Water stained ceiling leaking

Water Stains On Your Ceiling? Here Is How You Fix That!

Water spots and brown stains on a ceiling are unsightly, but in some cases, the brown spots can occur due to mold growth. If you have a leak in your roof or attic that’s been exposed to the elements, it can lead to discoloration of your ceiling. You can use a 50/50 water to bleach solution to remove the majority of the stain but then you’ll have to use an oil-based primer to ensure that the stain will not bleed through your paint again.

What Do Water Stains On The Ceiling Mean?

If you have water stains on your ceiling, they are likely the result of a roof, heating appliance, or plumbing leak.

This is a guide about spotting signs of a leak before it causes significant damage.

Whenever I see a ceiling water stain, I usually look up at the attic to see if there are any signs of a leak coming through the ceiling.

So far, every time I looked for signs of leaks in the attic under a ceiling with water stains on it, I found that there was a leak.

leaking attic and ceiling stains

How Do You Get Rid Of Water Stains On The Ceiling?

Water stains on the ceiling: It’s happened to just about every homeowner.

No matter how careful you are, water can seep through your roof and end up on your ceiling, where it leaves unsightly stains. Treating a ceiling stain is a lot easier than you might think.

how to remove water stains on ceilings

All you need is some common household ingredients you probably already have on hand and about half an hour of your time.

To make a bleach solvent for removing water stains from your ceiling, mix one-part bleach and two parts water in a spray bottle.

Spray the mixture onto a dry ceiling to get rid of the stain.

water and bleach soloution to remove water stains on ceilings

Before you begin, set up some plastic drop cloths in the area where the stain is located to protect your flooring and baseboards.

The bleach solution can damage surfaces if it leaks out of the drop cloth or if you drip any while mopping up the water stain.

Once you’ve assembled all of your materials, turn off all fans and heating/AC units that might blow the bleach’s vapor back into your home’s air.

You don’t want to risk inhaling any fumes.

Can You Just Paint Over Water Damage?

The first thing to do when you have water damage is to dry the area. If it is wet, you are going to need to dry it before you can repaint it.

A good way to go about doing this is to place a fan in front of the area or use a hairdryer on low heat. When that is done, you are going to need to block the stain from coming back by using an oil-based primer.

This will eliminate the water and stain so that it does not come back when you repaint.

priming water stain ceilings

What’s The Right Primer To Block Water Stains?

Depending on the size of the water stain you can either use an aerosol can primer that you can spray on, or, if the stain is too big you might want to get it by the gallon in a can.


In order to permanently block water stains, you will have to use an oil-based or a shellac-based primer.


The product that we use at 518 Painters and we highly recommend is called “Cover Stain” and it is made by Zinsser.

You can get Cover Stain in either an aerosol can or by gallon.

Cover Stain is an oil-based primer and does exactly what the name says, “Covers Stains”.

What Primer Do I Use For Smoke Damage?

We also suggest Cover Stain if you are trying to paint smoke-damaged areas. It will not only block stains such as nicotine and soot that can potentially bleed through your paint, but it also blocks odors from coming back.

What Are The Downsides Of Oil-Based Primers?

Unfortunately, anything oil-based is not easy to work with.

Besides the strong odor that will leave you lightheaded if you do not have a fume filtering respirator, it is also not as easy to clean up. In most cases, you will need mineral spirits or paint thinner to clean any messes and your tools.

This is the respirator that I personally use to protect my lungs when working with oil-based primers and paints.

How do you remove brown water stains from popcorn ceiling?

Removing water stains from popcorn ceilings is not that difficult.

Use a 50/50 water/bleach mix (1 cup water and 1 cup bleach) in a spray bottle to spray the stain and neutralize any mold bacteria.

After it dries you can use an upshot oil-based primer to prime the stain.

In Conclusion

If you have water damage, like a leaking pipe or a ceiling leak, you will need to repair the area before you can repaint it. You need to dry the area completely. If it’s wet, dry it before you start painting. You will need an oil-based primer to block the stain from coming back. Always wear rubber gloves, a respirator, and protective eye gear when working with bleach and oil-based primer.

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1 thought on “Water Stains On Your Ceiling? Here Is How You Fix That!”

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