Ceiling Water Damage Repair Cost

Do you have water damage on your ceiling you need to deal with? If you do, you’re probably wondering about ceiling water damage repair costs.

Plumbing repairs tend to be expensive, and they are a nightmare of most homeowners. Just thinking about having to break through the walls to get to the pipes and all the water damage this might cause is excruciating.

Still, when you notice a water stain, a suspicious-looking crack on the ceiling, or you notice that your paint is peeling, you shouldn’t hesitate. These types of damages will increase over time, so no matter the ceiling water damage repair costs, you need to start the repair process as quickly as possible.

If you’d like to know how much this would cost you – you can expect to pay anywhere between $100 and $2,500 for repairing your ceiling that has been damaged by water. Even this price range is just an estimation, as the costs can vary greatly. The total cost to repair ceiling water damage can end up being much higher.

Here is an extensive overview of all ceiling water damage repair costs:

Ceiling Water Damage Repair Costs


The ceiling is one of the most important parts of our home. At the same time, it is one that has the greatest responsibility.

The ceiling is the home to many pipes that might leak. If this happens, everything will leak downwards, causing your ceiling to wear down. This damage can go anywhere between hairline cracks, dry, yellow stains, or the entire portions of your ceiling breaking down.

The smallest crack can indicate that there is something severely wrong happening inside your ceiling, and this means you need to call a professional plumber immediately. Things won’t get any better if you let it be.

Before we go into any further details, here is a chart that shows ceiling water damage repair costs, so you can know what to expect:

Average cost: $500 – $2,500
Cost per square foot: $45 – $90
Cost of drop tile ceiling per square foot of tiles: $2 – $17
Plumbing inspection: $80 – $200
Mold removal per square foot: $15 – $30
Fixing the pipes: $500 – $2.500
Fixing a hole: $200 – $500
Structural damage: $2,000 – $10,000

Ceiling Water Damage Repair Cost by Square Foot


The first thing that will affect any price we mention here is the square foot of your ceiling, or rather of the portion of the ceiling you need repairing. This usually depends on the damage size.

For example, brown spots on your bathroom ceiling might simply be a sign of too high humidity and not that there is pipe damage. Such superficial repairs are usually very affordable, and they won’t cost as much as if you have to break down the ceiling to reach a pipe.

No matter the type of damage, most professionals will charge by either the square footage or the hourly rate (which will be based upon the square footage they can go over in an hour). Most of the time, this will cost you between $45 and $90 per square foot.

However, if there are some minor issues, such as cracked joints or nail holes, the costs might be higher, as chances are the professional can repair them in a matter of minutes. Such repairs tend to be near the higher end of the price range.

Ceiling Water Damage Repair Costs by Material

drywall sheets

The next thing you need to be mindful of is the material your ceiling is made of. Not all materials cost the same, nor are all as easy to repair. This is why the repairs on the ceiling of your home might cost more or less compared to the same repairs on your neighbor’s house.

For example, older homes with popcorn ceilings or lath and plaster structures take more time to fix. Not just that, but these might require professionals who know how to work with such materials.

On the other hand, the cost to repair drywall ceiling damage might be much more affordable, as this material is easy to work with.

The material is one of the things that might influence your ceiling water damage repair costs per square foot. As such, the average ceiling repair cost per square foot might be:

  • Popcorn ceilings: $75 to $90.
  • Plaster and lath: $65 to $80.
  • Lightweight sheetrock: $50 to $60.
  • Traditional drywall: $45 to $55.

Drop Tile Ceiling Water Damage Repair Cost

A fairly modern type of ceiling is a drop tile ceiling. This type of ceiling uses a special type of tiles placed over the frame. They usually serve as covers for the building’s infrastructure, including sewage system and piping.

This type of roof allows for space between the dropped ceiling and whatever is hidden underneath, enabling easier inspections and repairs.

Many people also use drop tile ceilings to hide existing damage on the roof, including the water damage. As such, if you happen to have a home with a dropped ceiling, make sure to thoroughly inspect everything.

Chances are this type of ceiling was made to hide something – especially since this type of roofing is mostly done on commercial properties.

If you want to add new drop tile ceilings, you should prepare to pay between $2 and $17 per square foot of these tiles, and you should also add the cost of other required materials. While this isn’t cheap, it’s much more affordable than repairing severe water damage on the ceiling.

If you cannot complete this on your own, a professional will likely charge you between $60 and $90 per hour for this task.

Once again, it’s important to notice that you shouldn’t use drop tiles to hide damage from a pipe that hasn’t been repaired. Water damage won’t go on its own, especially not if you have a leak. Quite the opposite – the water might keep on causing damage to your property without you even realizing it.

As such, only use drop tiles to hide the aesthetic consequences of a leaky pipe, such as discolorations. Any type of leak on the ceiling has to be repaired as soon as possible. Otherwise, you might end up with thousands in costs.

How Much Does It Cost to Deal with Water?


Dealing with any type of water damage isn’t easy, especially when you consider that you need to fix the pipe, as well. Most of the time, it isn’t enough just to repaint the stain or to fix the hairline crack. You need to make some significant repairs.

