Leak in ceiling? Don’t panic. It doesn’t always mean your roof is compromised. However, it will take some investigating.
Is your ceiling discolored, bulging, or showing signs of water dripping through? There are many possible causes for a leak in the ceiling.
Let’s cover some ways to identify the source of your ceiling leak. Then we’ll share some tips on what to do in between repair.
Locate the source of the ceiling leak…
1. Determine if the ceiling only leaks during bad weather
If the ceiling only leaks during rainy or other rough weather conditions, it’s likely that your roof needs repair. However, if the ceiling continues to leak rain or shine, you may have a plumbing issue. Another way to confirm this is to check the water.
2. Examine the water leaking from the ceiling.
If you see that the water is clean and fresh then it’s probably leaking from a plumbing line or fixture. But if the water leaves a brown or yellow stain on the ceiling, it’s probably the result of a roof leak.
3. Locate the leak from inside the attic.
Use a flashlight to find where your ceiling is wet. This may require you to remove insulation between roof joists. If a plumbing line is near the leak, check to see if moisture is near the pipe.
4. Flag the leak hole for roof visibility.
If you’ve spotted light peering through your attic ceiling, place a tall, thin object through the hole (e.g., a pencil, straw, or twig). Doing this will help you find the hole when on the roof. If you don’t find a leak hole, inspect the attic for water trails or stains – as the leak may be slipping under the roof flashing (thin sheets of material at the joints of a roof used to direct moisture).
5. Inspect your roof.
Grab a ladder and carefully climb to the top of your roof. Inspect roof flashing near valleys, hips, and around chimneys. Check areas where two different materials meet, such as dormer vents and plumbing vent gaskets. Are any materials damaged or corroded? If your shingles are raised or bulging in any way, they may be the source of the leak.
6. Inspect the siding.
Can’t find the leak on the roof? Take a close look at the siding of your home. Is there any damage? If not, check your gutters and downspouts for drainage clogs. Backed up water might have slipped under flashing to cause the leak.
Still can’t locate the source of the leak? Contact a local roofer for professional assistance.
Once you know the problem, you are one step closer to the solution. So let’s take a look at what you can do to prevent further damage.
Contain the leak to prevent further damage…
Now that you know where the leak is coming from, it’s time to do something about it. If you’re not confident with searching the internet for DIY roof repair tutorials, then you probably need to hire a roofing contractor.
In the meantime, place a bucket beneath the leak. To prevent droplets from splashing water onto your furniture, position a wooden plank downwards inside the bucket so that the droplets slide smoothly down into the bucket.
If the leak is creating a bulge in your ceiling, take a sharp object (e.g., a screwdriver) and pierce the lowest portion of the leak where most of the water has collected. At this point, the leak area is already compromised, but this hole will relieve stress from the rest of your ceiling and home.
Once you’ve contained the leak in ceiling, then you’ll be free to consider the cost to repair or replace your roof.