I have some water stains on my ceiling as the picture shows below. I couldn't figure out if this is a roof leaking or the condensation in attic. Please help.

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  • The picture doesn't really show anything; how about a better-lit one? – Daniel Griscom Jan 13 '16 at 22:11
  • I'm not seeing a stain mark anyplace. Maybe a close-up? – ojait Jan 13 '16 at 22:31
  • Maybe mildew in a humid room. If it cleans off very easily with mild bleach solution, it is probably mildew. – Yehuda_NYC Jan 13 '16 at 23:32
  • 2
    Those stains look like they came from below the ceiling, not above. Drywall and plaster are so porous that it doesn't really spot like that when soaked through from the other side (at least I've never seen it). Looks to me more like something bleeding through the paint (maybe from inadequate paint prep at some point) or a splatter from below. – Comintern Jan 14 '16 at 0:03
  • Are you sure there is not a rodent nest on top and those may be Pee spots – Ed Beal Jan 14 '16 at 22:03

To me, it doesn't look like it's coming from above. It looks like something splashed on the ceiling, or condensation formed on the ceiling.

If this is a bathroom or kitchen, try running the exhaust fan during showers and while cooking.

The only way to be sure it's not coming from above, is to get up in the attic and have a look around.


I see the light circular stains that you have described. It looks like water stains that have formed from water that has seeped through the drywall ceiling. I would use a water + dish soap + bleach solution and thoroughly clean the ceiling. If possible, I would put a small plastic barrier above the ceiling in the attic. If the moisture is from the attic area, then the barrier should redirect moisture away from the ceiling below the barrier. So later on, if you see the same spots in nearby areas--but, not on the ceiling area that is below your plastic barrier, then you can be pretty sure the moisture is coming from the attic & slowly weeping through your drywall ceiling.

If the ceiling that you have shown is in a bathroom that doesn't have good ventilation, I suggest you install a ventilation device or leave the door open to vent humidity out of the bathroom.

Best regards!


Maybe plumbing pipes or AC unit in the attic.

  • That would usually result in a single, large stain. – isherwood Jan 14 '16 at 4:07

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