help my ceiling leaks, stop ceiling leaks, identifying ceiling leaks, leaks source

Help My Ceiling Leaks

Has this ever been you - or is it you now - Help - My Ceiling Leaks!  Repairing ceiling water damage, whether it is from a broken pipe, an old roof, or heavy rains is very important for the overall upkeep of your home.  


If it is left unaddressed, aside from being an eyesore, a water damaged ceiling will result in a weakened structure and mold.   Nothing can protect a ceiling against leaking water whether it is made from drywall, plaster, or other materials; that is why it is necessary to find a way to repair the damage once you spot a leak.

How To Identify And Stop Ceiling Leaks

ceiling leak from rainwater

Brown splotches on your ceiling and wet flooring are common signs of a leak.  A ceiling with a leak can also cause bubbling in the paint and wet walls. If you notice any of these, immediately address the problem, otherwise, the leak can lead to greater damage and growth of mold and mildew.

Identifying The Leak’s Source

Finding the source of the leak will determine how to fix it.  Finding the location of your leak isn’t always easy as water can travel long distances before it pools and drips.  The following could help to locate the starting point of a leak.

1. Check the color of the leak

The color of the water dripping from your ceiling can help identify where the leak is coming from.  Dirty or brown water usually means that the leak is coming from the roof. The water coming from your roof picks up dirt and other impurities along the way.  

If it is clear water dripping, it is usually a leak coming from your interior plumbing as water leaking from pipes doesn’t typically attract much dirt.

2. Check how often you get a leak

The leak frequency is also a good indicator of where the leak is coming from.  Obviously, water leaks when it is raining are usually a sign that the leak is coming from the roof.  

If you observe a steady flow of water, even if it’s just slight, the leak is most likely related to your plumbing.


3. Check on your attic insulation

Your attic insulation can also help to identify the source of a leak.  Go to your attic and feel the top of the insulation covering the leaking part of your ceiling.  If it is dry, the leak is below your insulation.

Take out the insulation and look for moisture or signs of damage.  If the top of the insulation is wet, it is probable that the leak is above the insulation in the roof or wall.

Click for more help on leak detection in general

How To Fix The Leak

Help My Ceiling Leaks How To Fix

Here is how to fix a leak once you’ve located it:

Leaks Coming From The Roof

Look for signs of roof deterioration.  Use a wire to mark any holes or cracks to help you locate them on the outside.  This will help identify the affected part of the roof when you have it repaired.

If there is no obvious sign of damage, look for water stains or trails on your attic ceilings and walls.  Trace any sign of water trails back to the source and put a mark. If there is no visible damage, the leak may be due to a problem with the flashing, shingles, or vent gaskets.


Go to your roof and check for  the leaking area. Once located, have the damaged or deteriorated areas replaced.  Call in a professional as major repairs can cause additional leaks and threaten the safety of your home.

Leaks Coming From The Plumbing

Pinpointing the source of your plumbing leak may be difficult as your home is filled with plenty of pipes.  Here are the common sources of plumbing leaks and how to fix them.

Leaks Coming From Bathroom Fixtures

Plumbing fixtures like toilets and showers are likely to blame if your leak is right below your bathroom.  Scan around your bathroom to locate your fixtures’ drains which may be the source of the leak.

Mark the affected portion of your ceiling and take it out to have a better look at the leak.  However, when you do this, make sure to avoid cutting into joists, wires, and other pipes. Remove the damaged, drywall section and look for signs of leakage.  

The water damage should be centered around the faulty fixture.  You can check by recreating the leak. Run your shower or toilet and then inspect the open ceiling for leaks.  If the fixture starts to drip water, you have found the source of the leak.

Help My Ceiling Leaks mold

Here’s how to repair leaking bathroom fixtures:

  • Bathtub Leaks

Check your bathtub or shower insert for cracks.  If you can’t find any visible damage, run your bath or shower and inspect your ceiling leak.  

If you see drips, then there is  a faulty drain gasket. Take out the old shower drain and inspect the gasket.  If the gasket is old or missing, replace with a new one. If you don’t have a gasket replacement, you can use plumber’s putty to create a seal.  

If the leak persists, call a plumbing professional as this could be a more serious plumbing problem.

  • Shower Leaks


Spray water along the shower door and examine your ceiling.  If there is dripping water, you have a faulty shower door seal.  Rectify this by installing a shower door sweep and run silicone caulk along the base of your shower.  

If your sliding shower door track is leaking, run a line of caulk along its base.  If your leaks continue, call a plumbing professional as this could be the sign of further plumbing issues.

  • Toilet Leaks

Toilets use a wax seal to connect your toilet to your home’s plumbing system. Over time, these seals can break due to a loose toilet.  To check on the seal, flush your toilet and then check your ceiling.

If there is a leak, you need to replace the wax seal.  If you continue to have leaks, call a plumbing professional as this may be a sign of other plumbing problems.

Leaks Coming From Water Lines

Your home’s plumbing lines can break and cause leaks.  If your leak isn’t below any major appliance or fixture, it may be the result of a faulty pipe.  

Remove the affected drywall to access the affected area.  Use a small, handheld saw to clear away wet drywall as a larger saws can damage wiring and other piping.  Inspect the piping for visible signs of damage once you have removed the wet drywall. You may have to search for the source as water can run along joists, pipes, and wires.  

Remove the damaged section with a wide pipe cutter when you find the faulty piping.  Ensure that the blades are proper for your piping’s material. You need to measure, then install your new section of piping.  Be prepared to solder if you are replacing a copper pipe.

Do this with extreme caution as soldering requires working with flammable materials.  If you are unsure of uncomfortable in performing this task, call a plumbing professional as mistakes during soldering can lead to fires, burns, and more leaks.

There you have it, what to do when you have a leaky ceiling.  We can’t stress enough though, if you are unsure of how to perform any of the tasks above, call a plumbing professional to avoid any further damage.


So Cal Services – The Best Local Plumber

Now that you know all the DIY, if you prefer the best local plumbing service, then give So Cal services a try.  We are host, affordable and offer 100% guarantee on our work. Call us today at 951-926-1978

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