Dana, You would first need a plumber to fix a the leak. After the leak is fixed ensure that it won't happen again and ask the plumber what was the reason for the leak just so you know all grounds for future leaks were covered. How long has that stain been up there in the ceiling? If the leak is big and has been for a long time, chances are there may be a mold issue.
If there is a mold issue then the next thing to do is mold remediation, since this is harmful to your health and it is better dealt with by professionals.
If there is no mold, then all you have to do is a get a handy man who can put the ceiling together and paint it back. If the underside of the ceiling was untouched and the leak was fixed from above, then you can just paint the stain with Kiltz paint. to find reliable and experienced professionals in your area, do a search here on hometalk, the search button is just above this page. Sort by plumber, handyman respectively. Read reviews if any and see projects pics. Get 2-3 quotes and go with the guy/girl you think is good.
Dana, let us know how we can help. I have a great plumber to refer and we can fix the drywall and paint issue for you. good luck!!
We recently diagnosed a similar issue, only the water was causing bubbling in the garage - which was under the master bath. Yamini has some great advice. Let us know if we can be of further assistance!
There are several reputable plumbers in Atlanta that are here on HomeTalk!
First off you need to figure out what your up against so you know if its something you can fix yourself or not.
Check the toilet tank. Sometimes they overflow or when flushed spray water out the back top edge without you knowing. This is a simple fix.
Then check the toilet shut off. These somehow because of gremlins begin to leak. It is a common issue. When cleaning with mops and bumping into the shut off valve it begins to leak. Simply tighten the nut behind the faucet handle or perhaps the hose or pipe from the toilet fixes this.
Then carefully place your leg next to the toilet bowl on one side and push your leg into the toilet. Carefully do this. Can you rock the toilet? If so and it moves the wax ring could be leaking because of the movement. This requires the toilet to be lifted up and the wax ring to be replaced. A DIY job, but its a bit tricky for the inexperienced. So you may need help on this.
Then check the trap on the sink. These also can drip when you least expect it. Again something easy to do.
If all these things look ok, you need to check the location of the leak to the tub/shower area. Does it appear to be under the tub directly? Quite often water runs out around the shower curtain and down onto the floor. Water easily gets between the tub and the floor at these areas. This can result in a very tiny leak that builds over time as the floor under the tile, or vinyl begins to decay. Push with your foot down next to the tub on both ends to see if there is any softness. If you feel the floor is moving, you need to seek the help of a contractor to repair the floor/
Then check the floor to see if there are any holes in it. If you have hot water heat or radiators, The holes cut into the floor can allow water to leak to the levels below. If you wash the floor with to much water it can run down. The result is stains on ceilings.
Hope this gives you some ideas on what to look for. There are a bunch more, but this should eliminate the most common issues.
I agree with Woodbridge. You can help yourself with some investigation. I had a tenant who complained a tub was leaking... and there was plenty of water stains on the drywall on the floor below. Turns out, was not the plumbing. The problem appears to have been old caulking around the edge of the tub and kids who splashed a lot. A plumber would not have been expensive "help".
By the way, plumbers are licensed by the state of Georgia. You can check licenses with the Secretary of State's Professional Licensing Board (Construction Board not Contractors Board).
There are a highpercentage of "leaks" like this that turn pout to be user at fault issues, like kids slopping the water over the tub rim, or adults showering with the shower curtain on thed outside of the tub
A good portion of leaks like this come from failed or absent caulking. Your friendly neighborhood painter (-; can fix the caulking and paint the ceiling.
first check toilet wax ring. this is #1 problem when a bath leak. i work at a large apt. community and this is usually the case. a do it your self project that will save tons of $
After your leak is fixed, you can use Clorox to spray on the water spot to make it go away.