WHAT THAT WATER STAIN IS TRYING TO TELL YOU
For many homeowners, noticing a water stain after a rainstorm is an obvious sign that there’s a problem with the roof. But what if it hasn’t rained and leaks are still occurring? Water stains occur for many different reasons and sometimes can be tricky to pinpoint. A slow leak is usually harder to find than a big leak because it may have migrated from its original opening. It’s not uncommon for water to run along rafters before making it to your ceiling, complicating the true source of the problem. Determining the cause of a leak requires a visual inspection of the area above and around the stain. This inspection may require access to an attic, roof or even an enclosed floor structure. While it’s not always possible to find the source of a water leak, the location of the stain will often give you a good idea. Here’s a list of some of the most common sources of ceiling stains.
WATER STAIN ON CEILING
Improperly installed roof flashing or old flashing is one of the most common causes of ceiling stains. Penetrations are found on every roof and require flashing to keep water from getting in. When flashings are not installed properly, water will get into these penetrations, into the attic and eventually, into your ceiling and/or walls. Chimney, skylight and pipe jack flashings are usually the most common source of ceiling stains. Overtime old flashings will crack or rust, causing openings for water to get in and enter your attic. If noticing ceiling stains and your roof is easily accessible, take a look at the flashings on your roof to make sure there are no visible cracks.
WATER STAINS AROUND BATHROOM EXHAUST FANS
Water stains around bathroom exhaust vents are very common and usually caused by condensation, not a roof leak. The purpose of bathroom exhaust vents is to carry the moist air from the bathroom outside. As the moist air travels though the duct in your attic, condensation accumulates. As more and more condensation builds up, water will drain back down the duct and into the vent, causing leaks to appear around the vent. Wrapping the duct in insulation or replacing it with an insulated one is an inexpensive way to help prevent this issue. This will help control the temperature more effectively and prevent condensation from accumulating. Adding more insulation to your attic is another effective way to prevent condensation from building up.
WATER STAINS WHERE CEILING MEETS INTERIOR WALL
Water stains that appear at the ceiling and wall are usually caused from ice damming. With the harsh winters we have in the Midwest, ice damming is a common problem that can cause major issues. Ice dams can loosen shingles, tear off gutters, and cause water to back up and pour into your home. Warped floors, peeling paint, wet insulation, and stained ceilings and walls are the most common issues caused from ice damming. Adding adequate ventilation and insulation to your attic is recommended and typically will prevent any leakage caused by ice dams. Installing ice and water shield underlayment along areas that are considered weak spots is another way to prevent ice damming.
WATER STAINS ON WALL – AROUND OR BELOW WINDOW
Water stains that appear around or below a window are very common and usually caused by the insulation, flashing, and/or caulking. If a window is not properly sealed, wind, rain, and moisture can enter through the cracks, causing water to seep into the walls. Those cracks can also cause drafts to enter your home, increasing the cost of your energy bills. If noticing a leak around your window, take a look to see if there are any visible cracks. If no cracks are visible, call a professional to come out and do a thorough inspection.
Water stains have many sources and aren’t always easy to locate. If you do spot a leak and aren’t certain how to fix it, call a professional right away. Getting a leak inspected sooner rather than later could save you a lot of time and money in the future. At BOLT Construction & Roofing we know your home is a huge investment and is why we offer free home inspections. Our inspections include a full assessment of the exterior and interior of your home to ensure your home is protected for years to come. Call us at 314-646-7663 to set up your free home inspection today!