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Holey Ceiling, Batman!

We live in condominiums -- side by side on the ground level of a two story building.  We moved in just over ten years ago, when these places were brand new.

We've had our share of issues...

  • There was a fire in the unit at the end of our building.  That was only a couple months after we moved in, and it forced Tom and T out of their place entirely for a period of weeks while repairs were made in their master bedroom.
  • Water leaked from the roof into T's condo, running through the walls, and causing serious damage.  That damage resulted in a major rehab of the main bathroom, and included tearing out and replacing walls.
  • There was also water damage in T's master bedroom, closet and bath... another major repair.  

My side of the household has been, generally, less challenging.  I seem to have flaky electrical systems.  Lots of flipped circuit breakers and the like, but nothing too serious.  I've been lucky until recently.  A few weeks ago, I began to notice water stains on my bathroom ceiling.  It was fairly minor at first, and very diffuse -- spread over the area above my own shower.  I went to talk to my upstairs neighbor, and after some back and forth, her plumber determined that it was an issue with the grout in her shower.  They redid the grout, and repainted my ceiling, and it all seemed fine.  Then, a few days ago, I noticed a small spot on the ceiling -- a spot, about 2 inches in diameter and fairly faint.  It was so inconsequential that I wondered if it might be a spot that had simply not been well primed prior to the previous repaint.  I figured I could get it with some KILZ and repaint it myself, and there would be no big problem.  Life went on apace for a couple of days, and then, yesterday, I stepped into the bathroom and saw, to my horror, that the little, tiny water spot had expanded to a definite stain about 2 feet across!!!!  Obviously -- a big problem was brewing in my ceiling.

I went to talk with my neighbor, and she assured me she would have someone out to look at it today.  And so it happened that my President's Day holiday got consumed by "the hole in the ceiling."  The plumber came and cut into the ceiling -- and water poured out.  After pulling out the sopping wet insulation, the plumber confirmed that the issue was with my upstairs neighbor's shower drain.  In fact when he went to check the drain pipe from her shower, the piece just fell off in his hand.  It didn't take long to determine that I was going to need someone to clean up the water problem, and then repair the damage to the ceiling.  The plumber fixed the leaking pipe, and gave us the name of a good water restoration company.  We called them, called the insurance company, called the condominium management company, and settled in to wait for the various work crews to arrive.

Tonight, my master bathroom is occupied by a high powered fan and a gigantic dehumidifier (and the cats are totally freaked out).  It should be three or four days until everything dries out.  Then they will repair the wallboard, re-texture the ceiling, and repaint as necessary.  Hopefully, by the middle of next week, I'll be all fixed up and back in action.

I know this is not a crisis, and I understand my ceiling hole is hardly an interesting topic here, but there it is ... the hot and sexy parts of this thing we do.



  1. Ordalie12:52 PM

    I like hearing about your mundane problems, sorry to say that but reading about obnoxious leaks (or whatever) is good for my morale: I feel I'm not the only one to lament over unexpected things of that sort!
    Sorry again, I do sympathise.

  2. Good luck with the ceiling


  3. Plumbing is tricky. I had to supervise the plumber laying our toilet drain when we built this house 22 years ago because it is a habit of Filipino workmen to assume that water will flow uphill if there's enough water behind it. I should imagine that of all the (few) toilets in this country, at least 50 per cent will have blocked drains. Coming from England, where drains are obsessively carefully laid and inspected, it was a shock to find that attitude had not spread to this country.

    From your picture, looks like the P-trap had never been cemented on. Try to get your plumber to use epoxy glue or epoxy putty if you have any influence over the actual operation. Solvent cement is usually used here and that results in some leaks because it is not gap-filling, but people here don't get disturbed much by mere plumbing leaks so the practice persists. I do all our plumbing personally, or supervise our man Sonny Lopez and he's competent.


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