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Residential

Ceiling Leaks

Ceiling leaks occur when water from the unit above yours leaks into your ceiling through the concrete floor slab. This usually happens because of wear and tear of the waterproof membrane and screed in the floor slab. This phenomenon is more common in older buildings and typically occurs in wet areas such as toilets and bathrooms.

Responsibilities for ceiling leak within flats

Under the Lease Agreement, owners of upper and lower floor units have a shared responsibility in maintaining the structures of your respective flats. This includes the floor and ceiling slabs. If these slabs need to be repaired, you and your neighbour have to arrange for the repair work and split the cost.

Ceiling leak at flats on the topmost level

This leakage comes from the roof of the block, which is part of the common property maintained by the Town Council. You can contact the Town Council to have them rectify the leak.

Ceiling leak at void deck

The void deck is part of the common property maintained by the Town Council. For ceiling leaks affecting the void deck, the Town Council and the upper floor’s flat owner are to jointly arrange for the repair and split the costs involved.

Possible repair methods

There are several methods to address ceiling leaks, depending on the severity of the leak and the needs of the upper floor. Re-screeding is the recommended option. However, a leak may sometimes require more than a single repair method to be effective.

You can watch this video on repairing ceiling leaks.

Step 1: Remove floor tiles, screed, and fixtures

ceiling leak 1
  • Remove the floor tiles, screed, squat or pedestal pan, and other fixtures. Areas around pipes should be hacked slightly deeper (approximately 25mm more)
  • Clear all loose particles from the hacked surface
  • Fill areas around the pipe with non-shrink grout
  • Apply a good quality waterproof membrane onto the hacked surface. The membrane should be upturned (up to 150mm) against walls, kerbs, and pipes
  • Allow the membrane to set for 6 to 12 hours, according to manufacturer’s instructions

The use of an Un-plasticised Poly-Vinyl Chloride (UPVC) floor trap grating with a long collar is strongly recommended.

Step 2: Lay new waterproof screed layer

ceiling leak 2
  • Reinstall the squat pan if applicable
  • Lay a new layer of waterproof screed (at least 20mm thick) onto the hacked surface with the waterproof membrane
    • A gentle gradient should be provided to facilitate effective drainage
  • Leave the screed to harden for at least 12 hours

 

Step 3: Reinstall floor tiles and fixtures

ceiling leak 3
  • Reinstall the floor tiles, pedestal pan (if applicable), and any other fixtures

Localised repair

  • Hack and remove the floor tiles and screed surrounding the floor trap
  • Hack further (maximum of 50mm) into the concrete slab
  • Apply 1 layer of bonding agent
  • Extend the pipe if necessary
  • Fill the hacked area with non-shrink grout, leaving enough space for re-tiling and the fitting in of the floor trap
  • Re-tile the area and re-fix the floor trap (a long legged floor trap collar is recommended)

Treatment of gully surround

  • Scrub the gully surround clean to expose the concrete
  • If necessary, hack and remove any uneven cement mortar
  • Extend the ‘short’ pipe where applicable
  • Apply a water plug or non-shrink grout to seal up the porous gully surround

Other methods

There are also other methods to resolve a leakage that you can explore with your contractor. For example, injection of chemical grout (also known as the Polyurethane (PU) Injection Method), Flood Infusion Method and application of nanotechnology waterproofing materials on the floors and walls.