Leaking Roof, Hidden Water: Dealing With a Ceiling Leak

Leaking Roof, Hidden Water: Dealing With a Ceiling Leak

Gregory Han
Dec 3, 2007

"The sky is falling...the sky is falling," said the Angeleno. Of course, what we really meant was we got some much needed rain this past week, which was a sight for sore eyes and parched land. It was all welcome until I came home to discover our ceiling was peeling large pieces of paint, all dropping faster than the value of the dollar. The deluge seeped through a small opening ontop our apartment building roof, resulting in an unpleasant musty odour and the threat of water dripping onto our floor. So I had to react quickly, since our slightly concerned landlord said he could not get someone over till the following morning...

What I did was gerry rig a simple contraption using some cooking twine, a drill with a drill bit, and a large plastic container that would give me a few extra hours of managing a leak until help could arrive the next morning. Basically, what I wanted to create was a directional flow for the water, rather than having it soak through and dripping willy-nilly all over our wood floors.

First we removed all the excess peeling bits of paint, trying careful not to let too much dust fly (it was damp and we also had two air purifiers operating while cleaning up). Then I drilled a small hole into the center of the damp patch, just large enough for me to poke some cooking twine through using a long thin nail. Fortunately the leak up above must have been fairly small, since there wasn't a waterfall awaiting us when I drilled through the ceiling. With the string placed into the ceiling, I placed a plastic receptacle below; the string works in the same way those rain chains work, giving the water a path to follow.

Luck shined on us a few hours later when the rain let up and the following morning a handyman was able to patch up the small holes where the water had seeped through. We still have a stained ceiling which will be replaced this week, and we're hoping there won't be any mold growth (only an inspection and sample will tell). In the following days I'll post a follow-up with the ceiling repairs, hopefully resulting a brand new ceiling without too much recognizable damage...hopefully (our landlord seems to hire very unskilled, albeit nice, gents for these sort of repairs). At the least, our cats have a new cat toy to play with with the string still hanging from our ceiling.

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