The inside of your home is supposed to remain as it is, unchanging aside from the cosmetic differences, such as re-positioning your furniture or when your kids leave a mess. It can be unsettling when your home develops a new feature⸺like a sign that something is seriously amiss. The plastering in your ceiling should always be smooth and flat, so an obvious bulge in your ceiling can be a cause for alarm, particularly if it has already begun to drip water. Though uncommon, a water leak in your ceiling cavity can cause water to accumulate and for the underlying plaster to bulge and sag as it attempts to accommodate the weight of the water. If such a thing was to happen to you, quick action is needed to minimise the damage.
Causes of Water in Your Ceiling
Water can begin to pool in your ceiling cavity for a number of reasons. A burst or leaking pipe could be the culprit, or it might be something more serious, such a breach in your roof. The latter is only likely after heavy rain, but a professional inspection will be wise in order to rule this out. If a leaking pipe is suspected, it can be smart to turn off your home's main water supply. It can be difficult to identify the cause unless you are able to access your ceiling cavity and take a look for yourself. Electricity should also be deactivated, if only for the room. This can be important if the water has come into contact with any electrical wiring around the site of the damage.
Furniture and Flooring
Since that bulge might be about to burst like a pimple, you need to move quickly. Remove all furniture from the room. If this is not possible, reposition it so that it's not directly under the bulging plaster. Cover it with plastic sheeting. If none is available, use plastic rubbish bags. Your carpeting should also be protected with plastic.
Relieving the Pressure
If the bulge in the plaster is particularly pronounced, you should take action to prevent major damage. This involves gently piercing the bulge in order to drain the water. This can stop the entirety of the ceiling from becoming sodden or even caving in. Pierce it with a sharp wooden implement so as not to damage any wiring (a chopstick would be ideal) and have a bucket ready to catch the water.
Repairing the Damage
The cleanup and repair will require some professional assistance. A plumber might be needed to repair the pipe that caused the damage. A roofer might be required if this is where the water originated. And you will likely require the services of professional plasterers to repair the damage to your ceiling.
A bulge in your ceiling caused by water is not only unsightly, but it also has the potential to cause real damage if you don't act fast.