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Hello dear experts and DYIers,

I’ve noticed drywall coming off from my garage’s ceiling. After a closer look I suspect water/moisture issues.

There is some roof over the garage and a gutter that goes along the entire front. In addition, the second floor partially covers the garage area and there is also a toilet / shower nearby though we barely use that bathroom.

I think, it is probably not a plumbing issue but either leaky roof or bad gutter since there are two notable discolorations where the ceiling meets the garage door.

We had bad storms with tons of rain in the past few days and I have not noticed the damaged drywall before which may increase the likelihood that this is roof/gutter related. The gutter was at least partially and temporarily clogged this year due to a bird nesting right where the gutter connects to the downspout.

Of course, we’re in the middle of a move and I have no time left to do much inspection by myself. My tenants are moving in by the end of next week…

Would a roofing / gutter company be the correct choice and how much will they be able to inspect without tearing everything apart? Does it look “harmless” enough to simply clean out gutters and wait? Ask the tenants to observe if and under what circumstances discoloration or situation may change?

Your expertise is appreciated :-)

View to damaged ceiling

Close up of drywall damage - I think there is some discoloration along the crack?!

Suspicious spot #1 - gutter is right behind that wall

Suspicious spot #2

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  • Drywall coming off needs to fixed right now, paint coming off is less concern. Will probably want a roofer to check the roof for leaks. Get a few quotes for work needed, tossing out the lowest and highest. Then you need a drywaller for fix the drywall.
    – crip659
    Jul 22, 2023 at 21:09
  • Drywall is very inexpensive to fix. It is really tacky and unprofessional to be a landlord that can't even address something so simple. Doing it yourself if you have the tools is under $100. From your pics, you can hire it out for $400-$900.
    – JGallardo
    Jul 28, 2023 at 2:20
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    @crip659 "tossing out the lowest and highest" is bad advice. The highest might have actually done their job and properly factored in all variables. Of course if it is very high, then maybe they did not want the job. He might explain the job different to the first person who got a lower scope, and hence the bid comes in low to address less concerns. Especially if they are not as good of salesmen.
    – JGallardo
    Jul 28, 2023 at 2:22

3 Answers 3

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Its not possible for us to determine if its gutter/roof from the pictures, so that leaves you with 3 high level choices.

  • Bust out the drywall to get a better idea of the damage, either yourself, or just guessing its the gutter/roofer and let them inspect. Get drywall fixed later.
  • Don't bust out the drywall, bet its the gutters and tell your tenets to keep an eye on it. Fix drywall later if things don't get worse when rains come back.
  • Don't bust out the drywall, bet its the roof and not the gutters, and get a roofer to inspect the damage. Fix drywall later if things don't get worse when rains come back.

Regardless, you'd want to fix the drywall at some point unless you and your tenets are fine with damaged drywall in the garage, or a hole from repairs. Just do it last once you confirm the fix, as a drywall fix shouldn't be as expensive compared to say an extensive roof repair, or even bathroom leak fix.

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    No point in fixing the drywall until you stop the water from coming in.
    – gnicko
    Aug 1, 2023 at 20:34
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You will need:

A roofing company to fix the roof leak.

A general contractor or even a handyman or maybe DIY depending on your skills to fix/replace the drywall.

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To best address your issue of a water damaged ceiling consider the following

Searching online for "water damage restoration near me". These specialists are well experienced in identifying what caused the issue, how to test for related problems such as mold, and will have a large number of contacts to address any followup issues.

If you have experience with drywall, you could carefully cut a hole in the drywall to expose enough room for you to do an initial assessment.

To address related issues search for professionals to assess the following

  • Gutter cleaning
  • Roof inspection
  • Drywall repair
  • Mold testing and remediation

This does not seem to be a plumbing issue from your pictures. So I would recommend doing the above before you call out a plumber.

If you wish to do this all yourself, consider the following video as a starting point

"Cutting Out Drywall Ceiling from Roof Leak Step by Step"
by Paul Peck DrywallTube, on YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghlwGKezAVE

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