In our apartment, the ceiling began leaking in 2 places. One of the places, the water was brownish and had multiple droplets, the other the water was clear. We called maintenance at 8 am and no one showed. As time went, the leak went from 2 spots to 6 places in the ceiling, water also began running down the wall in 4 places and began pooling around the toilet, about 1 inch. At some point the paint on the wall fell away and water began running like a faucet.

Finally at 4pm maintenance shows and cuts 2 large holes in the ceiling. 30 mins later, he was done and said they would come replace only the places where he cut away. My concern is that they didn't cut into the wall, where we have heard water running in the past, but was told that it was just the pipes. If that much water was running and pooling in the walls, shouldn't the wall and whole ceiling be replaced ? What about mold? They left no dryers and said they would be back in 2 days to close everything up.

What should I do? Should the floor be replaced too since the water was pooled for so long?

  • This is what scares me most in my house. Very bad situation :/
    – Tarik
    Commented May 6, 2013 at 4:40
  • 1
    This is a potential health hazard,brown water cannot be a good sign, in a communal setting/apt complex,you could be getting everybody's waste in your flooring and carpeting!This requires removing the sheetrock and carpeting,the flooring is likely wet under whatever is on it now, this is a big deal and is not being addressed correctly, call the emergency # for your complex and get a Motel6 and keep the receipt.It will take days to rectify this condition properly.
    – user15181
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 5:44

1 Answer 1


To answer the specific question, you should replace any sheetrock that has mold. A one-time leak for a day won't cause this -- significant mold arrives when an organic material stays wet for an extended period of time (weeks or more, usually) so you should make sure it's dry before it's repaired.

The bigger problem is what is being covered up. You need to know what was the cause of the leak and be convinced that it has been corrected properly. You need to check what you can see for any blackness (i.e. mold). If you find more than a couple dots, then there are moisture problems beyond this one major leak and the ceiling and walls need to be removed until the full extent of the problem is known and removed. Don't do this yourself! Contact a professional remediation company.

Same for the floor. A one-time thing, even this big, won't cause mold as long as it is fully cleaned up and allowed to dry out completely. This can be difficult if the water has gotten beneath the surface as it certainly will with carpet, hardwood, etc.; you may have to remove everything down to the subfloor, let it dry, and re-install.

The brown water is a concern. If it was waste water, then you may have a health hazard and you'll need an environmental assessment.

I understand that this is not property you own, which makes getting this done difficult. I suggest you do what investigation you can, consult with an unbiased professional, and talk politely with the landlord about your concerns. If you're not satisfied with the answer, you can take your concerns to the government (mold and waste water are health hazards) and find a new place to live.

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