When we discover a leaky ceiling we have a tendency to blame missing or damaged shingles because undoubtedly that seems like that obvious reason, but unfortunately the answer isn’t always so straightforward.
The source of the leak isn’t necessarily where the water damage appears. Water follows down the easiest path until it reaches the lowest point or obstruction. Therefore, this is where it begins to pool and leak. So before dragging out the buckets and mops follow the short checklist below to determine the source of your wet mess.
- If the leak dries out between storms, this is a good indication that the leak starts somewhere on the roof. If the leak appears during dry spells as well, the leak possibly comes from a plumbing issue in the attic.
- While in the attic, look up at the ceiling and note any spots where light shines through. By inserting a plastic straw through the hole the source will be easier to spot from the roof.
- Check gutters and downspouts for clogged leaves and debris. Backed up water can get under flashing and cause a ceiling to leak.
- During storms that include high wind speeds or gusts, water can blow into vent flaps on the roof. In this case, the majority of the time the water entry is minimal and causes little damage.
To preserve your roof and prevent leaking an annual inspection is recommended.