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jbrickm 11-15-2010 02:31 PM

Water damaged ceiling in kitchen - how to fix?
I noticed a black spot in the kitchen ceiling yesterday. When I tried to inspect it, the drywall caved in and it was wet. The spot is about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide. The location of the spot is right below the shower drain in an upstairs bathroom.

How do I go about finding the leak and fixing it? Should I call a professional?

oldognewtrick 11-15-2010 02:43 PM

I think you already found the leak...but, does it get wet when the shower is running, does it get wet when it raining? Go ahead and open up the ceiling and take some more pics, the damage is already done, bigger holes are just as easy to fix.

jbrickm 11-15-2010 03:25 PM


Thanks. Pardon my stupidity but I just assumed it was the shower that's the issue. How can rain affect the lower floor ceiling without it showing upstairs?

Can I just use a utility knife to cut around the damaged spot? I'm thinking a 4 inch by 4 inch hole should be enough to look

oldognewtrick 11-15-2010 05:56 PM

Plumbing waste drains have a vent stack that goes up through the roof. The flashing on the pipe is usually a plastic boot that will degrade over time and water can run down the outside of the vent pipe into a ceiling below. Usually where the pipe makes a bend is where the leak will show up.

When are you noticing the leak?

gmicken 11-15-2010 06:23 PM

Olddog, good call. I have seen water damage in one area and when found, it could be 15' or so away. I had a customer that had 5 contractors look at a leak in the 1st floor closet. Above the closet was a bathroom and above that was a vent stack. The leak had been a problem for 28 years and would come an go. the leak would show up from time to time. Each charged the customer for a days labor. The problem was a nail in the vent pipe in the wall in the closet, as it rusted away, it got worse. Water leaks can be a problem. G

jbrickm 11-15-2010 06:46 PM

Actually, it did rain heavily the night before last. If it is the vent stack thing, can I expect visible leaks if it rains again?

oldognewtrick 11-15-2010 11:36 PM


Originally Posted by jbrickm (Post 51202)
Actually, it did rain heavily the night before last. If it is the vent stack thing, can I expect visible leaks if it rains again?

Yes, first thing I would check is the plumbing flashings on the roof. If you are not afraid to get on the roof, look for cracks on the gasket around the pipe. If cracked it can be sealed with caulk for a temporary fix or have it replaced. They are about $5.00 at the hardware store. Call a roofer IF you don't feel comfortable with heights, he will charge you a lot more than $5.00.

Jimbo56 11-16-2010 03:30 AM

i would leave the ceiling to dry out for at least a week after it is fixed aswell, depending on how long it has been leaking.

inspectorD 11-22-2010 06:51 PM

I have found sooooo many plumbing vent stacks that are cracked...wish I had a nickle.
I recommend that after you change the entire boot, that you sacrafice another boot (the rubber plumbing flange) and install just the rubber part over the new one. This will make the top boot take the weather and sunshine directly.

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