What Do Ceiling Stains Mean?

As you awaken from a refreshing night’s sleep and open your eyes to a glorious day, you see it. A khaki colored map of the Great Lakes on your ceiling, right above the bed. You wonder, “How long has that been there? What does it mean? Who can help?”
One scenario is that, indeed, the roof is leaking. If the spots appear, darken, or grow in size only after it rains, the roof is likely the culprit. Diagnosing a leaky roof is best left to professionals; improperly repairing a roof can lead to more issues. Here are some causes AND some solutions:

Common causes of leaky roofs are:

● Missing shingles –due to high winds
● Damaged flashing around pipes, chimneys, and skylights
● Ice dams and –snow melts
● Roofs with shallow slopes and inadequate runoff

Leaks are difficult to locate since water doesn’t necessarily drip straight down. It can travel along roof panels or lumber in the attic before dripping onto your insulation and leaving the telltale yellow water spot on your ceiling. That means the leak can be far away from where the ceiling shows damage. And a slow leak is harder to find than a big leak. Unless you have good detective skills when it comes to roofing leaks, you’ll need help to help track down the cause of the problem.

Other Causes of Ceiling Stains

Water spots on the ceiling don’t automatically mean the roof is leaking. Often the stain is not from a roof failure but from drips in the attic from condensation on pipes. Many water lines pass above your rooms including upstairs hot water heaters, plumbing, and A/C lines. Small microcracks can allow slow leaks within the attic crawl space that eventually reveal themselves as stains on the ceiling.

Signs of a Water Damaged Ceiling:

● Odors
● Discolored Growths
● Discolorations/Stains
● Peeling Wall Surfaces

Even if your ceiling does not look to be very damaged, don’t assume anything since it doesn’t take much water to create a disaster. A primary sign that your ceiling is at risk of failure are depressions around the fasteners; you will see tiny dimples forming on the ceiling because the drywall encompassing the nails or screws succumbs to gravity and starts to droop, leaving an
inverted crater.

Take Precautions

Even if you think it is just a stain, call White Knight to come investigate. Let them search out and confirm the source of water and design a restoration plan. If a bubble or droop develops within the drywall, water may well be pooling on the opposite
side. Test the ceiling using your fingers. Does it feel dry? That’s a hopeful sign. If damp, use a nail to punch a drain hole to release the backup; capture it in a bucket. However, if the drywall appears soft or spongy, your team will need to cut out the broken section before it sags and probably falls. The water damage restorers will need to cut very cautiously, as all types of wires, cables, water lines, heating pipes and so forth are often just on the opposite side. When you see this happening, move all valuables and furnishings from the space in anticipation of a ceiling collapse and contact local experts like White Knight Carpet Rescue of Madison immediately.

Call For Help in Waukesha

According to, it is important to dry water-damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. White Knight Carpet Rescue of Madison, Wisconsin serves residential customers with a one hour or less response time. Qualified water damage experts will protect your home with intense cleaning, refinishing and emergency flood response. White Knight
Carpet Rescue will rescue you 24/7 from water emergencies at (608) 665-1742.

Schedule Now

Please fill out the form below to request an appointment. If this is an emergency, please call 608-257-1991.
You may also text us to schedule an appointment at 608-224-9796.

We will confirm your appointment and provide a 1-hour window for arrival.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.