The weather here in Jacksonville is some of the nicest in the country: plentiful sunny days throughout the year with a few cold snaps in the winter to break up the monotony. But as the summer months give way to warm, steamy days, Jacksonville can have its share of heavy rains. As a result, you could be faced with a possible roof leak and its problem child, the stained ceiling. But what is the best way to fix a water-stained ceiling?
The tools you will need to repair a water stain on the ceiling are a 4-inch putty knife, a drop cloth, an 8-foot ladder (or taller depending on the height of your ceiling), stain blocker or primer paint, spray texture to match your existing ceiling, matching ceiling paint, and a paint roller and paint tray (if it’s a small area, a paint brush will suffice).
First and foremost, make sure your roof leak is repaired properly. If there is no visible sign of roof failure, such as missing shingles or holes, check the flashing around elevation changes, chimneys, skylights, and other roof vents. This is to prevent a recurring water leak.
Once your roof is properly repaired you can then fix the water stain on the ceiling. Take a putty knife or paint scraper and remove the textured area around the stain. Make sure the stained area is dry, otherwise the new paint and texture will not adhere and the stain will reappear. To dry the area, turn down the air conditioner to about 70 degrees for the day and apply a fan directly to the area. Drying could take a few days, depending on the severity of the leak.
When the area is dry, apply a stain-blocking paint or primer (this is available at any home improvement or hardware store). Make sure to apply the paint over the entire cleared area, not just the stained area.
Once the paint is dry (this will take an hour or so), apply the new texture to the ceiling. Spray-on popcorn ceiling or knock-down ceiling texture are available at home improvement stores. For popcorn ceilings, spray the area and overlap your spray with the existing texture. Continue to apply until the popcorn texture blends in seamlessly.
Prior to applying a knock-down texture, spray a piece of cardboard or other disposable flat surface to determine how long until the surface can be bladed off or “knocked down.” Drying time will range from 5 minutes to 15 minutes. Once you’ve determined how long to wait to blade off or knock down the texture, apply and let dry. Using a 4-inch or 6-inch putty knife, begin knocking the peaks off of the texture until you achieve the desired knocked-down appearance.
Once you have the desired texture, allow the area to dry for 24 hours. When the texture is dry, apply your matching ceiling paint.
Being able to perform small jobs around your home, such fixing water stains, can save you money in the long run.