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Help! There’s a Stain on My Ceiling!

If you’re homeowner who has ever spotted a ceiling stain, you can probably relate to the dreaded feeling that can quickly overwhelm you. When you see a stain, you need to determine the reason for the stain and promptly fix the problem as soon as possible before it gets worse. Here are some of the common causes for ceiling stains, along with what to do about them. 

What Does a Ceiling Stain Look Like? 

The first step is to recognize the signs of a ceiling stain. Dark, dirty, and sooty smudges or ugly dark rings that appear on or near a ceiling are good indications of a ceiling stain. However, sometimes ceiling stains can look like mold and can be hard to distinguish. If the stain looks irregular, dark and has a velvety appearance, it may be a sign of mold growth rather than moisture, which also requires immediate action.

What Could a Ceiling Stain Mean?

In most cases, a stain is a sign that there’s a water leak somewhere in your house, which may be coming from either your roof or the wet area of a bathroom. Here in New England, our harsh winters bring added erosion and difficulties, such as snow on the roof, which may create ice dams.

But just as winters bring their own troubles, our hot New England summers can also create mold and leaks in bathrooms. Furthermore, consider how many homes in our part of the country are exceptionally old? They may be constructed well, but still, they’re age means it’s critical that you don’t hesitate in repairing any leaks. This will prevent further damage and expense later.

A ceiling stain can mean that a shower pan or piping needs repairing or replacing. Hard water can also damage pipes prematurely which may result in faster degradation. Additionally, your leak may be from old fittings, valves, vents, or worn, rusted joints.

Another cause could be from old, crumbling roof shingles and/or weakened seals that are around your roof vents that allow rain or water from snow to get inside your house. When this happens, you need to promptly call a roofing specialist to make needed repairs. Your roofer can also inspect the weatherproofing materials to see if they need replacing so that water doesn’t leak through into your home.

Where Is the Stain? 

Knowing the location of the stain can be crucial in determining the cause. For example, stains running along an outside wall at its corners are generally caused by ice dam leakage. When this occurs, it’s recommended to seal attic leaks as well as add more insulation to your attic to prevent further leakage.

Stains under bathroom exhaust fans are another common location. These stains are the result of condensation.

There is also frost accumulation in attics to worry about, which can leave moisture that melts, creating stains in random areas of your home.

What Are My Options? 

  • As soon as you notice a ceiling stain, you need to take care of the problem straightaway as ignoring it can lead to greater problems. Besides intensifying the condition, an ignored stain could snowball into electrical or structural damage.
  • Never cover up the stain until you’ve solved the moisture problem. Just because it’s out of sight doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
  • Call an experienced and high-quality professional (like one of NEWPRO’s home improvement experts!) to fix the issue.

Other Considerations and Warnings

  • Sometimes, it’s hard or even impossible to determine a water source above the stain. If this is the case, the problem may be caused by a leaky pipe.
  • In some situations, water runs along pipes or rafters before it drops onto a ceiling, which can make identifying the source of the problem difficult.
  • Water seepage can also be caused from old caulking.
  • For wet stains, it’s easier to trace the moisture source and repair it.

Questions? Call the home improvement pros at Newpro. We offer roofing replacement (along with windows, doors, siding, bath replacement systems) for New England homeowners. For more than seven decades, our family-owned home improvement company has been providing top quality services to New Englanders. Please contact us for a free evaluation and quote.

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