There can be a number of indicators that you have a leaky roof, but one of the most obvious is the appearance of water stains on your ceiling.
While water stains are often attributed to roof leaks caused by a variety roofing issues—such as rotting, blistering, flashing, curling, buckling and missing shingles— factors unrelated to your roof may also be at the root of the problem. It is important that homeowners do not rush to repair the drywall before properly identifying the cause of the stain.
How do I know where the water leak is coming from?
If you don’t know where to start, and you don’t want to call in the wrong type of contractor, you may be able to find the source of the water stains by simply following the discoloration and narrowing down the possibilities.
Most water stains have a yellow or brown hue, and can be found on various points of your home’s ceiling. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to identify the source of a water stain by its appearance alone because the water must travel through a variety of materials before emerging on the visible surface.
However, the location of the stain will often help in determining the cause. If the stain is below a plumbing fixture or air conditioning unit, they are the likely culprits. Homeowners with chimneys may find that improper flashing has led to leaking, therefore creating water stains. In some cases, piping that needs to be replaced or repaired may be the issue.
What do I do if my roof is the cause?
The worst thing you can do is ignore the water stain, and leaking, all together. Waiting can leave your family in danger of health complications—such as eye, skin, nose, throat and lung irritation—brought on by mold growth.
If your roof really did spring a leak, don’t panic. Follow these helpful steps to mitigate the damage and call a reputable roofing contractor as soon as possible.
Your roof may be leaking for a number of reasons. One possible cause is cracked or missing chimney and vent flashing. If this is the case, your roof will either require flashing replacement or sealing with roofing tar. Another common source—one that can be easily remedied—is clogged gutters. Clearing your gutters of fallen leaves, acorns and other small debris, may stop the leaking altogether—allowing you to begin repairing the water stain.
Are water stains the only sign of a leaking roof?
You can certainly have leaks in your roof and not see any browning or spotting on your ceiling. Sometimes, leaks can make their way into your attic and into your insulation but take months to penetrate through the plywood, decking and felt before eventually permeating your ceiling. To be sure, homeowners should inspect their attics in the spring and fall to see if there is any visible leaking taking place. Utilizing a roof preventative maintenance plan will help you troubleshoot minor issues before they turn into major repairs.