How to remove a water stain

remove a water stain

Learn how to remove a water stain


If you had a water leak come through your ceiling or walls you may find it has left a yellowish stain behind. If you just keep applying standard matt emulsion over the stain it will keep breaking through. This post will show you how to stop the water stain coming through the paint.

Before you can do anything the leak must be fixed and left to dry out – this could take 2 weeks so allow plenty of ventilation and heat.

Move belongings clear and lay a dust sheet down. Remove any loose debris and lightly sand the area with 120G sandpaper.

Using a stain block such as Zinsser B-I-N, apply 1 – 2 coats of this just over the stained area. This only takes 20 minutes to dry so you won’t have to long to wait.

Give the stain block a very light sand again. Apply matt emulsion to cover just the stain block – this is called spotting in. If you find the stain still bleeding through the matt emulsion either ‘you missed a bit’ with the stain block or the leak has not had enough time to dry out. If so leave it to dry out for longer.

If your water damage has made the filler come loose and left holes in areas, these imperfections will need to be filled with a product such as Easifiller. Use a filler knife to apply the filler flush to the holes. If the hole is deep and wide you may need to apply 2 coats of filler, with the 1st coat flush and the 2nd coat slight proud of the surface ready for sanding.

Once the filler has dried, sand it down with 120G sandpaper so it is smooth to the surface, quickly dust off and apply the 1st coat of paint to the whole ceiling or wall.

Once you have applied a 2nd coat of paint to the area you should be free of stains.

If your ceiling or wall has been damaged to the point that you had to remove the plaster board or lathe plaster you may find the blog about fixing a cracked lath and plaster ceiling interesting.


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