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How to Cover Up a Persistent Water Stain

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Laura in South Carolina is on the line with some hail damage and then a roof leak and now the water stain that won’t go away. Tell us what’s going on.

    LAURA: You hit the nail on the head. We had hail damage about a year ago and we’ve gotten the roof fixed and they changed the plywood up there. But when the roof leaked, it left some brown spots on the ceiling.


    LAURA: And it’s in the kitchen, which leads into the – and then the next room over is the sunroom and then the bathroom’s right next door to the kitchen. And it’s left this brown spot and we’ve tried to putty over it, like use a little jar of plaster and cover over it and paint it. We’ve tried primer and painting it and it still keeps on soaking through or like the brown keeps showing through. And we don’t know what to do to fix that.

    LESLIE: And you’re certain that the leak has been repaired?

    LAURA: Yeah. It was really soggy and they could put their foot – in fact, one of them put their foot through. So they changed all that plywood out and changed the – because it was right by where those little three spouts are, those vents? And they’ve changed all that around there and put new flashing around it and everything. And yeah, I mean it’s not wet; it’s just these brown spots keep haunting us and they won’t go away.

    TOM: OK. What kind of primer did you use when you – did you use a water-base primer or oil-base?

    LAURA: It was a water-base.

    TOM: OK. So what I want you to try is use oil-based primer. Assuming that it is, in fact, dry, if you use an oil-based primer, that’s going to stop it. Because there’s a chemical reaction that happens sometimes with these water stains and the material that gets into them that will just leach through paint. And it’s particularly bad with water-based paints.

    But I want you to use an oil-based primer. This is going to seal in anything that’s there and once it dries, you should be able to use a latex paint on top of that without any problems. And you will not see it come through again.

    LAURA: Oh, good to – in fact, we’ve been using a water-based paint, too.

    TOM: Well, the water-based paint is OK but only on top of the oil-based primer. So go buy a good-quality KILZ or B-I-N is another brand, made by Zinsser. Just a good-quality, oil-based primer should do the trick.

    LAURA: Oh, wonderful. OK. We didn’t even think of it. Thank you so much.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Laura.

    LAURA: Thank you. OK. Bye bye.

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