When a homeowner spots moisture on the floor near a wall, there is a chance that a leaky pipe exists within that portion of the wall. Ceiling leaks are more obvious, as drips, stains or damage overhead from accumulated water can easily be detected. Leaky areas in walls and ceilings can also be identified by stains, mold, mildew or soft areas on a particular section.
Although you may initially be hesitant to address leaky pipes behind walls and ceilings, you should investigate the matter further before beginning to Google professional plumbers. If pipes or plumbing exist on an upper floor, you should first check to see if the leak is coming from an exposed, easily accessible pipe before considering cutting away sections of drywall. Leaks or plumbing problems will often occur in areas such as toilets or under sinks where leaking water will travel along the length of pipes behind ceilings and walls.
Fixing the Leak
Before attempting to fix a leak, water must be completely shut off to the area in question. Once you have a fairly good idea of where a leak is located, a razor knife or keyhole saw can be used to cut out the section of wall or ceiling in front of the leak. These sections should be removed in such a way that the studs behind them will be available to make the drywall replacement process smoother.
There are many variables regarding types and sizes of piping, and the location and cause of a leak. There are also a variety of approaches to fixing a cracked or broken pipe either temporarily or permanently. Sometimes pipes simply require tightening.
But for cracked or damaged sections of pipe, special clamps and patching can be purchased at a hardware store and applied to the affected area. Or the damaged section of pipe can be cut away and replaced, using epoxy, couplings or solder to secure it in place. Of course, be sure the area of pipe worked on is clean and dry before beginning repairs.
After making sure the pipe is no longer leaking, measure the opening that has been created in the wall or ceiling, and replace that section of drywall. If you are uncomfortable with pipe or plumbing repairs, turning the job over to the professionals may be the best option.