the wall is sheathed with moisture-resistant green plasterboard in the apartment, renovation work at home

Water damage can cause all sorts of problems, including blisters and bubbles on painted ceilings and walls. 

The number one suspect for paint peeling, cracking, or bubbling is usually water. In fact, it can be a warning sign there is a roof problem, such as a leak or a blocked gutter. It can also be a result of water from daily use getting through to the top layer of paint, or simply excessive humidity. Whatever the reason, once water gets in, remediation becomes necessary.

Paint blisters or bubbles occur when the paint film lifts from the underlying surface. There are a few common causes for bubbles on the ceiling or in the wall.

Common Causes of Wall and Ceiling Bubbles

Leaks from Plumbing Fixtures or a Leaky Roof

Sometimes, plumbing or roof leaks (common after excessive rain) can cause blisters or bubbles on painted surfaces. Over time, the moisture from these leaks damages the drywall behind the paint, which can cause widespread sagging, blistering, or bubbling in your ceiling or walls. Inside the wall cavities there may be cracked piping, a failed seal, or even a connection that has come loose.

Trapped Moisture

Paint blisters or bubbles can occur when moisture gets trapped during the painting process, especially if the area has high humidity. 

High moisture areas of your house like kitchens and bathrooms can create problems for your ceilings and walls. Moisture from hot showers, dishwashers, and cooking can travel throughout the house and cause water damage.

It’s important to properly air out high-moisture rooms. One way to do so is to install fans and vent systems. 

Poor-Quality Paint

Occasionally, blisters or bubbles on a painted surface have less to do with the surface than with the paint on top of it. Low quality paint often contains fillers, which make it difficult for the paint to adhere to a surface. In some cases, this can cause bubbles and blisters to form. 

How the paint was applied also matters – using a roller or brush incorrectly can introduce air bubbles that remain once the paint is dry. 


Excessive heat can cause bubbles to form in the paint. Sometimes, hot temperatures can cause the thinners in fresh paint to vaporize and expand, which leads to blistering and peeling. 

Paint Applied On Incompatible Surfaces

Paint doesn’t adhere to every surface, and using the wrong paint on the wrong surfaces may cause bubbling or blistering – examples include: painting dusty, dirty drywall, painting walls covered in a thin layer of grease or dirt buildup, painting improperly-cleaned or prepared door jambs, and trying to apply water-based latex paint over oil paint without priming the surface first. 

Improper Paint Thinning

If too much thinner or diluting agent is added to the paint, it may cause the paint to bubble. This occurs because the thinner compromises the paint’s binding agents, causing air bubbles to form.

Addressing Moisture Bubbles in Your Walls and Ceiling

If you’re relatively confident the moisture behind a water bubble comes from a clean water source, such as a roof leak, it may be okay to pop it.

However, if you suspect water behind the bubble may be wastewater, like from a plumbing leak or toilet overflow, DO NOT pop it. 

These tips will help you avoid causing more damage:

DO NOT Pop a Bubble if You’re Not Sure Where the Water Came From

If you recently had water damage from sewage backup and now you’re noticing water bubbles, you should NOT pop them on your own. The likelihood of encountering more contaminated
water is quite high, and it becomes necessary to contact a professional for assistance.

DO NOT Rush Through the Repair

After a water bubble forms, you’ll need to drain it and allow the area to dry completely. If you rush this process or paint on a surface that’s still even slightly damp, you may wind up with the same problem all over again.

DO NOT Pop Large Bubbles

If the water bubble is very large or located in a sensitive area, like near electrical fixtures, do NOT pop it on your own. Instead, contact a professional for more assistance. 

If you’re not sure why the paint on your walls is bubbling or blistering, remember that moisture is the most common cause. Regardless of where the water bubble occurs, it is usually an indication of something much more serious, and behind the bubble, there can be extensive water damage and/or mold. 

A simple way to check for moisture problems is to request a water damage inspection from a professional. Further, have a licensed technician repair water damaged areas before you paint or refinish them.

We Help Homeowners

Flader Plumbing and Heating is uniquely suited to assist you in determining the solution that best fits your home and family’s needs. We’ve been serving your neighbors and our community for over 100 years and 4 generations. 

The Flader Difference

Only Flader Plumbing and Heating delivers:

  • The most responsive service. We’re here for you 24/7.
  • Personal attention from certified and licensed technicians.
  • The most dependable equipment and parts.
  • Money-saving maintenance agreements.
  • 100% satisfaction guaranteed.


Flader Plumbing and Heating recommends equipment, models, and brands proven to have the fewest problems and service calls. We specialize in:

Comprehensive Services

Whether you’re noticing bubbling on your ceiling, you need a new water heater, or your furnace needs cleaning, we are knowledgeable and provide expert service. Our professional technicians arrive on time, listen to your concerns, and answer your questions. They will recommend the right solution and deliver as promised.

Flader technicians average 15 years of experience and are EPA certified.

Expert service, quality parts, and satisfaction guaranteed. There is no reason to compromise. Call us at 847-491-6980. 

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Flader thrives on exceeding expectations of our residential and commercial customers.  We deliver cost effective solutions for homeowners and businesses.  Our Service Centers in Evanston and Libertyville are ready to serve.  Call us today at 847-491-6980.

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A long-term commercial customer needed an upgrade on their air quality system.It required two 20-ton and two 10-ton Carrier units mounted on the rooftop, plus piping and custom sheet metal inside their manufacturing center. The Flader Team went skyward with a huge crane to land the units on the rooftop.In just 2½ days, the transformation was completed.Click “See our Work” to view more success stories.

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Evanston Service Center: 3004 Central, Evanston, Il 60201
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