The other night my partner and I were sitting in the lounge room during a rain shower when we suddenly heard that dreaded 'drip, drip, drip'.
Sure enough, when we investigated we discovered it was coming from the ceiling. Ours is an older house that has numerous partially-repaired cracks and dark spots on the ceiling, so we aren't always that great at noticing when a new one appears.
However now we really knew about it! So out came the bucket to collect the drips and then came the next question - who do we call?
In our case, the house is only single storey and the water was coming in from the ceiling so it seemed pretty clear that something in the roof was to blame. Roofs can leak for a variety of reasons, from natural wear and tear causing cracks in tiles, grout or near sky-lights to severe weather conditions (which have been unfortunately frequent of late).
Alternatively, if you live in a multi-storey building leaks can easily be due to faulty plumbing, such as a leaking tap or a damaged pipe. If the leak is coming from the floor above and seems in line with a bathroom or toilet, it's worth double-checking that the room doesn't have any obvious damp spots around the bath, shower, toilet or basin.
Something to be aware of is that a leaking ceiling (or even just a patch of discolouration) is something that should be addressed immediately. Roof leaks can cause serious damage. From mould growth to structural damage, a leaky, warped or stained ceiling is one of your first warning signs and should be acted on.
The first person to get in touch with is a plumber who specialises in roofing and the easiest way to do this is through posting your job with Service Central. You can describe the problem clearly, add important details such as roof-type and even include photos. It sure beats trying to get in touch with multiple plumbers and having to explain yourself over and over again!
A plumber will be able to find the source of the leak, repair it and assess the ceiling for further damage. They may also be able to repair the plaster damage or refer you to a qualified plasterer.
Remember, ceiling leaks are serious problems. Don't let yours get out of control. And always have the source of the leak repaired before you attempt repairs on the ceiling.