Do-It-Yourself Ceiling Water Stain Cover-Up LiveOnCash Blog

Do-It-Yourself Ceiling Water Stain Cover-Up

Water stain on ceiling

Its been drier than normal here in the desert this summer.  The trouble is, when it does rain, it often comes down in torrents.  Not for long.  Maybe 45 minutes at the most, but thats long enough for up to an inch of rain to fall.  We had one of those storms in July and our roof leaked, leaving an ugly, pear-shaped, brown stain on the ceiling of our living room just above our fireplace.  What to do?

We have one of those blown-on acoustical popcorn ceilings.  There is no way to paint the entire ceiling to remediate the water damage.  Wed have to have another ceiling blown on.  Of course, that would give us the best result, but that option is very expensive.  What we wanted to do was cover the stain as best we could with spray-paint and try to match the color of the existing ceiling.  Our blown-on ceiling is 35 years old.  What are the chances of matching the dingy white of a 35-year-old ceiling?

Kilz overhead stain sealer

We hit a big-box, home improvement store and reviewed our color options in the spray-paint section.  Nothing suited us.  So we asked a big-box associate in the paint department if he could recommend something to cover a water-stained ceiling.  He led us to a nearby shelf and handed us a can of Kilz Upshot overhead stain sealer.

Upshot features a vertical spray tip for painting above ones head.  We liked that.  The picture on the can showed a woman wearing protective eye wear spray-painting a brown spot on her ceiling.  It looked like just what we needed.  Then came the clincher.  Right on the can it said:  Tinted to match most aged acoustical ceilings.  Wed hit the jackpot, and with a price under $6.00,  it cost less than most of the spray-paints we had seen and a small fraction of the price of a new blown-on ceiling.

Prepped work area

I let the stain completely dry out over several weeks before I tried the Upshot on it.  As with many do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, the preparation took longer than the actual job.  I needed to cover the surrounding surfaces to protect against overspray.  The stain was near a wall, so I removed all decorations from the wall four feet to either side of the stain.  I then covered the wall from ceiling to floor with a 9 X 12, plastic drop cloth I purchased at a dollar store.  I used masking tape to secure the drop cloth to the top of the wall.  Finally, I covered adjacent furniture with another plastic drop cloth.

Do-It-Yourself Ceiling Water Stain Cover-Up LiveOnCash Blog

I followed the directions and precautions on the can and applied the stain sealer evenly across the stained area, using a back and forth motion.  In a matter of minutes, the stain had been covered.

Stain cover-up result from across the room in daylight

Did we get a color match?  No, but the Upshot covered the stain completely with one coat.  It is whiter than the ceiling but not a bright white.  The area where I applied the stain sealer is hardly noticeable from across the room in the daytime (It is more prominent in the photo at the left than it is to the human eye.) and is nearly imperceptible in the evening when the room is illuminated with artificial lighting.  Bottomline:  The cover-up looks a lot better than the stain and doesnt draw attention to itself.  That was probably the best outcome we could have realistically hoped for.  Total cost:  $8.00.

It seems there is a product for just about any DIY task.  If you dont see what you need, ask an associate at the store.  Better yet, do a search on the internet before you go to the store.  Specialized products often render a better result and save you time and money in the process.


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