Ceiling water damage can cause you significant problems, both cosmetically and structurally. Generally a one time incident is much easier to fix than a recurring problem. You will first need to determine the source of your water infiltration.
There are many different ways that you can find water on your ceiling:
An overflowing toilet, sink, water maker, dishwasher or washing machine.
Open or leaking windows.
While any of these can cause little or significant damage, you will need to find out how severe the leak is to decide your next course of action.
When you have a leak, you may not know right away. It may take awhile for ceiling water damage to show up. Generally, water will travel downhill and you will see a pool or stain on your ceiling. Unfortunately, this may not be the exact point that the leak is at.
To begin with the stain looks terrible. If you allow the dampness to remain for a couple of days, you may also end up with a mold problem. Mold will generally begin to grow in 24-48 hours and can be difficult to remove and possibly even dangerous to your health. It’s important to fix the leak as soon as possible.
If your roof is the source, you will need to access your attic to really look around. Look for the source and place a bucket under it. Mop up any standing water and place a fan to help with the air circulation. You will then need to either fix the roof yourself or have a professional complete the job for you.
If you can’t get to the roof leak, place a bucket under the drip on the floor. Put a small hole into the ceiling to help the water drip out in one spot and not spread further. You will then need to call a professional to fix the roof quickly.
If an appliance is the source. You can find this easily. Replace the worn parts and mop up the standing water. Place a large fan to dry the area thoroughly.
If plumbing is the issue. You may need to actually go into the walls. Unless you have plumbing experience you may need a plumber. Not only will you need to replace the lines, but you will need to fix the large hole that will likely be there afterwards, as well. Paint after everything is finished and completely dry.
The most important points are to stop the leak, repair the damage and clean and dry the area. Ceiling water damage won’t return if the job is completed properly and quickly.