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Common causes of ceiling damage

Ceiling damage can be a real nuisance and an eyesore to look at, but something that is best dealt with sooner rather than later. In this guide we look at the most common types of ceiling damage and how to fix them.

Ceiling damage can be a real nuisance and an eyesore to look at, but something that is best dealt with sooner rather than later. In this guide, we look at the most common types of ceiling damage and how to fix them.

Whether you’ve got cracks in the ceiling, water stains on your ceiling, water leaking from the ceiling or a sagging ceiling, keep reading to find out more.

Common types of ceiling damage

Here are the most common types of ceiling damage that occur in homes in the UK:

1. Cracks in ceiling

One of the most common types of ceiling damage comes in the shape of cracks in the ceiling. The problem with cracks is that they can be caused by several reasons, from subsidence or structural issues to poor ceiling installation, moisture damage or issues with your drywall.

Ceiling damage around a downlightIf you notice small cracks, it might not be a serious issue. The best thing to do is keep an eye on the cracks and see if they grow in length or width. If in doubt, contact a local construction expert or surveyor to inspect the cracks and give you their professional opinion on the causes – and what you might need to do to fix them.

2. Water stains on the ceiling

Water stains, as you might have guessed, are caused by some kind of water leaking. It might be from a leaking or burst pipe, a damaged roof, or poorly installed plumbing. Whatever the cause is, you’ll want to get the problem fixed as soon as possible. An experienced local plumber should inspect the water stains and help you locate the underlying problem that needs sorting.

3. Condensation stains on ceiling

If you notice condensation on the ceiling in your home, it’s important to find out the cause and resolve it as swiftly as possible. A build-up of condensation can lead to various types of ceiling damage, including cracks, holes, and water stains. Often condensation is caused by poor ventilation and/or insufficient insulation in your home.

4. Leak in ceiling

When you see water leaking from ceilings, it’s a clear sign that there’s a big issue that needs fixing. The leak could be coming from a damaged pipe, poorly installed bathroom fitting, or damage to the roof of your property.

5. Sagging ceiling

Often one of the most noticeable and startling types of ceiling damage is a sagging ceiling. Caused by an accumulation of moisture over time, parts of the ceiling start to hang lower than the rest. A sagging ceiling is typically the result of an underlying problem left untreated for a long time – or a sudden extreme problem such as a major pipe bursting and leaking into the ceiling.

A sagging ceiling is an immediate hazard, as the ceiling could collapse and cause further damage to your home and pose a risk to you and your family. With that in mind, it’s important to seek professional help to deal with the sagging ceiling and its cause as soon as you can.

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4 top tips for how to deal with ceiling damage

We’ve put together our top tips for dealing with ceiling damage:

1. Act fast to address ceiling damage

Tradesperson fixing severe ceiling damageAs with most problems, when dealing with ceiling damage, the key to minimising the overall damage and cost of repair is to act fast and fix the problem as soon as possible. Suppose you can locate the issue yourself and deal with it, great. If you need help, get help from a qualified plumber, plasterer, builder or other tradespeople – depending on the type of ceiling damage you have.

2. Deal with immediate risks

If you’re dealing with severe ceiling damage or damage that’s hazardous for your home, take action to minimise any risks. That could be anything from putting a bucket under a leak, erecting a waterproof tarp or sealing off the room in question. You may even have to move out of the property if the situation is awful and poses a major risk to your safety.

3. Dry out any water damage

If you’re able to locate and fix the cause of any water-related ceiling damage, then the next step is to dry out the ceiling and any other parts of your home affected by the issue. Small leaks or water damage may dry out on their own, but more extreme water damage may need a fan, dehumidifier or other drying equipment to dry out the ceiling fully.

4. Repair and redecorate the ceiling

Once you’ve located and fixed the issue that caused the ceiling damage, it’s time to repair (or replace) the ceiling and redecorate. If you’re an experienced DIY enthusiast, you might want to tackle ceiling repair and decorating yourself. But if you don’t fancy dealing with the mess and hassle yourself, you can hire a professional painter and decorator to do the job for you and save you time and effort.

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How to fix ceiling cracks

To fix ceiling cracks, you first need to understand why the cracks have appeared in the first place. If it’s a structural issue, you’ll need to hire a surveyor to review the structural integrity of the building and locate the root cause. If you’re dealing with cracks caused by leaks or water damage, the leak needs to be fixed first.

Plasterer repairing ceiling damageOnce you’ve dealt with the underlying cause of the cracks, you can then address the cracks themselves and fix them:

  1. Any excess / heavy loads in your loft or upper floors should be removed or repositioned.
  2. Weak floor and ceiling joists should be reinforced, following guidance from a structural engineer.
  3. Check the cracked areas of the ceiling to see if any loose lumps of plaster come off; if it’s a small area, you can use ‘patch repair’ plasters – or you may need to replace sections of plasterboard.
  4. In cases of severe ceiling cracks, the whole ceiling may need to be taken down and replaced.

How much does ceiling crack repair cost?

The average cost of replacing a ceiling can range from around £400 to £1,000, depending on the size of the room and the condition of the ceiling. If water damage is involved, the average cost of water damage ceiling repair is higher at around £1,400 – £1,700. The average cost of plastering a ceiling is somewhere in the region of £200 – £725.

How to repair hole in ceiling

If you have a hole in your ceiling that you need to repair, here’s an overview of how to deal with the repair work:

  1. Check for wires or pipes in the ceiling to ensure you don’t damage them while you repair the hole in the ceiling.
  2. Cut the ceiling back to the nearest joist and make sure it’s cut in a square to allow a new piece of plasterboard to be installed.
  3. Install a new piece of plasterboard to the ceiling, covering all of the enlarged hole you’ve created.
  4. Skim over the plasterboard to create a smooth, even surface with the rest of the ceiling.
  5. Paint the entire ceiling to ensure you have an even result (this avoids having a noticeable patch on the ceiling).

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