Exactly how to Determine the Cause of a Ceiling Leaking
Pinpointing the cause of a ceiling leak is similar to constructing a puzzle. You may think it’s simple enough, although finding precisely where water is entering into the house or apartment might be an exercise in hit and miss. Precisely where the water enters into the house or apartment may not be at the origin of the water leak. Water pursues the easiest path until it arrives at the lowest place or barrier throughout that pathway where it starts to merge and leak. The minute you prefer to determine the origin of the leak in your ceiling, a comprehensive evaluation and doing away with the most obvious causes is a really good starting point.
If the leak happens only during bad weather or is a consistent problem storm or shine, determine. This is a really good indication that the leak begins someplace on the roof if the leak dries out between storms. The leak most likely comes from a plumbing water supply line if the leak is steady when it rains or shines.
Examine the water leaking from the ceiling. There’s a good probability it comes from a leaking plumbing line or fixture if the water appears fresh. The cause might be a leak in the roofing if the water is unclean or stains the ceiling.
Access to the attic and, with a flashlight, locate the place precisely where the ceiling is soaked in between roof beams. You will need to take out any padding in the way of the leak. If there is a plumbing line near the leak, like the supply line for a swamp cooler, check the line for leaks or moisture content.
Look up at the ceiling while at the same time in the attic and note any locations where light shines through. Insert a plastic straw through the hole. This will assist you repair the hole and find from atop the roof.
Check the inside of the attic ceiling for water discolorations or trails. Follow the water trail or stain to its cause. Make note of the area if there are no obvious holes, as water could be getting under roof flashing and causing the leak.
Inspect the roof’s exterior. Use a step ladder to get to the roof.
Inspect flashing around chimneys, dormer vents or other roof protuberances. Note if there are any wind-lifted, protruding or raised shingles as leak origins.
Check out all regions of the roof where two different materials meet, such as between house siding, shingles or flashing. Look for corroded or affected components as causes of ceiling leaks.
Check gutters and downspouts for clogs. Backed up drainage water can get under flashing and cause a ceiling to leak.
Things You Will Require
- Plastic straw
- Step ladder
Safety line and other proper safety equipment
Every year examine your roof and re-tar or use roof cement around plumbing vents, attic dormer vents, chimneys and anything that protrudes through the roof. Annual routine maintenance in the summer, fall or spring helps to prevent winter leaks.
Word of caution
Work safely when using a ladder. Confirm the step ladder is planted securely before climbing. Use rubber-soled shoes when accessing the roof. Tie off a safety line on something secure to break any plunges from the roof. Use the appropriate safety equipment.
How to Repair Your Leaking Ceiling
In addition to being an eyesore, leaking ceilings can cause major problems around your home. Here’s how to find and stop your ceiling leaks.
Spotting Your Leak
Wet flooring and dark-colored or brown splotches on your ceiling are common signs of a leak. Leaking ceilings can also cause bubbling paint and wet walls. If you notice any of these signs, address the challenge immediately. Overlooking leaks can lead to structural damage and mold and mildew growth.
Identifying Your Leak’s Cause
Finding the location of your leak isn’t always easy. Here are three clues that will help you pinpoint the origin of your leak.
Leak Frequency: Drip frequency is a great indicator of your leak’s location. Dripping that coincides with rain is usually a sign of a leaking roof. Your leak is likely plumbing-related if you notice a steady flow of water.
Leak Color: The color of the water dripping from your ceiling will also help you pinpoint the location of your leak. Clear dripping is usually the sign of an interior plumbing leak.
Insulation Dryness: Attic insulation will also help you find the origin of your leak. If the top of the insulation is wet, the leak is likely located above your insulation in the roof or wall.
Fixing Your Leak
Once you know the general location of your leak, it’s time to find the exact cause and fix it. Here’s how:
Gain access to your roof and examine the leaking area. Sometimes plugging roof leaks isn’t DIY-able. Leaks in unusual locations or related to major structural damage are best left to the pros.
Plumbing Leaks: Your home is filled with pipes, which can make pinpointing the origin of your plumbing leak difficult. Here’s a quick look at the most common origins of plumbing leaks and how to fix them.
If your leak is directly below your bathroom, plumbing fixtures like showers and toilets are likely to blame. To double check, recreate the leak by running your shower or toilet and then checking out the open ceiling for leaks. If you see water dripping, you’ve determined the source of your leak.
Bathtub Leaks: Begin by checking your bathtub or shower insert for cracks. If you don’t notice any damage, run your bath or shower and inspect your ceiling leak. Call a pro if the leak persists.
Shower Leaks: Spray water along your shower door and examine your ceiling. Dripping water will confirm a faulty shower door seal. Install a shower door sweep– most designs snap onto your door– and run silicone caulk along the base of your shower. Run a line of caulk along its base if your sliding shower door track is leaking. If your leaks continue, call a pro. This could be the sign of further plumbing issues.
If you see a leak, you could have a bad seal. Replace your wax seal to do away with your leak. Call a pro if you continue to have leaks.
Your home’s plumbing lines can corrode or break and cause leaks. If your leak isn’t below any major appliance or fixture, it’s likely the result of a faulty pipe. Soldering mistakes can lead to fires, serious burns, and additional leaks.
If you notice water damage on the ceiling or other signs of a leak, don’t assume it’s your roof.
