Updated at: 28-11-2022 - By: Helen Skeates

Repairing water damage on ceilings requires, among other things, familiarity with the process of painting over the affected area. Fixing the original source of the water problem is the first step before painting over water damage on ceilings.

We hope this post helps you repair water damage to a plaster or drywall ceiling and get it ready for painting. In addition, it will guide you in selecting an appropriate paint.

A section on maintenance and upkeep was included to help the paint on your ceiling last as long as possible. Finally, we discussed insurance and whether or not painting expenses would be covered.

Steps In Painting Over Water Damaged Ceiling

It has already been mentioned that ceilings with water damage shouldn’t be painted. Before you can paint over it, you’ll need to let it cure and make any necessary repairs. Painting over it would serve no purpose if such were the case.

When you’ve finished making repairs to your ceiling, you can then paint over it. Instructions for covering up a ceiling’s plaster or drywall with paint are provided.

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Method #1. Painting over plaster ceiling

Plaster ceiling repairs should be learned first. It needs to be dried out, and then the broken parts need to be taken off.

After that, you’ll want to use joint compounds to seal any gaps. When the compound has dry, prime the area. You can then sand the area to make it uniform in texture.

The ceiling can be painted once it has been sanded. How to do it:

Step #1. Add a primer

After the area has been sanded and the dust has been cleaned up, a coat of primer should be applied. Protect the freshly plastered ceiling until it has dried.

It is possible to utilize a mist coat as a base coat. Painting the ceiling using this method can improve its adhesion. Wait for the primer or mist coat to dry after applying it.

Step #2. Apply paint

You can start painting as soon as the mist coat of priming has dried. Waterproof paints are more durable and less prone to mold and fungal growth, thus they come highly recommended.

Method #2. Painting over drywall ceiling

Just like with a plaster ceiling, you need to find the source of the water before you can cover up the damage with paint. When dealing with drywall ceilings, it’s important to remove any debris from the area before proceeding.

There is a lot of work involved in cleaning, such as moving furniture and tearing off the damaged sections of drywall from the ceiling. Use a drywall saw to cut off the damaged sections and remove them. Next, you’ll need to rebuild the ruined ceiling section with new plywood strips.

Secure the plywood strips to the ceiling opening after cutting them to size. Plasterboard screws can be used to secure the components. Next, spread joint compound over the seams.

After that, wrap the joint compound with drywall mesh tape. To finish, apply a second coat of joint compound and smooth it out.

Once the first coat of joint compound has dried, sand it and add a second. The next step is to paint it after letting it dry out.

As soon as the drywall on your ceiling has been repaired, you can start painting. How to do it:

Step #1. Apply primer

A drywall ceiling that has been repaired should have at least two coats of primer applied to it before being painted. Plaster ceilings require a primer made of water, however oil or alcohol can be used instead. Next, wait for the primer to dry.

Step #2. Apply paint

Allow the primer to dry, and then paint the drywall the same color as the rest of your ceiling. Waterproof paint is another option for extending the life of your paint.

What products can you use for a water-damaged ceiling?

Interior latex primer

It’s possible that you’ll need to repaint your ceiling if water damage leaves unsightly stains there. You can help your paint stick better with an interior latex primer. Additionally, priming the ceiling prior to painting is generally recommended.

Latex paint

In terms of ceiling paints, latex is your best bet due to its low price and long lifespan in the face of water damage. They also don’t split or peel like other materials do.

White paint

While the idea of using white paint may seem simplistic, often the simplest solutions are the best. If you’re having trouble settling on a paint color, this is a great option to keep on hand.

They complement any shade and increase the perceived brightness of a space to give the impression that the room is larger than it actually is. If your ceiling is white and you have a leak, you can see it right away.

Is paint a part of your insurance coverage in water damage?

Insurance policies typically cover flood damage caused by leaking ceilings. Water damage to a ceiling can be expensive to repair, but it may be covered by your homeowner’s insurance depending on the terms of your policy.

First, you should talk to an attorney so that you can file a valid insurance claim with your insurer.

How Much Does Ceiling Repair Cost by Square Foot?

Ceilings in our homes are subjected to a great deal of stress. They protect the floor above from flooding, support the floor below, and deteriorate with time and weather.

Depending on the source of the problem, ceiling damage can range from a little problem like a hairline fracture or a poorly executed repair job on the ceiling fan to a major issue like drooping drywall caused by water leakage.

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Professional ceiling experts typically charge either by the square footage of the repair or an hourly rate based on the size of the job. The average cost per square foot of damage is between $45 and $90.

Depending on the scope of the project, professional ceiling repair services may charge by the hour or by the square foot. The average cost per square foot of damage is between $45 and $90.

Square Foot Rate by Ceiling Material

However, not all ceiling materials are equally simple to fix. Popcorn ceilings from the 1960s and plaster and lath construction from more than a century ago call for a more patient and knowledgeable hand when renovating older homes.

