Painting Over Water Stains: Pro Tips for the Perfect Finish

Painting over water stains spread across painted light blue ceiling
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Painting over water stains is tempting from the moment they first appear. Water stains are ugly and spoil the aesthetic of a crisp, clean ceiling or wall. But before you think about adding a new coat of paint to cover them, you need to ask yourself how they got there to begin with. 

The most common cause is a water leak, especially in ceilings. A slow leak in your pipework, or a leaking radiator, could be feeding the stain and causing it to turn that horrible brown, typically caused by rust somewhere in your water system. 

Steve Jenkins

Steve Jenkins is a freelance content creator with over two decades of experience working in digital and print and was previously the DIY content editor for Homebuilding & Renovating. 

He is a keen DIYer with over 20 years of experience in transforming and renovating the many homes he has lived in. He specialises in painting and decorating, but has a wide range of skills gleaned from working in the building trade for around 10 years and spending time at night school learning how to plaster and plumb.

He has fitted kitchens, tiled bathrooms and kitchens, laid many floors, built partition walls, plastered walls, plumbed in bathrooms, worked on loft conversions and much more. And when he's not sure how to tackle a DIY project he has a wide network of friends – including plumbers, gas engineers, tilers, carpenters, painters and decorators, electricians and builders – in the trade to call upon.