You may not give much thought to your ceiling. You may not look up at it very often. But ceilings can quickly become major safety hazards when they’re damaged or in need of repair. Falling plaster and exposed insulation, wiring and plumbing can be dangerous to you and your family.
Major ceiling repairs can also be expensive. That’s why it’s so important to know what you’re looking for when it comes to signs of ceiling damage. Understanding the early warning signs will help to keep your home safe and avoid major repair bills.
Check out these 6 simple signs that your ceiling needs some attention.
- Stains and water marks
Even a small amount of moisture can do a lot of expensive damage to the structure of a house. It can weaken structural components, cause softening in walls and ceilings and lead to damp, rot, mould and other problems.
Ceiling water damage will usually reveal itself through staining to the ceiling or tops of the walls. These stains will often look like puddles with brown edges.
You may even notice that your ceiling drips during heavy rain. Make a note of where the drip comes from and when the rain is over, you’ll need to find the source of the leak.
Be sure to fix the leak – it could be from a hole in your roof or a damaged shingle or tile – before fixing the ceiling or walls.
Cracks can appear for a number of reasons. Hairline cracks may just be a sign of an old house where some minor cracking is perfectly natural. It could also be a sign of multiple layers of improperly applied paint. These are mainly aesthetic issues and generally don’t require immediate attention.
Other cracks, however, can be more sinister. Delaminating cracks can be a sign that the plaster is pulling away from the structural supports. These cracks are a warning that the ceiling plaster could fall down at any moment and should be attended to straight away.
Settlement cracks could be a sign that your house’s foundation is settling or even sagging. If you’ve recently built your home or renovated significantly, this may be normal. But keep an eye on the cracks – the problem may need to be handled by a professional and should not be left alone.
- Peeling paint If paint is flaking or peeling, this can mean there’s a moisture problem. This could be the result of a leak or a humidity problem, which is often caused by inadequate ventilation. As already discussed, any moisture can lead to serious problems for walls and ceilings. You should find and fix the source of the problem before repainting.
- Sagging Sagging, like delaminating cracks, is a sign that your ceiling is pulling away from its structural supports. This can be caused by moisture, foundations shifting or even just aggressive vibrations. Any significant sagging can lead to ceiling collapse and should be addressed immediately.
Like peeling paint and water stains, mould is a strong indicator there are moisture problems. Mould can release some serious contaminants and allergens into the air, leading to serious health issues including respiratory ailments and skin problems.
Signs of mould include dark spotting in clusters and musty, mouldy smells.
Because mould is potentially dangerous, proper safety precautions should be taken when dealing with mould. Unless you have experience dealing with mould, you’re always better off calling in the professionals.
Once the mould has been eradicated, you can address the source of the moisture and repair the ceiling.
- Cracking sounds If you’re hearing regular cracking, creaking or groaning sounds from your ceiling, this could be another clear sign that you need ceiling repair. These sounds could be the plaster failing, damage to the support timbers or a number of other potentially dangerous problems. Get it checked by a professional immediately.
If you notice any of the above signs, don’t ignore them. Even if they don’t present immediate safety concerns, ignoring them could mean that minor routine repairs turn into major construction work. And that will end up costing you a whole lot more.