Stains on the ceiling might signal bigger issues.

Stained ceilings often go unnoticed

A simple coat of paint might not be enough.

Many stains are instantly noticeable. But while a wine stain on a light-coloured carpet or a gravy stain on a white shirt tend to jump out right away, other stains sneak past our radars every day.

Ceiling stains are one type of stain that tend to go unnoticed for long time.

But ceiling stains can be unsightly, and some are even indicative of a larger problem, so it pays for homeowners to address stains on their ceilings, as soon as possible.

• Start with the source. Low kitchen ceilings tend to fall victim to oil stains, which are an unfortunate side effect of cooking.

But not all stains can be so easily traced to their origins.

Some ceiling stains, such as those in bathrooms, may be a byproduct of mold, while others may be indicative of plumbing problems.

Identifying the source of a stain is often the first step toward eradicating it.

• Fix the problem. Once it has been identified what’s causing the stain, fix it. The longer those problems are allowed to fester, the bigger they become.

Some water stains on ceilings result from cracks or joints that have not been adequately sealed or caulked.

Reseal or recaulk any cracks suspected of leading to stains.

• Cover nearby furniture. If you find ceiling stains above living areas, then be sure to cover the furniture below with a tarp. No one wants to compound a ceiling stain problem by staining the furniture, as well.

• Remove the stains. Different stains require different treatments. A solution made of water and bleach may be effective at removing ceiling stains, but only apply such solutions on days when the windows can be opened to air out the house.

Larger stains may require the application of a stain blocker, which may need to be applied with a roller and brush.

No matter the stain, people need to leave time for the ceiling to dry before moving on.

• Cover the ceiling with primer. Once the ceiling has completely dried, homeowners can apply a stain-blocking primer to prevent future stains. Allow the primer ample time to dry.

• Apply a fresh coat of paint. After the primer has dried completely, the ceiling can be repainted.

Some paints may blend in even if only the affected areas of the ceiling is painted, but others will require a complete repainting of the ceiling.

An eye test will help determine how much work has to be done.


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