The main causes of water damage are plumbing leaks, such as burst pipes, especially if the ceiling isn’t connected to the roof. However, there are several other causes of this, such as:

  • Roof leaks.
  • Defective appliances.
  • Clogged gutters.
  • An overflowing bathtub/sink/toilet.
  • Problems with the tenant’s or upstairs neighbor’s appliances.

You need to fix whatever it is that’s causing water to pour down to your ceiling. Sometimes, this can be as easy as unclogging the plumbing vent or the toilet. Other times, you’ll need to conduct expensive pipe repairs.

Without including drywall repairs, the cost to remove water damage is usually $40 to $60 per square foot. If you need to repair the insulation in your attic, you should also pay $1.5 to $3 per square foot, as well.

Here are a few more details:

The Cost to Fix the Cause

As mentioned, the main cause of water damage to the roof is a leaking pipe. This is often the most expensive part of repairs, and you might end up paying between $500 and $2,500 to fix this. The exact cost will depend on the materials you’ve used, but also on the full extent of the damage.

On average, a plumber needs to do several things to repair a leak inside the ceiling, and this might include:

  • Draining the water.
  • Removing the damaged portion of the wall.
  • Fixing the pipes or replacing them.
  • Drying the area.
  • Replacing the wall that was removed.

As you can see, there are several steps, and not all have to be followed. Also, not all types of ceilings have the same parts that need to be repaired.

For example, if you need to seal the area the water has damaged on your drywall, replace the shingles and wood supports, you need to pay up to $1,500. This is why we’ve said from the start that the costs can pile up and end up much higher compared to the average prices.

The extent of water damage will greatly influence ceiling water damage repair costs. This is why it’s important to contact a professional the moment you see a leak or that brown stain.

If you act on time, the repair might end up being very simple. However, if you wait, the damage will only become greater and the costs will pile up.

If you leave the leak going for too long, you might end up with mold and mildew. No professional will let them be. Instead, they need to be cleaned and removed. This can cost you up to $30 per square foot.

On the other hand, any leak that was left untouched might lead to severe ceiling damage. Your entire ceiling might end up crumbling down, taking everything underneath it with it!

Not just that, but such a severe leak can lead to structural damage on your property. The costs of fixing this can be astronomical!

Finally, if you cannot locate the cause of the leak, you should pay for a plumbing inspection. This will cost you an additional $80 to $200.

The Cost of Repainting


If you don’t have to remove the entire portion of your ceiling to fix the leak, chances are you’re left with a huge and ugly water stain on the ceiling. No one wants to have this inside his property, as it might appear dirty or unkept.

You might do the repainting dog on your own – supposing you have fixed the cause of the leak. This is what you might do:

  • Wait until the stain is fully dry.
  • Clean the stained spot with bleach.
  • Apply an undercoat of stain-blocking primer.
  • Cover everything with ceiling paint.

You might also need to remove a layer or two of old paint, as they are probably cracked due to the water damage.

Of course, if you don’t want to do this on your own, or if you feel like you don’t have enough time, your next option is to pay a professional who will know how to paint your roof. Most of them will clean your house at the price of $20 to $50 per hour.

The only issue is if your ceiling is made out of drywall. This material is very susceptible to water damage, and chances are you’ll need to replace certain points on it.

The Cost of Fixing Ceiling Holes

Many types of water damage will cause holes in the ceiling. Sometimes, it goes the other way around, and the holes in the ceiling will help spread the water damage. Either way, this is something you need to fix – and also to include in your estimated cost for ceiling water damage repair.

In general, you can expect to pay between $200 and $500 to fix a hole. If you have more than one, expect to pay around 25% less for any additional hole. Of course, just like with other expenses, a few things will affect the price, such as the material needed and the size of the hole.

Keep in mind, though, that holes that are a foot deep or deeper are counted as medium or even large repairs. Also, if they are followed by dark stains, you might need to count in the repainting job.

The Cost of Fixing Cracks in the Ceiling


Not all types of water damage will cause holes. Some might cause hairline cracks or even larger, much more severe ones that look as if your entire home is about to fall apart (don’t worry – chances are it won’t).

Some cracks are purely cosmetic and harmless. They appear commonly in older homes, and they are nothing to worry about.

However, if you have a crack that runs all the way from the ceiling to the wall, a fairly wide crack, or if a crack is in a V, dip, or a stair-shape, you might be dealing with structural damage. This is a severe problem, and you should contact a repairman as soon as possible.

In general, you shouldn’t worry about hairline cracks or cracks that look like a spider-web, as these are a common sign of an old house. Also, cracks between the ceiling and the wall that go in the horizontal direction are fairly common.

However, there are a few types of cracks you don’t want to play with. These include:

  • Discolored cracks, as these are a common sign of water damage.
  • Cracks close to the door or a window, especially if they have become challenging to open.
  • Several cracks that go in the same direction, such as down the wall or ove the ceiling.
  • Wide cracks that go in the middle of the ceiling or the wall.
  • Large cracks on a ceiling that is sagging.

