LESLIE: Marilyn in Colorado, what’s happening at your money pit?
LESLIE: Hi, there.
MARILYN: What’s happening? (chuckling) I had a water leak from above me from my neighbor who had bad plumbing …
TOM: OK. Alright.
MARILYN: … and water came down and it kind of sat in the center of the ceiling and I didn’t …
MARILYN: And over time it began to sag.
TOM: Alright. And so the ceiling is physically deformed then.
MARILYN: Yes, uh-huh.
TOM: OK. Well, and did you say this is a condominium?
MARILYN: Yeah, it is.
TOM: Will the association help you with these types of sort of neighborly issues or is it up to you to fix it?
MARILYN: Yeah, at this point it’s kind of up to me now.
TOM: OK. Well, here’s what you need to know. First of all, when the drywall actually sags you can’t do anything to get it back into place. A little trick of the trade – although it’s too late for you now but for those that have ever had this happen to them – if you get an active leak that’s coming through a ceiling, the first thing that you want to do, which is very counter-intuitive, is poke some holes in the ceiling. If you catch it while it’s active and you poke holes in the water comes out from behind it, it dries out and then you just a couple of small holes.
Now what you’re going to have to do is replace that whole section. So you’re going to have to cut out between the floor joists as wide as you need to go to get through the warped part and it’s basically a matter of cutting out the ceiling and nailing in a new place and then using tape at the joints. You’d probably use fiberglass tape which is perforated and easy to apply and then about three coats of spackle. But this basically involves cutting out the warped drywall and patching it and putting new stuff in. There’s no way around it.
MARILYN: OK. Alright. Well that’s helpful and I’m sure probably I can hire like a handyman type to do that.
TOM: Absolutely. Marilyn, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
MARILYN: OK, thank you.