Different Types of Ceiling Damage: A Guide

By: Jan Hajek | Date Posted: October 5, 2020

Almost 24% of property damage claims are water damage related. One of the most common places for water damage to occur is in the ceiling. However, not all ceiling damage is water-related.

When you see cracks or discoloration develop in your ceiling; then it’s time to act. This guide will help you determine the source of the damage and what to do to repair it.

Foundation Settling

All new homes go through a settling period. In the first few years after being built, the changing weather and humidity change the foundation, walls, and ceiling’s alignment. As a result of this, cracks will appear.

You’ll know you have settling cracks if they follow the seams of the drywall. They’re typically long and thin. If you have these types of cracks, you don’t need to worry; repair them with drywall tape and compound.

Water Damage

If you have discoloring on your ceiling, this is a clear sign of water damage. This is mold and mildew that’s growing. To go about fixing water damage, you need to know the source of the water.

It’s best to hire a professional to handle these types of ceiling repairs. They will know how to track the source of the water to stop the water leak. They then know how to repair the ceiling to stop mold growth and restore your ceiling’s look.

Truss Uplift

If you live in a place where high winds are common, your home could suffer a truss lift. The wind gets under the roof’s eaves and lifts, which causes stress and cracks along the ceiling’s edge, where it connects to the walls.

This can also happen when the temperature and humidity change. This can cause swelling and shrinkage of the wood, putting stress on the wall plates.

This kind of inside ceiling repair requires more than just fixing the visible cracks. Instead, you need to install metal connecting ties to your wall plates. Then you can repair the visible cracks with caulking or drywall compound.

Truss Uplift

Plaster Construction

Some older homes have plaster ceilings. If yours does, then having cracks in the ceiling is normal. This is due to the construction of the ceiling. The wood laths under the plaster can move due to the changing humidity.

Plaster is also prone to shrinkage. Between these two things, you can have several hairline fractures in your ceiling. You can easily repair them with drywall compound.

Fix Your Ceiling Damage

Knowing how to fix your ceiling damage starts with identifying the source of the damage. This will help you to know if the cracks are a symptom of bigger problems. If your cracks aren’t a big deal, then you can quickly fix them.

If your cracks are a symptom of something bigger, you can act quickly to address the bigger problem. This will save you money in the long run by making the necessary repairs and preventing further damage.

Please browse our other home articles for more advice on how to maintain and repair your home.


Is a leaking ceiling an emergency?

No matter how big or small a leaking roof might seem – it’s an emergency. A small leak can soon develop into a big problem, and a big leak can quickly lead to a lot of water damage in your home.

Are ceiling leaks dangerous?

Ceiling leaks can cause ceiling and attic damage, the growth of dangerous molds and mildews, structural instability, and inefficient energy use that may result in higher utility bills. These risks can be amplified when ceiling leaks occur near light fixtures.

Do I need to replace the ceiling after the leak?

In general, it’s best to repair a water-stained ceiling when possible. If your plaster or drywall ceiling is crumbling, swollen, or bulging even after drying or shows signs of mold growth, the material should be replaced by a professional.

Thank you for reading!

Jan Hajek

I am an experienced writer. I write about home improvement topics such as construction, electrical work, plumbing, security and safety, interior design, exterior design, tools and woodworking, gardening, and garage organization. I love helping people improve their homes and make them more enjoyable places to live.

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