Some water leaked from my upstairs bathroom into the ceiling of a downstairs bathroom. I noticed it when I saw drips coming from my fan/lighting fixture. I would estimate the amount of water that leaked to be in the range of 1 - 2 gallons.

I had a contractor check for damages, and temperature and moisture scans show that there is moisture in the ceiling. See images below.

Unfortunately, the estimated cost for professional water mitigation services is over $1,600, and that is before reconstruction.

I know that it is possible to rent dehumidifiers, although I don't if those are useful in a situation like this. In short, I am wondering if there is a reasonable DIY way to address the leak damage and also whether I am inviting long-term problems if I attempt to go it alone rather than opening up the ceiling and replacing any affected materials.

Moisture sensor reading the day after the leak:

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Temperature sensor reading the day after the leak:

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Ceiling the day after the leak:

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  • 1
    Does your upstairs neighbor have home insurance?
    – Jasen
    Jan 25, 2021 at 18:26
  • 1
    I was going to ask the same question. Chances are he's liable. I'd start with my own insurance company. If there is a claim against your upstairs neighbor, they should pursue it.
    – jwh20
    Jan 25, 2021 at 18:46
  • I am pursuing it, but I am also trying to understand my options while I wait for more clarity on that situation. Jan 25, 2021 at 19:01
  • 1
    Do you own or rent? Condo/Apartment or what? (Not on the legal side, but this affects what approaches are possible.)
    – Joe
    Jan 25, 2021 at 21:21
  • 2
    If there's actually standing water in the ceiling, the best way to handle that is to remove it by drilling a drain hole. You don't want it to completely soak into the drywall, then it fail under it's own weight. That's a huge mess and going to be even more expensive. Even a 1/2" hole, or 2-3 holes, is far easier to patch than a 16"x24" hole. I had a similar situation happen a couple of years ago, and the handyman did just drill a hole. Jan 25, 2021 at 22:56

1 Answer 1


Chances are you can claim from upstairs, if they have insurance you have nothing to loose from getting a professional plasterer to fix it. if they don't and you want to do them a favour then the D.I.Y. approach will save them money. Seeing as you're asking here instead of in "law"

Make a hole, or holes to let the water out.

Wait until it's dry. (possibly weeks)

Patch any weak parts and the holes

Sand flat, seal with a shellac based primer, and repaint.

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