Heavy rainstorms are common in our area of Michigan. Most storms here are not much to worry about, but they can pose a threat to your home, especially your roof if you are not careful. What happens if you notice water stains on the ceiling after a storm? That is a big sign that you have much bigger issues with your roof. Here’s what you need to know.
Stains on the Ceiling
Staining is usually a sign of a big problem, not a minor concern. In order for water to get down to the ceiling, it means that there is usually a significant amount of water that has traveled throughout your attic space. There are many things that get in the way of water travel, such as the ice and water shield, the roof decking, the open space and then the insulation. Many of those obstacles can mask a leak, soaking up water before it ever stains your ceiling, so if you can see the stain, be assured that it’s not just a drip.
The first step you might want to take as a homeowner is to see if you can find the source of the leak. The place where you see the staining is almost NEVER directly beneath the source of the leak. Due to the complicated nature of the roof structure and the pitch of the roof, water can travel long distances before ever actually dripping down onto the insulation.
The simplest plan is to start where the staining occurred, inspect the insulation above it and then immediately look at the decking material above the wet insulation. You will see a line of water running up the pitch of the roof near the point where water penetrates. This is a good time to remind you that inspecting for leaks is best when it’s raining, otherwise, you may not be able to see the wet areas.
Inspecting above the roof near this point may lead to more clues as to what may be causing the leak. Is it a missing shingle, bad flashing, poor nailing, etc? It may be difficult to find the actual point of penetration because water can run a long ways above the shingles as well, so be sure to spread your search radius to account for this.
If you are stuck
A professional roofing contractor can perform a full roof inspection and give you their best take on what the source of the problem might be. However, asking anyone other than the original installer to service your roof may void the warranty. Also, the sheer difficulty of locating water penetration points and repairing them with 100% confidence is very high. This is the reason Pro Home Improvement does not perform leak repairs on roofs installed by others.