Asked on Mar 09, 2020

What can be causing holes in the ceiling, and how can I fix it?

by Manas

I bought a new townhouse 3 months ago everything was fine until I started to find some holes appearing in the ceiling. So what is happening is initially 2 holes came up but then came another one and now we have like 5. I can patch these but wanted to understand what can be the root cause. Any idea will help guys.

  20 answers
  • Tom Stuart Tom Stuart on Mar 09, 2020

    Can you get into the space above the ceiling? Spots like this can occur from leaks. A friend of mine is in real estate. She said to check with your agent who handled your purchase. Depending on the cause this could be an undisclosed defect.

    • See 2 previous
    • Tom Stuart Tom Stuart on Mar 14, 2020

      I had heard that using poison inside can result in rodents dying in the walks causing a bad smell. We live close to a field so we do occasionally have a problem. It’s more work but I use traps now baited with peanut butter wrapped in cheese cloth and tied on. Attach a wire to it and wrap it around a nail so the rodent drag the trap off before it dies.

  • Michelle Leslie Michelle Leslie on Mar 09, 2020

    Hi Manas, I would definitely get someone in to do tests on the holes. It doesn't sound right . Perhaps you can contact the developers and/or agent who sold your townhouse.

  • Jason dorosz Jason dorosz on Mar 09, 2020

    It looks like a roof leak or maybe a pipe is leaking above the ceiling , you generally will see a brown stain start to develop around the area if it’s water, have a moisture test done or get in the attic above I guarantee u will find the culprit causing this is a water leak

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Mar 09, 2020

    Hello there,

    Check out what's happening in the loft! Could be many things...................

  • K. Rupp K. Rupp on Mar 09, 2020

    Oh that is weird. Usually with leaks you will see rings with discoloration. The paint will appear like something has stained it. For holes to appear without any of that, I am tempted to say you might have a pest trying to come through. Not sure but when I lived in the city, rats would get in the dryer vent area and I would hear scratching in the ceiling and the walls. Lets hope not, but you might want to get an inspection. Terminix could go up in the attic and detect if something is up there and then they will help set up a plan. Maybe I'm completely wrong.....others may have more ideas:). Good luck!

  • Scarlet Paolicchi Scarlet Paolicchi on Mar 09, 2020

    If you just bought it three months ago, try the builder/ seller. Also see if neighbors are having the same problem.

  • Pamela Pamela on Mar 09, 2020

    Wow ! I agree to get a hold of the builder !!! Could you post a close up pictures of the hole...and some of the other holes as well . Check the exterior of your home , look for around or venting that looks out of place , or where a small animal could have got in . Do you hear any scratching or running ? Go back into the attic , during the day timecard if you see any light coming through any possible gaps . While up there look for any insulation that may be been disturbed . Good luck !!!

  • Chas' Crazy Creations Chas' Crazy Creations on Mar 09, 2020

    One of the post I read suggested water damage. You might want to get in from above if you can and see if that is possibly the culprit.

  • I had something similar and it was wasps making a home in my ceiling. They were getting in though the exterior side of the house. We could hear buzzing so we figured out what it was. Does anything come out of the holes?

    • Manas Manas on Mar 09, 2020

      Thanks a lot for replying, after multiple checking I saw a squirrel running in the attic. I am getting someone inspected ASAP to get rid of that ( and if more) and seal all entry points.

  • on Mar 09, 2020

    Can you get up above to see? It's pretty strange - if it isn't water damage I'd be concerned about rodents or insects.

  • Janice Janice on Mar 09, 2020

    Call you real esstate sales agent immediately and look at the disclosure sheet of your paperwork. Now is when you learn if you have a good agent or not. If the townhome is new, warranty work must be done.

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Mar 09, 2020

    I read many good comments above. Since when we zoom in on the pic, it’s fuzzy, please show & tell us more about the holes. Thanks.

    Is the black stuff powdery or moist or?

    Are these actual holes that go all the way through or is the ceiling “fish eying” on a large scale?

    My gut tells me it’s mold and Stachybotrys makes people very ill and sometimes fatally ill.

    Whatever it is, time is not on your side, after 3 months, so get that real estate agent working on your behalf ASAP.

    Good luck.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Mar 09, 2020

    It looks like a poor repair job in the past and settling is causing this issue. Double check there wasn't any disclosures and maybe reach out to the seller.

    As for repair, inspect from above (attic space) and see if you can figure out the cause. You may need to replace or re-do the repair rather than just patching it.

  • Cheryl A Cheryl A on Mar 09, 2020


    Here is something I found that may be the cause of the holes appearing.

  • Dee Dee on Mar 09, 2020

    If I were you I would get this checked as soon as possible as the hairline fractures along with the hole indicate that there could be a problem with your ceiling.

    Friend had her ceiling fall down over the kitchen. It made a huge mess and they ended up having to do a lot of repairs to damage to the kitchen and furniture caused by the fall.

    It could also be foundation problems. If this is a new home, contact your builder and your Realtor agent. If this is an older home, contact your agent and see if it were disclosed. If not you have a lawsuit if the agent cannot get the money to fix the problem.

  • Ok you said you bought a new townhouse 3 months ago. New to you? Or new construction? If new construction, depending upon what state you live in, the builder is on the hook for 10 years or more for construction defects. If something was not disclosed on purpose . . . Then you have a lawsuit on your hands. First give everyone the benefit of the doubt and let them step up and repair on their dime. If not, then go after them in any manner possible. Typically I go after the builders license, very effective. No license, no work = no money. Also consider hiring your own licensed home inspector to go through and find any other violations or defects to get them repaired in one fell swoop. Certainly worth a few hundred dollars for peace of mind. And check with your neighbors, if they have similar issues, band together - a group is a threat to the builder and they may just hop to it. Good luck and keep us posted.

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Mar 13, 2020

    When a house settles the nails start to pop through the sheet rock all that needs to be done is to bang them in and compound them and paint over the spot

  • Fab54028577 Fab54028577 on Oct 22, 2021

    If you've seen squirrels in your attic there is a good possibility that's where the holes are coming from.I worked as a Painter for a large property management company and we had a big problem with squirrels getting in to the attic and chewing through the sheetrock.If the hole is wider on the attic side of the sheet rock and smaller where it actually pokes through then you've got squirrels!

  • Amir Hyman Amir Hyman on Jan 03, 2023

    There are a few possible causes of holes in a ceiling:

    1. Water damage: If the ceiling has been exposed to water, such as from a leak or a flood, it can cause the drywall to become weak and develop holes.
    2. Age: As a ceiling age, it can become weak and start to sag or develop holes.
    3. Insects: Certain types of insects, such as carpenter ants or termites, can cause holes in a ceiling by burrowing into the wood or drywall.
    4. Physical damage: Holes in a ceiling can also be caused by physical damage, such as from a falling object or from people walking on the ceiling.

    To fix a hole in a ceiling, you'll need to first determine the cause of the hole and take appropriate action. If the hole is caused by water damage, you'll need to repair the source of the leak and replace any damaged materials. If the hole is due to age or insects, you may need to replace the entire ceiling. If the hole is due to physical damage, you can patch the hole using a drywall compound and a piece of drywall.

    Remember to use caution when working on a ceiling, as it can be unstable and may contain electrical wires or other hazards. It may be necessary to hire a professional if you are not confident in your ability to fix the hole safely.

  • Mogie Mogie on Jan 03, 2023

    If the town house is new contact the builder and find out who is responsible.