Common Causes Of Ceiling Water Damage

Discoloration, peeling paint, cracks, or sagging are signs of ceiling water damage, but what is the cause? Water is a large part of why the ceiling is in shambles, but it is crucial to understand where the water originated. While the five ideas are below, those ideas spin off into many reasons those five ideas exist.

Roof Damage

No matter the size, any hole in the roof presents an opportunity for water to seep inside the roof through the attic or attic crawlspace onto the ceiling wall. Mold and mildew form on moisture, and the ceiling caves eventually because they rot out the wood and ceiling wall. A roof hole exists when a shingle breaks away from the roof or when flying debris pokes a hole in the roof. The chimney, skylight, and roof joint should be the first locations to browse.

Weather contributes to roof leaks and roof damage. Hail hitting the roof, winds blowing away shingles, and ice/snow sticking to the roof siding until it melts may be the culprit for ceiling water damage. Extreme weather situations like tornadoes, hurricanes, thunderstorms, snowstorms, and ice storms weaken the roof’s strength. Alternatively, the roof structure dwindles due to wear and tear and old age resulting from withstanding the weather.

Pipe Damage

A faulty plumbing pipe is a reason your ceiling has water damage. Common causes are leaky pipes and frozen pipes. The water in frozen pipes freezes because your faucet wasn’t on to drip during the coldest nights of winter. Causes of leaky pipes are age, corrosion, hard water, clogging, a weak interior structure, loose joints, worn-out caulking, and physical damage.

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The result of pipe damage is the same as roof damage. Possible pipes in the ceiling may connect to the washing machine, sink, toilet, and shower/bath. A rare yet possible occurrence is the appliance water line leaks.

Pipe damage is more realistic when you live in a high-rise, an apartment, a loft, or a two-story home. A bathroom upstairs may have pipe damage that leaks downstairs in your living quarters.


If the pipes themselves are not the issue, maybe they’re sweating. Believe it or not, pipes sweat in the winter when the cold air outside and the hot air inside collide; it occurs in the summer also. That is condensation. Condensation can appear on the walls, behind the toilet, in the attic, the basement, inside sink vanity cabinets, and near the HVAC unit.

If you feel moisture where moisture is not commonplace, that may be condensation. When you don’t clean the area, mold and mildew manifest there. The humidity between the ceiling and roof cannot leave because it is stuck inside. In that case, the only way for condensation to escape is to drip through an open crack or hole.

A Clogged Gutter System

For homes with a gutter system, the proximity to the roof can cause a hole significant enough to let moisture inside. A clogged gutter backs the water collected onto the roofing structure. That damages the ceiling, roof, walls, and home foundation.

You must clean the gutter often to remove leaves, debris, and trash. That allows the water to drain from the roof onto the ground safely. Routine gutter cleaning reduces the chances that the gutter is the culprit of a ceiling leak.

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Fire Sprinkler Systems

Older homes don’t have this issue unless this is an add-on installation, yet newer homes, apartments, townhomes, lofts, and condos do. Your living area may have fire sprinklers installed in the ceiling. The pipes connected can leak and cause ceiling water damage. A routine fire sprinkler checkup prevents faulty fire sprinklers from ceiling leaks.

However, water damage will occur if the fire sprinkler turns on because of smoke or a fire in the house. Mold and mildew can develop on the ceiling inside the house if moisture remains. Mold and mildew will continue to manifest until it rots the ceiling material. There are several restoration contractors in Denver that can tackle water and fire damage to bring your home back to a livable state.

While there may be one culprit in ceiling water damage, accept that there may be several reasons for this issue. Regardless of the cause, the ceiling is not a lost cause. You can clear away ceiling water damage when you contact an expert to resolve the issue.

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