The Evidence of Roof Leaks Inside the Ceiling

Updated November 21, 2016

A leaky roof can be a very serious problem. To prevent roof leaks from causing significant damage to your ceiling, furniture and flooring, it is essential to identify the symptoms of a leaky roof as quickly as possible. In this situation, there are several signs to look for. Once you have determined that water damage is present, locate the source of the problem and repair it to prevent the problem from spreading.


Perhaps the easiest way to find a leak in the roof is by checking for stains on the ceiling. These discolourations range from spots slightly darker than the ceiling to dark black. Generally the darker in colour the stain is, the older it is. The most frequently seen areas of stains are beneath ventilation and near exterior walls. The direction of the stain can also be a telltale sign of where the leak is coming from. For example, if it is running along the slope of a ceiling, the leak is coming from an area at a higher point of the roof and sliding down the slope.


Another sign of roof leaks in the ceiling is damage. With prolonged exposure to moisture build up, it is possible for the room to crumble under the weight of the water and for a hole to form. Other than a hole, bubbles can form in the plaster. The longer the problem goes unattended, the greater your likelihood of damage to the ceiling. Before major damage takes place, it is possible that water might start to drip through the ceiling to the floor. In this instance, collect water with a bucket to prevent it from causing further damage to the furniture or flooring below. Find the source of the leak and repair immediately.


Another symptom of roof leaks is an odd smell. In a room where excess moisture is penetrating the room, you may smell the faint or pronounced musty smell of rainwater, mould or mildew. This smell is not only a nuisance; it can be a potential health hazard, especially if the moisture promotes mould growth. If you notice a smell, circulate the air surrounding the affected area to reduce the collection of moisture and prevent the development of mould.


Mold is perhaps the most dangerous evidence of a roof leak in your home. Excess moisture can pool on the ceiling. Without enough circulation of air to absorb this moisture, potentially toxic mould can form. If your room has a particularly high level of humidity, there is further potential for the development of all mould, particularly black mould which can be a very significant health concern.

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About the Author

Liza Hollis has been writing for print and online publications since 2003. Her work has appeared on various digital properties, including Hollis earned a degree in English Literature from the University of Florida.