Water stains on a ceiling are the evidence of an old or existing leak. Once the leak has been fixed, it is time to remove the water stain. Unlike other marks, water stains can often bleed through a typical coat of paint. This makes it essential to use a stain sealing primer before applying any paint.
Before attempting to remove any water stains, be sure that your roof has been properly patched. Even if you don’t expect it to rain in the near future, the water stain on the ceiling may be useful when attempting to locate the source of the leak. Once the source of the leak has been fixed, you can then fix the ceiling over the course of a couple of days.
Step 1: Wash away any mold on the water stain with a mixture of 1 teaspoon bleach to 1 gallon water. Scrub lightly as necessary, trying not to affect the texture on the ceiling. Let the ceiling dry completely before continuing.
TIP: If the water saturated the ceiling enough to affect the ceiling texture, you may be able to patch that as well. Home improvement centers sell ceiling texture in a spray can to patch small jobs. This texture may only cover a small fraction of the ceiling, but it’s an easy way to conceal a previous stain.
To use, wait until the mold has been cleaned from the water stain and the ceiling is completely dry. Then just apply the texture, using the can just like you would a can of spray paint. Allow the texture to dry at least 24 hours before attempting to paint over it.
Step 2: Apply a coat of primer stain sealant over the water stain; Kilz is a popular brand to use. Let the water stain sealant dry completely, then apply a second coat. Let the stain dry before proceeding.
Step 3: Paint over the primer with your choice of ceiling paint. It will be difficult to only paint over the water stain on the ceiling, so plan on giving the entire ceiling a new coat of paint.