How to Fix a Sagging Ceiling Due to Water Damage

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: December 28, 2023

Water damage: it’s every homeowner’s worst nightmare.

When it affects the ceiling, though, it can be especially problematic. When the ceiling is damaged, gravity isn’t on your side. Because of this, you have to act fast to fix a sagging ceiling due to water damage

As a leading ceiling water damage restoration provider in Chicago, IL, the team here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba helps hundreds of homes recover from water damage each week. Thanks to all this experience, we know a thing or two about how to restore sagging ceilings. 

In this post, we’ll share our top tips. 

What Causes a Ceiling to Sag?

sagging ceiling

A sagging ceiling can be very dangerous. In fact, a severely saggy ceiling could be on its way toward collapse. 

Before you can fix the problem, though, you need to understand what caused it.

Here are a few of the main reasons ceilings may sag:

1) A Faulty Foundation

If the land beneath the house was not appropriately graded or the foundation was constructed poorly, the house may sink into the earth, over time. This can cause cracks in the drywall, sagging ceilings, and more. 

2) Poorly Installed Drywall

If your ceiling is sagging, but there’s no water damage, the drywall may be the culprit. The standard for drywall ceilings is 4″ screws placed 12″ apart.

If the original builder cut corners or set the screws too far apart, the ceiling may eventually sag. This is also true for homes constructed with the wrong drywall. Drywall that is too light will struggle to support the load of the ceiling. 

3) Water Damage

Water damage is, by far, the most common culprit of sagging ceilings. Undetected leaks from upstairs bathrooms, for example, can cause water to accumulate within the ceiling.

Over time, this will weaken the plaster and drywall. Unless you repair the leak, the ceiling will continue to warp and sag, and may eventually collapse. 

No matter what the underlying cause may be, a sagging ceiling is a real cause for concern.

With this in mind, hire a professional repair team like ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba immediately to evaluate existing damage and help prevent future problems. 

How to Fix a Sagging Water-Damaged Ceiling in 3 Steps

A sagging, water-damaged ceiling requires immediate attention. Follow these steps to resolve the issue:

1. Stabilize ceiling materials

First, stabilize the area surrounding the leak. Move valuables, furniture, textiles, and other items out of the site. Position a tarp and bucket beneath the leak to catch water. Shut off your home’s water at the main valve if the leak is still dripping. 

2. Identify the source of the leak

detecting ceiling water damage

Before you can fix the water damage, you need to understand where it’s coming from. Keep in mind that water can travel a long way from the initial leak, so you may have to conduct a broad search. 

Pay special attention to common culprits like leaking drains, supply lines, missing caulk, or broken pipes. In some cases, you may have to remove sections of drywall to expose the fault. 

This is especially true if you’ve noticed leaking through a light fixture, or leaking from an upstairs apartment

3. Hire a professional remediation company

Next, you’ll need to dry and repair the damage. This step typically requires the assistance of a skilled team. 

Unless the leak is minor (something you can touch up with a small section of drywall and a bit of paint, for example), you’ll need a professional team like ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba in Chicago, IL to help restore the space. If the leak was severe, attempting to repair the damage on your own can cause additional problems. 

What is the Average Sagging Ceiling Water Damage Repair Cost?

sagging ceiling repair

The answer to this question depends, of course, on the severity of the water damage. As a general rule, ceiling repair costs about $50-$100 per square foot. 

To help you plan for the cost of your repair, here are some estimates from HomeGuide:

  • $200-$500 to fix minor damage, such as patching holes or repairing cracks.
  • $400-$1,200 to fix sagging or water damage. 
  • $500-$2,500 for water damage and leak repair.
  • $400-$1,000 for partial ceiling replacement.
  • $2,000-$8,000 to repair significant structural damage. 

The most accurate way to estimate the cost of your repair is to contact a local restoration company. The team will provide a quote based on the extent of the damage and the repairs needed. 

Dealing with a Sagging Ceiling in Chicago, IL, or Suburbs? We’re Here to Help!

Water damage in the ceiling is a serious problem. Fortunately, ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba is here to help.

A qualified team of restoration specialists, we handle complex water damage jobs in Chicago and the surrounding areas.

Contact us today to learn more about our sagging ceiling water damage repair services, or to request your free quote: 773-647-1985