Price per square foot varies with factors such as ceiling material.

  • Costs range from $45 to $55 per square foot for standard drywall.
  • Drywall for ceilings and walls, lightweight: $50 to $60 per square foot
  • From $65 to $80 per square foot for plaster and lath
  • From $75 to $90 per square foot for popcorn

Drop tile ceilings are installed in a somewhat different manner, and repairs can often be made by the homeowner. The price per square foot for brand new drop tiles can be anywhere from $2 to $17. If the damage is too great for you to handle alone, a repairman may charge you $60 to $90 per hour.

How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Ceiling Near You?

There are a number of factors that contribute to a wide range in the price of home repairs, but one of the most significant is location. The total amount you’ll have to spend on things like labor, government fees, and supplies will vary depending on where you live.

And since ceiling repairs often require a pretty wide selection of materials and tools—plaster, spackle, building materials, etc.—where you live can sway the initial estimate.

Because of the variety of plaster, spackle, building materials, etc. that may be needed for ceiling repairs, the location of the homeowner can affect the cost estimate.

  • $570–$1,380 in New York
  • Massachusetts: $580–$1,000
  • Texas: $470–$1,230
  • Florida: $400–$1,380
  • California: $550–$1,660

Which Ceiling Repair Services Can I Get on My Budget?

When you notice a hole in your ceiling or water stains, your first instinct can be fear. There is a wide price range for ceiling problems, with many solutions costing less than a few hundred dollars.

Under $100

Many of the things you’ll want to fix around the house fall into this category, such as replacing drop tiles or filling up tiny gaps. If you only need a contractor to come out and fix a little hole, and the job takes less than an hour, you probably won’t spend more than $100.

$100 to $500

Expert labor to repair and replace a somewhat sized section of damaged ceiling, such as a water stain, would run you between $100 and $500. Small structural repairs for drooping ceilings can cost as little as this, while large painting jobs can cost as much as this.

$500 to $1,000

Larger repairs including fixing water damage, massive cracks, and drooping ceilings can cost as much as this. It’s a good idea to get a professional plumber or structural engineer to look things over as well.

$1,000 and Up

Repair or replace the ceiling of a medium to large room, and any associated leaks, HVAC, or structural issues. Ceiling repair on an older home with lath and plaster or other unusual materials and design may easily exceed $1,000.

How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Ceiling Yourself?

The term “ceiling repair” can refer to a variety of situations. Paint flaking off due to age-related wear and tear is in a different league from unexpected mold and water damage patches.

The only kinds of repairs we suggest you tackle on your own are those that won’t:

  • Ceiling materials in the building must be replaced (anything other than drop tiles)
  • Engage with utilities such as pipes or cables
  • Originating from deeper problems

We can’t tell if this is just a small glitch or if it’s the start of something greater. Do not take a chance and wait for things to get worse before taking action. If you notice a musty stench in a room, even if it hasn’t been there long, you should call a plumber immediately.

Having said that, painting your own ceiling or replacing drop tiles without the help of a professional is safe and quite cost-effective. When you add up the cost of primer, paint, ladders, drop cloths, and other painting supplies, painting a ceiling may easily run $200-$600.

As we’ve already discussed, replacing drop tiles can usually be done for between $2 and $17 per square foot of tile, and the old tile can be removed by hand.

Ceiling Repair Cost Breakdown

A professional ceiling repair service will be able to provide you a price quote after taking a few variables into account. In most cases, the following will be included in your quote:

  • Time and a half wage (with an estimated number of hours)
  • Prices of acoustic ceiling materials
  • Rare parts for the fix
  • Maintenance beyond that which is normally expected, whether it be plumbing, structural, or cosmetic.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Ceiling by the Type of Repair?

How much money should you set aside for any repair, from a minor leak to a rapidly cracking ceiling? Estimating how long it will take your professional to repair your ceiling can be difficult, so we’ve split it down by frequent damage.

Water Damage

Storm damage, roofing problems, burst pipes, and damaged air conditioning and heating vents are all potential sources of water intrusion. Repairing a ceiling that has been damaged by water might cost between $45 and $55 per square foot.

Remember to add the cause of the water damage on top of this cost, such as:

  • Always factor in the cost of fixing whatever led to the flooding in the first place.
  • Roofing labor costs range from $3.50 to $5 per square foot
  • The cost of repairing your air conditioning or heating system might range from $200 to $1,500.
  • Pricing for Roof Repair: $360 to $1,550

Sagging Ceiling

If you have a sagging or sagging and pillowing ceiling, you may expect to pay about $75 an hour for labor. Most likely, your contractor will need to replace the drywall, but he or she may also need to handle issues with outdated insulation or spacers between the ceiling and trusses.

Ceiling Holes

Ceiling holes can be caused by a wide variety of factors. Maybe you’ve had it with your old chandelier and are looking to cover up the void. Or perhaps you were living in an ancient house and managed to jam your foot in the attic.

