If it is a problem with the roof, you will want to call a roofing contractor, as this is not a job for a plumber.

If you have water piping in your attic, that is the next thing to check.  Again, inspecting the area near the ceiling spot should provide a pretty easy way to find the leak.

I do want to stress here that crawling around in an attic is a fairly risky business.  One step in the wrong place can cause you, and a large chunk of your ceiling, to come crashing down into the room below.  Your best bet is to have a qualified plumber search for the leak for you.

A third possibility is an air conditioner condensation line.  Air conditioners shed condensation.  They collect that excess moisture, and send it to a drain line for disposal.  If one of these has a problem, the condensation can easily do some pretty serious damage.  Often these can be a pretty easy fix for an experienced plumber.

2 – Leaks between floors

These are usually much more difficult to diagnose, and even more difficult to repair.  The reason is that if you live in a multi-story home, with plumbing fixtures in the upper floors, there are a lot of things going on that could be causing the problem.

These are some of the possibilities:

  • Water supply line leak
  • Leak between the toilet and the closet flange
  • Faulty caulking around the tub or shower
  • The tub waste/overflow
  • Any one of the drain lines servicing any one of your fixtures

There are many more possibilities, but you get the idea.  A really popular method of diagnosing these problems is to remove the sheet-rock where the leak is showing up to attempt to visually locate the source of the leak.  While that is the first thing some other plumbers may check, a really good plumber will only use that as a last resort.

The best way to go about finding a ceiling leak is to start with a methodical series of diagnostic tests that do as little damage as possible to sheet-rock (or anything else for that matter).  Often, an experienced plumber can tell exactly what the problem is and what needs to be done to fix it without even seeing it.

At Allstar Plumbing, we pride ourselves in our advanced diagnostics.  If you are looking for a true professional plumber, who places your well-being as his top priority, I encourage you to give us a call.