Depending on the size and material, you can expect to pay $50 to $100 per hour for fixing cracks in the ceiling. Keep in mind that this isn’t a quick task – you can expect this to take you 2 to 4 hours, or even more, which will further increase the price.

Sagging Ceiling Water Damage Repair Costs

We’ve just mentioned sagging ceiling, and this is something that requires its own chapter.

Sagging ceilings can often happen after significant water damage, as the foundations have softened and become mushy – especially if you have drywall.

This is damage that will cost you at least $250 to $500, but it might cost you more depending on the material and how big the damage is.

A general approach to dealing with this issue includes:

  • Removing the drywall that is sagging.
  • Installing higher-quality, thicker drywall that is sag resistant.
  • Repairing the insulation.

There are a few more things you might be able to do, such as adding furring strips or spacers to the trusses or joists and installing another drywall, right below the old ceiling. While this is a quicker solution, it doesn’t tackle the cause of the problem, and it will reduce the height of your ceiling.

There are a few other things to be mindful of:

  • You might need to replace wooden support beams, especially if they are sagging, as well. This can end up being quite expensive, as it can cost you up to $2,500.
  • While you might think you have water damage, you might be dealing with termites. It’s a good idea to call an inspection – but this will cost you an additional $75 to $150.

Structural Damage Costs

Structural damages are the worst kind of damages.

They rarely occur over night. Instead, they are a sign that there has been something severely wrong with your ceiling for a while, and you didn’t notice it on time.

Next to water damage, some of the occurrences that can lead to structural damage include:

  • Natural aging of the property.
  • The upper floor is too heavy.
  • Improper construction.
  • Damage to the roof.

Your best option would be to use a water damage repair cost calculator that likely exists on the website of the company you’ll contact for this task. In general, these repairs are very costly. It isn’t surprising of them to cost $10,000 or even more!

Not just that, but you’ll also need to hire a structural engineer, and these people cost between $250 and $400 to come to your property, inspect it, then design the right plan. This plan will help you understand how you can save whatever can be saved from the property.

Painting Costs


Once everything else has been fixed, the only thing left for you to do is to pay for the painting and flaking. You’d want your fixed wall to look as good as new, not to have every single hairline crack visible.

When you paint the ceiling, you shouldn’t just put the layer of paint and call it a day. Instead, you’ll need to remove any flaking, sagging, bubbling, peeling, or water that’s between the ceiling and the paint, causing problems.

The painting itself costs $1 to $2. This is a fairly affordable procedure may people use at least once in their home. However, additional repairs such as peeling will cost you an additional dollar or two per hour.

On average, if you need to paint the living room, you’ll need to pay between $250 and $1,000. A bedroom will cost you less – between $150 and $600. How expensive it’ll is – it depends on the room size most of the time.

Should You Repair or Replace your Ceiling?

Sometimes, if the damage is extensive, it might be a better option to simply replace your ceiling instead of trying to fix it.

Just like with many other things, though, the cost of repairing will depend on several things, including:

  • The material of the ceiling.
  • The ceiling size.
  • Labor rates.
  • What caused the damage.

If you have drywall, you’ll be pleased to know that most of the time, replacing it is not just easy, but affordable, as well. In general, a new ceiling will cost you between $2 and $4 per square foot, which is much cheaper than having to repair and repaint the entire property.[1]

Even here, the most expensive option is when you have the plaster and lath ceiling, as replastering can cost up to $15 per square foot.

As for carpenters, you can expect them to charge between $40 and $80 per hour to replace the roof. Also, most will have a call-out fee, which will be around $100.

If there is some additional work to be done, such as painting or debris disposal, they’ll charge accordingly.

Who to Call for Water Damage in Ceiling?


While some people might know how big are the ceiling water damage repair costs, many still don’t realize who they need to call when they notice water damage. A plumber? Maybe a construction worker?

It’s not that simple.

A construction worker can help you deal with some ceiling problems. For example, if you need to fix the roof after the earthquake or if you want to place new drywall.

However, they are not a proper choice for any type of water damage. No matter how much expertise they have, a plumber is the one who needs to fix anything that has to do with pipes and water. [2]

Sometimes, you will need both the plumber and a person knowledgeable about other types of construction work to know the true condition of your property. It is better to call both than to call just one.

Read Also: Best Backup Sump Pump With WiFi

The Bottom Line

Money is important to many people, not just homeowners. This is why understanding ceiling joist repair costs can be essential.

Sure, it’s essential to fix any type of water damage as soon as possible. However, it might be a better choice to wait until you’ve saved enough money, so someone can fix these issues properly.

Houses and apartments are our most valuable assets, and many people buy them without realizing that they are a great financial obligation. This is why there are many houses that no one lives in, but they have experienced some water damage that might need fixing.

Not just that, but water damage can occur in inhabited houses, as well. This is why it’s important to monitor everything and to try to call a plumber as soon as you notice spots or cracks on your sealing.

Calculate the ceiling water damage cost, don’t try to DIY that project, and make sure you call professionals who know what they are doing. The sooner you deal with the pain and cleaning they need, the better (and more affordable) the better it will be.