Signs of a Water Leak in the Ceiling

Written by scott cornell
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Signs of a Water Leak in the Ceiling
Ceiling stains are telltale signs of leaks. (leaky ceiling 1 image by askthegeek from Fotolia.com)

A leaky ceiling can mean a few things: the homeowners have a leaky roof, leaking plumbing or high condensation running along pipes. However, water damage may not show up immediately. In the case of a leaky roof, it only shows up when it is raining outside. Other than having your home inspected by a professional, there are several ways to identify potential ceiling leaks.

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Ceiling Stains

The most obvious evidence that there's a water leak in your home, either resulting from leaking pipes or a leaking roof, is the appearance of ceiling stains. This occurs when water pools near the outer walls of the home, creating damage to the ceiling. Serious leaks can lead to fungi or mould growth, which darkens the stain from a brownish to black colour. If not acted upon quickly, this can lead to more than just foundation problems: it can lead to health problems as well.

Shifted Foundation

The most common cause of a leaking ceiling is a leaking roof. This can be identified by a shifting home foundation because water that would normally be carried away by drainage pipes flows down the walls instead. This can cause the soil beneath your home to settle or shift. Although uncommon, this is one of the most serious problems a leaking roof can lead to and a telltale sign that water is getting into the home, even if it is unnoticed at the time.

Fireplace/Light/Carpet Moisture

Any indication of water or dampness around fireplaces or any indoor brick structures that extend up to the ceiling could spell water leakage. The most common place of leakage is where the brickwork extends through the roof area. Another sign of ceiling leakage is water accumulation around any light fixtures that are embedded into the ceiling. Water typically accumulates around or inside the light's housing. Damp carpeting, typically found near the walls is also a sign.

Wet Attic Insulation

Although leaking roofs are often the cause of leaking ceilings, its tough to pinpoint this cause. Leaks only occur while it's raining and sometimes attic insulation accumulates the water, preventing it from immediately collecting on ceilings. Periodically check the insulation in your attic. If it's damp, it could mean there's a problem with the roof.

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