The price to fix a hole in your ceiling ranges from $180 to $370, with the exact price depending on the type of ceiling you have and the size of the hole.

Ceiling Cracks

There are probably cracks in every room of the house, and we have no idea why. The presence of a few little ones, especially along the room’s perimeter, is not uncommon. Hairline cracks are typical as a result of a home’s natural settling process.

If a crack is more than a few inches long, widens dramatically over time, or appears to be converging on a beam, it has to be inspected quickly. These may indicate a problem with the building’s structure or foundation. Depending on the severity of the problem, foundation repair prices might range from $4,000 to $5,000 on average.

What Factors Influence the Cost to Repair Ceilings?

Homes have their own distinct personalities, and this will be reflected in the price of any necessary repairs. The cost to repair a ceiling can be affected by the following variables:

  • Your home’s age
  • Exactly where the trouble is coming from (plumbing, structural, or natural aging)
  • This area’s size is significant
  • The stuff you use to cover the ceiling
  • Where you live
  • One’s abode

Everything You Need to Know About Ceiling Maintenance

Cleaning Your Ceiling

Considering that the majority of ceilings are white, any scuffs or scratches will really stand out. It’s only natural to want to clean your ceiling on periodically to keep it looking its best and remove the dust, filth, and bugs that settle there. Spot testing is recommended before using any new product. Remember that the ceiling you have will dictate what can and cannot be used safely.

In most cases, a wet, clean towel will suffice for spot cleaning. If you don’t want water marks, take careful not to use too much water and to wipe away any leftover moisture. A duster or the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner will do the trick for getting rid of dust and cobwebs. Keeping the ceiling and any fans on it free of dust as part of your regular cleaning routine will assist to keep the area looking fresh and clean.

Painting with Care

Eventually, even the best-painted walls will need touch-ups from a professional. Ten years is a reasonable estimate for the lifespan of interior paint. Fixing minor damage or blemishes with a fresh coat of paint is appealing, but finding a perfect color match may be challenging. Before painting, a light sanding may be required.

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Unique Features

Cornices and rose work, if they exist, may have been in your family for generations and are therefore valuable antiques that should be preserved. Unfortunately, they can weaken and chip with time. Consult a professional restorer if you care about these characteristics’ original appearance and feel. In the event that you have any distinctive architectural details on your walls or ceilings, WA Ceiling Fixers may restore them with a seamless re-painting.

Fighting Mould

Most homeowners eventually have to fight mould. It spreads rapidly and can be harmful to human health. A small amount of mold on a ceiling could indicate a larger issue that has to be addressed. Mold is often an indicator of water damage and subsequent leaks. Ceilings that have been damaged by water should be looked at as soon as possible so that the problem doesn’t get worse. Ceiling mold can be cleaned up with bleach and water or specially designed chemicals if there are no structural issues. It is important to inspect in discrete areas so that discoloration doesn’t spread.

Warning Signs

There are a few red flags that should raise an eyebrow and suggest some further ceiling maintenance is in need. The onset of a ceiling collapse may be indicated by these symptoms. Cracks, cracking sounds, bubbling, and drooping are all issues that need to be monitored.

Is the condition of your ceilings causing you concern? We can help. Ceiling repairs and replacements in the Perth area are a breeze for our skilled staff. Get in touch with us right away so that we can begin addressing your requirements.


Keeping your ceiling in good condition should be at the top of your list of priorities as a homeowner. Having a professional take a look might alleviate worries and potentially reduce costs that have developed over time.

How do I know when it’s time to repair my ceiling?

It may be evident when you need to call a ceiling repair contractor if there are visible problems, such as holes, leaks, or major fractures. Keep your nose and ears open for:

  • Ceilings with long, straight cracks down the middle
  • Smells of mold or mustyness
  • Water stains or mildew that appears out of nowhere on your wall
  • Locations where one can feel a slight wetness
  • When individuals enter the room from above, there is a loud cracking sound.
  • Ceilings that are sagging, drooping, or bulging
  • Constant flaking of paint despite repainting

What should I consider when hiring a general contractor for ceiling repairs?

General contractors are the go-to people when you need your ceiling fixed. A structural engineer or plumber may also be needed, depending on the nature of the damage. Make sure the expert you hire:

  • …have the proper credentials and insurance to do the necessary repairs
  • have been commended for previous work of a comparable nature
  • Before beginning any work, please submit a thorough estimate and contract.
  • Provide a detailed breakdown of when things will get done.

What other projects should I do at the same time?

When repairing a ceiling, it’s a good idea to inspect the condition of the HVAC system, the plumbing, and even the structural integrity of the ceiling itself.

The addition of crown molding, new paint, and/or an updated lighting fixture are all great ways to give a room a boost of style.


Water damage to a ceiling can be repaired in two different ways, and we’ve shown you both. Before painting, make sure they are completely dry and take off any worn or broken pieces.