As the snow melts, our company gets calls all of the time from customers who have a roof leak and think they know exactly where the water is coming in– usually because there’s a water mark on the ceiling or wall. But, did you know roof leaks and the cause of water damage are actually hard to diagnose? In fact, it may not be your roof leaking at all.
At times, figuring out the source of a water leak can be difficult. When there’s a stain on the ceiling, it’s a common misconception that the leak originates from directly above that area.
But, water travels. When there’s a leak present, water may be traveling down from another area of your home, dripping onto the ceiling, causing you to believe that’s the location of the leak. It’s best to have an experienced contractor get on your roof and in the attic (if applicable) to better figure out where the leak is coming from.
There are other factors to consider. Water on your ceiling may be the cause of a variety of things. Regardless, a leak can cause serious issues inside your home.
1. Water pipes dripping or leaking
Plumbing pipes are often in your attic and may either be leaking or accumulating condensation, causing the water to drip. This happens quite often, leading to a misdiagnosed roof leak. Your specialist should be able to spot this during the evaluation and highly recommend an HVAC company who can help.
2. Condensation inside your house
If your house is not properly vented, insulated or has a whole-house humidifier that is set too high, condensation can develop and cause dampness in the home, specifically your attic.
Keep in mind, whole-house humidifiers should not be set at more than 30 percent, per manufacturer guidelines, to avoid this issue.
Wetness in a crawl space can also be a factor. The moisture is invisible and eventually rises through the home, stopping at the roof deck, creating condensation. The use of a sump pump, pea gravel, and other products can help, but contact a professional contractor to assist.
3. Clogged gutters and downspouts
Water has nowhere to go but in if your gutters are clogged! Gutters must be properly maintained so water (and ice in the winter) doesn’t back up with the debris.
Consider gutter guards to prevent build-up of debris in your gutters. Our best advice is to simply keep those gutters and downspouts cleaned.
4. Ice dam
Walk the perimeter of your home to check for areas where ice may have built up this winter season. When water from the ice and snow melts, it will more than likely leak right into your home. This doesn’t mean your shingles are bad. It simply means, as with clogged gutters, the water has nowhere to go but it in.
Use Roof Melt Tablets to Help Prevent Ice Dams
When winter storms dump snow and ice on your roof and in your gutters, find out what to do.
Check for these roof repairs
Turns out it was a roof leak? Wait to repair your home’s interior. Draw a circle with a pencil around the stain, and see if the spot grows after a few really good rainfalls. You’re probably pretty safe to move forward if it doesn’t.
There are many things we, as homeowners, can do to be vigilant in the fight against roof leaks. You can examine your home for the following things before having to call a roofing contractor:
• Look for split or missing shingles. If you have to get on the roof, safety.
• Peak at your skylight while on the roof or from inside. Look for broken seals or fractured edges.
• Check attic insulation level. Insulation and ventilation are very important in allowing your home to breath, reducing the risk of condensation.
• Look for damaged or loose siding. Water can often enter the area causing a leak, especially with wind-driven rains.
Remember, when in doubt, call a reputable contractor to assist in diagnosing the cause of your challenge. Most roof inspections are free of charge.
My Roof is Leaking– What Do I Do and the Dangers of Waiting
No one ever wants to find water leaking from their ceiling. Whether you are home when the leak begins or come home to it, it is important that you take immediate action to avoid further damage to your home.
Contain the Leak
It’s likely that water is pooling on the other side of that bulge or dark spot if you find water dripping from a bulges or discoloration in your ceiling. Grab a bucket, trash can, or some other container and place it under the site of the drip or suspected leak. You may even want to consider propping up a board inside the container so the drips hit the board and not the build-uped water. This will lessen the repetitive dripping sound.
Next, take an old screwdriver, locate the center of the bulge where water is building up and puncture it right in the middle. It might seem strange to punch a hole in your ceiling to stop a leak, the new hole will allow the water to drain smoothly and relieve pressure on the rest of your ceiling. The entire ceiling could collapse if water collects and pools.
If you are confident you know where the leak is coming from and can safely get to the origin, cover the exterior surface with a large tarp. If you can’t reach it, or feel unsafe doing so, it would be best to immediately contact a roofing expert. Many credible roofing companies offer emergency tarping services. As you may already know, unfortunately if your roof is actively leaking due to weather, a roofing professional can not repair the leak until that weather has stopped. The tarping service will act as a temporary fix to minimize the damage inside your home until your roofer can fix the problem.
An experienced roofing contractor will check out your roof both from the exterior of the roof itself as well as the inside of your home, typically through the attic. Checking the underside of the roof sheeting can show signs of water damage, however it is not a foolproof method so checking the roof for damage is needed as well.
Dangers of Waiting
It is important to act quickly when it comes to a roof leak. Even if the leak isn’t bad. Dodging and ignoring will not fix a leak in your roof.
On the inside, you should look for:
- Dark spots
- Spots where outdoors light shines through
On the outside, you should keep an eye out for:
• Missing, warped, decaying, flaking, broken, blistering, or twisting shingles
• Blocked or slow-draining gutters/downspouts
• Loose material or wear around chimneys or vents
It can most likely be spot-repaired instead of requiring a total replacement if your roof is fewer than 15 years old. Just remember that a small leak will not go away– it will only get worse.
Roof leaks are usually just signs of a much larger issue. Be vigilant, search for leaks, and talk with your contractor about the condition of your roof regularly.