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Defining Ceiling Damage on an Exterior Wall

Updated on November 21, 2011

How Do You Identify a Ceiling Leak?

Ceilings can get damaged and stained by water getting on to the surface. This could be from rain or due to condensation. Any sign of dampness can cause mold growth and this can further damage your ceiling - also causing ceiling damage all along exterior wall sides.

Condensation stains can appear even when there is no rain and is caused by very cold conditions obtaining in the house ventilation which causes the humidity in the air to condense and cling to surfaces. This condensation again leads to conditions that permit the growth of mold and fungus. Condensation stains may form near an exterior wall or on a ceiling panel near an external wall. Normally condensation stains can be identified by their white center stains that can be one or many in number. Generally condensation stains can be eliminated by temperature control and also better air circulation at the area where the condensation occurs. Dehumidifiers can also help to avoid condensation damage.

Leaking of rain can be around a ceiling fixture, near an exterior wall or even around ventilation pipes. Stains caused by rain water would form concentric circles that vary from dark at the inner rings and lighter as it spreads outward. The number of rings would indicate the number of times such leakage has occurred. Identifying the source of the leakage that is causing ceiling damage all along exterior walls would need a thorough examination of the roof and all its constituents. This would include the gutter system, the flashing around pipes and windows, and other points of ingress if you have a pitched roof. If the roof is flat and of concrete you would need to examine the waterproofing on it to see that it is not damaged.

Other Reasons for Damage to Ceilings

Plumbing and joint defects in water or drainage lines that are using the external walls to run to their destinations could also cause dampness and leakage in ceilings near external walls. Examination of these lines would easily pinpoint the source of leakage, though this may be more difficult if the lines are concealed. Ceiling damage is also quite often traced to bathrooms in the floor above. Provision of proper waterproofing and correct installation of plumbing can stop such damage.

Ceiling damage along all external wall sides can also be caused by structural defects that have led to settlement of the wall and foundations. This is also quite possible in buildings built in areas that suffer earthquake shocks. Damage can also occur in case of poor construction methods or materials that have led to over stress in the ceiling and its adjacent structures. Correcting such defects would need expert advice from professionals.

Repairs to ceilings that have been damaged is best carried out after necessary inspections have identified the cause of the damage and steps are taken to eliminate these sources of the damage.


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