Why is my ceiling leaking?

Water-damaged and stained white ceiling.

Dealing With Roof Leaks

It was a very cold, snow-filled, wet winter followed by torrential spring rains and now, a blistering, hot summer. Occasionally though, here in Texas, we’ll get some summer showers and storms that will cool things down for a minute, only to heat things back up an hour later. Those rains also remind us of the winter and spring damage with a leaking roof. 

Are roof leaks common? 

Well, they aren’t “uncommon”, but they aren’t necessarily an everyday thing for every homeowner. However, there is probably a leaking roof every day somewhere in The Lone Star State, or a roof waiting to start leaking. To safeguard your home, learn the common causes of leaking roofs and maybe you can catch a minor issue in time before it becomes a major problem: 

  • Age – A roof’s age is one of the biggest problems homeowners may face. Nobody wants to deal with having a new roof installed because it is so expensive. However, waiting until something happens and filing it on your homeowner’s insurance may backfire. So, bearing that in mind, is a leaking roof covered by insurance or not? Well, yes and no. You need to review your homeowner’s insurance policy and see what coverage you have and what exclusions they’ve stipulated. One thing we can tell you for sure, as a roof ages, it deteriorates. So, if your roof is over 10 years old, you’re not going to get full coverage for a roof replacement and what they’ll pay for roof leak repair will be limited. 
  • Clogged Gutters – The job of rain gutters is to channel the rainwater from the roof to the downspout, where it is lead away from your home. When a gutter run get clogged with accumulated debris like leaves, pine needles, twigs, even critter nests, the water can’t flow to the downspout. Then it backs up under the shingles, rots the decking and underlayment, and before long you have a leaking roof. 
  • Missing Shingles – If roofing shingles aren’t properly installed, strong winds can dislodge them, leaving your roof vulnerable to leaking. Once a month or so, walk around your home and if you spot any loose or missing shingles, call a professional roofer to reattach or reinstall new shingles where they’re missing. 
  • Valley Improperly Sealed – Where your roof planes meet is the roof valley and flashing is installed there to assure the water runs off the roof. Otherwise, without flashing, or if the flashing isn’t installed correctly, comes loose, it leaves the vulnerability for a leaking roof. 

Is a roof leak an emergency?

Yes! As soon as you notice a leaking roof of any size and proportion, consider it an emergency. Because even the smallest leaking roof will grow bigger and become a bigger leaking roof. Water is the enemy when it comes to your home’s structure. 

Can a roof leak cause mold?

Absolutely! Anywhere there is water left standing, mold can and will grow. Then it spreads and will eventually work its way into your air vents. Once it is there, every time the cooling or heating turns on, it is blowing mold spores throughout your home. 

What does a roof leak look like?

If you have water pouring in through the ceiling, that’s an obvious leaking roof, right? But what if it isn’t pouring in – how will you know you have a leaking roof? Here are four signs to be aware of: 

1. Water Stain

A water stain kind of looks like a large water puddle on the ceiling. Usually brown in color, or if the leaking roof is in a corner, it may be smaller and harder to notice. Use a flashlight and look through the entire house in the corners for dark spots, mold, or moisture. 

2. A Drip

If you see water dripping, moisture, or moisture stains on the walls every so often, but not all the time, you could still have a leaking roof, or an ice dam in the winter. Ice dams are caused by the ice and snow freezing and thawing then refreezing. 

3. Exterior Walls Have Spots 

Once a month or so, walk around your home outside and look under the roof line for water spots. This is where the roof and the walls aren’t meeting and there is water getting inside the walls. 

4. Growth On The Walls

If you see mold or moss on an exterior wall, especially a wall that doesn’t get a lot of sun, there could be a clogged gutter run or downspout that needs attention. When they leak, mold and moss will start growing on the exterior walls. 

How do I find a leak in my roof?

The easiest way is to go in the attic with a flashlight and look for moisture on the insulation, water stains on the under decking, the light showing through the under decking, or mold growing on the insulation and rafters.

Woman holding a bucket under a roof leak.

Closing Words – How do I stop my roof from leaking?

You can make a temporary roof leak repair by making a patch out of a roofing shingle or plywood, using roofing glue or tar. Go to the attic, and where the leaking roof is, you’ll attach the shingle or glue with the roofing glue on one side against the decking. Then nail around it, and spread the roofing glue or tar around the edges of your roofing patch. This is a temporary fix, any leaking roof should be inspected and properly repaired as soon as possible. If you need further help with a leaking roof in Justin & Fort Worth, TX, reach out to J Riley Roofing by calling at (940) 441-4544.