Discovering a ceiling leak can throw a wrench in your entire week. They can strike out of nowhere and at the most inconvenient times. The first thing on your mind once you discover a leak might be what to do next and how this even sprouted in the first place.

Ceiling leaks usually boil down to two sources: roofing issues and plumbing issues. The first course of action after discovering a leak is to distinguish which of these categories your situation falls into. But before we dive deeper into that, let’s go over some of the signs of a ceiling leak.  


A ceiling leak might not be as easy to identify as you may think. Sure, there are some undeniable markers of the issue but there are also a few more subtle signs to keep your eyes peeled for as well. 


Water coming from the ceiling. Okay, this one might be obvious. But if there’s water streaming from any part of your ceiling or along where the wall and the ceiling meet, you definitely have a leak on your hands. 

Sagging or bubbling ceiling. Pay attention to the texture of your ceiling. Does the material seem to be weighed down? Do you see a swelling bubble of paint materializing? These are two common signs of a ceiling leak.

Water stains. Here’s where a leak can be a bit trickier to track down. Depending on the severity of the leak, it may just cause a stain on the ceiling. These yellow or brownish marks can range anywhere between subtle to glaringly obvious. If you have a slow leak, this stain might go unnoticed for longer than ideal.

Warped/peeling paint and plaster. This is another sign that can take a long time to notice. Your paint will slowly start to peel if it’s exposed to a slow leak. Plaster may expand and shrink which will eventually lead to cracks. 


Leaks can be tricky to track down. Think about what is directly above the area of the leak. What are all of the possible contributing factors at play? Is it directly below a bathroom or the attic? Whatever the answer might be, evaluate all reasonable options. 

Here are a few of the most common sources and how to track them down: 


A roof leak can happen for a number of reasons. It usually has to do with direct damage to the protective elements of your roof. That could mean damaged shingles, cracked flashing, or degraded sealing. Roof damage can occur directly after extreme weather conditions or could just mean your roof is due for a replacement.

The best way to identify a damaged roof is to take a visit to your attic if you have one. It will likely be easier to find a leak on a rainy day. If it’s not rainy, look for water stains and areas where light is peeking through. 


Bathroom and kitchen plumbing could be another possible source of a ceiling leak too. Leaky, poorly sealed pipes are usually to blame. In rare cases, a leak could be the result of a pipe burst.  

If your ceiling leak is directly below a bathroom or kitchen (likely the basement), that’s probably the source. Be sure to go to the source and inspect the kitchen and bathroom sink as well as the toilet area.   


Another common source of a ceiling leak is a swamp cooler. There are a number of different reasons a swamp cooler can start to leak. Inspect the float valve inlet, supply line, drainage hole, and cooler pad.

Luckily, most swamp cooler issues are fairly easy to address. Once you do fix the source problem, be sure to swiftly tackle the water damage to avoid structural issues or mold. 


When you discover a ceiling leak it’s always advisable to call in the pros. First, determine which category your leak falls under, roofing or plumbing. If it’s a roofing issue, get in touch with your local restoration company for help. If it’s an issue with the plumbing, get in touch with To the T Plumbing & Heating.

To the T Plumbing & Heating is your trusted NATE-certified team poised to provide excellent service to our commercial and residential clients alike. If you’re in the Northern Colorado area and you’re in need of plumbing or heating assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Get in touch today to schedule an appointment!