How to Fix Ceiling Leaks From the Roof

Written by richard toole
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How to Fix Ceiling Leaks From the Roof
A leaking roof can lead to terrible damage in the ceilings below. (Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

An unchecked roof leak can ruin your home. The water that makes its way through the leak will eventually work its way down to the lower levels of your house. The water will likely pool in one area, and start to soak into the drywall of both the ceiling and walls. Excessive water build-up can cause your ceilings to sag and even cave in from the added weight. If you catch the leak in time, you can repair your ceiling without having to tear out much of the old material. You can usually patch the area and save the ceiling without too much hassle.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tarp (optional)
  • Silicone caulking material
  • Shingles
  • Bucket
  • Nail or pen
  • Hammer
  • Fan
  • Rag
  • Spackling compound
  • Putty knife
  • Paint (optional)

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    Patching the Roof

  1. 1

    Find the outside leak. You must stop it immediately to cut off the water from the ceiling below. Your best course of action will be a temporary patch for the roof.

  2. 2

    Go into the attic and find the spot where the water is leaking. Apply some silicone caulking to the area to patch the hole.

  3. 3

    Get up on the roof and find the leaking area. If it is raining at the time, you will not have time to remove and replace the bad shingles around the leaking area. Cover the area with a tarp and tie the tarp down to the roof. This will allow you to begin repairing the ceiling leak inside the house.

    Repairing the Ceiling Leak

  1. 1

    Find the area in the ceiling that is discoloured. This is where water is pooling, and weighing down the ceiling. If you notice any sagging in the area, there is a large amount of water trapped above.

  2. 2

    Place a large bucket underneath the area of the ceiling that is discoloured and sagging. Get on a chair or ladder and poke a hole in the ceiling with a nail or a pen. This will give the water trapped in the ceiling an exit. Adjust the bucket to catch the water as it drains.

  3. 3

    Allow all the water to drain from the ceiling. You may need to punch several holes in the ceiling if there is a lot of water. It is important to drain the water as quickly as possible.

  4. 4

    Aim a large fan at the ceiling and turn it on the highest setting. Use several fans if possible. Allow the fans to dry the ceiling area for several hours.

  5. 5

    Push your hammer into the ceiling area where you made the hole or holes. You want to make an indentation. Wipe the area with a rag to remove any loose debris.

  6. 6

    Apply a generous layer of spackling filler compound to the area with a putty knife. Spread the filler compound evenly so it is even with the surface of the ceiling. Allow the filler compound to dry, then paint the area if you need to match it to the ceiling colour.

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