Water damage on ceiling: serious? what to do?

OK, so I haven’t had a home before and haven’t run into this. My condo neighbor’s pipe was leaking a few weeks ago, and maintenance called and asked if any water was leaking into my bathroom. Nothing was. However, I opened my closet recently (next to the bathroom) and saw this: http://i61.photobucket.com/albums/h48/Gaudere/water001.jpg That wasn’t there before…two water stains and some cracking paint. The stains are dry and the pipe next door was fixed.

Do I report it to my insurance company? Just it sand and repaint? Do I need to be worried about mold?

If it can be truly traced to the leaky pipe, there’s not much to worry about. However, as a sign of a leaky roof, it’s a LOT to worry about. Similar stains are signs of ice dams in snowy areas, and ice dams on the roof will rot the roof quickly.

Water stains, if they are not actively wet, do not generate mold. You can report it to your insurance, but in all honesty it should be claimed on your neighbor’s policy.

Back to the dry stain theme, if you prime it with Kilz or a similar primer, you can paint it over easily. You may have to spackle the cracks. Don’t bother if the stain is wet, because it will bleed through again.

Good luck.

Home Depot has a spray can ceiling sealer with a sprayer nozzle facing up. The color is a bright white, so you may not have to paint.

Warning though, that sealer spreads all over the place, so cover everything and wear goggles and a hat. When I used it, I was picking white paint out of my hair for days.

I’d notify building maintenance, not your insurance. Your insurance deductible is going to more than likely going ot be more than the cost of having it fixed.

To fix it, I’d take Kilz and a paintbrush, and dab it on, not stroke or roll.

Thanks for your advice, all. I did notify building maint; they looked at it, said “yeah probably from that pipe. I’ll tell the main office, but don’t know if they’ll do anything about it.” But it looks like I need to spackle and Kilz.

Second-hand info here, but my husband does handyman services for HOAs and property management companies. Individual homeowners almost never have to pay (nor contact their own insurance companies) for damage done by a water leak from another unit. He gets paid by the management company or HOA, rather than by the homeowner. That’s why one pays association fees, if one is in that sort of condo complex.

I don’t know if you need to bother with Kilz. I had some water stains about that bad in my family room from leaky chimney flashing, and all I did was go over them with the ceiling paint (after the flashing was repaired). This is just a closet (and look at that light fixture). I might just ignore it, but at most, I’d ask maintenance for some ceiling paint and a roller and do a quick touch up.