Whether you've got a drip through the roof or a damaged pipe, the marks left after a water leak can quickly spoil the decorations in your home. And if they're ignored, they might continue to get worse.
But recovering from water marks and the black mould caused by damp isn't as simple as just adding a lick of paint. That's why we've partnered with Becky from The Spirited Puddle Jumper
to bring you some advice.
Fixing the source of the leak
Before you get started on any cosmetic repairs, you'll need to find the cause of the water mark and fix it. It could be a leaking pipe, a hole in your roof, or it could even be coming through from a neighbour's property.
The visible stain might only be small, but it's often a sign that there's a real problem out of sight. Escaping water can damage plaster, rot wood, and it could even cause your pipes to corrode.
If you haven't done already, put a stop to the leak by turning off your water supply. You can see exactly how it's done by watching our helpful video
Once you've stopped the supply of water, you can start to repair the cause of the damage. You can find out how to fix a leaking pipe
or how to fix a burst pipe
by following our handy videos and guides. And if you're not entirely sure what you're doing, it never hurts to call on a professional plumber.
Dealing with the black mould from damp
The black mould that builds up in moist areas isn't just unsightly. It could also cause respiratory problems and allergic reactions, and trying to scrape it off dry could release spores into the air.
To tackle the mould properly, make up a solution that's 3 parts water and 1 part bleach. Using a sponge dipped in the solution – and while wearing rubber gloves – scrub away at the mould-affected area.
Just remember: your bleach solution will kill the mould and help to remove the dark stains, but it could also change the colour of your paint or wallpaper. If you're not completely sure, test out your solution on a small area of the wall or ceiling first, ideally somewhere hidden from view.
If you want to clean up the mould without risking damage to your decorations, you can use an anti-bacterial spray instead. It's still effective at killing the mould, but you might have a tougher time getting rid of the black stains without the bleaching effect.
Blocking the stain and painting over the water mark
With the leak fixed and any mould properly removed, you're almost ready to start painting over the water mark.
Before you do, you'll need to cover the damp area with a stain-blocking primer. You can buy a branded one, or you can make one yourself by mixing an oil-based undercoat and gloss together in a 50:50 ratio.
No matter how many coats of emulsion you paint onto your water mark, the stain could just keep coming through without this barrier. So make sure you don't skip this step!
With that barrier in place, you can now safely paint over the water mark and hide the ugly stain.