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Does a Ceiling Stain Mean I Have a Leaking Roof?

March 08, 2022

Does a Ceiling Stain mean that I have a leaking roof?

If you see any brown spots on your ceiling or walls, it is a water stain most likely caused by a leak. A water stain is typically created by a leak from your roof, heating appliance, or plumbing leak. The water stain appears when the liquid seeps into the ceiling and evaporates, so you're left with dried and discolored deposits.

If you just cover up a water stain or paint over it, you are not fixing the actual problem. If you do not address the leak that caused the water stain, more water stains can show up on your ceiling. Untreated leaks can also lead to structural and electrical damage. As soon as you notice a ceiling stain, it's time to schedule a free inspection with Roof It Forward to get to the root of the leak.

Leaking Roof

If the water stain is being caused by a leak in your roof, you need to look out for signs of damage on your roof. Some of these signs are:

  • Crumbled, torn, broken, or missing shingles

  • Sagging areas on your roof

  • Exposed nail heads

  • Gutters are not fastened properly

  • Gutters are clogged

Leaking Skylights & Vents

Your commercial building's roof typically has a vast system of air vents, plumbing vents, and skylights. Since these pieces need roofing material to be cut around them, these areas are susceptible to leaks.

Leaking Flashing

Roof flashing are pieces of metal that are placed on a roof where two areas are joined together. Flashing is meant to prevent water from leaking through the roof. If your flashing is damaged, leaks will be able to occur and water stains form on your ceiling.

Damaged or Old Waterproofing

Commercial roofs have a waterproofing membrane layer. This layer can be damaged by weather, mechanical damage, and foot traffic. Any damage can result in leaks to the waterproofing layer. Waterproofing layers may leak once they hit 15 to 20 years of age. The lifespan depends on the type of roofing material you have. As your roof gets older, the more likely leaks are to occur.

Leaking HVAC Units

HVAC units can easily cause ceiling water stains if there is a leak. Leaks can be caused in several ways:

  • Incorrect installation

  • Water leaking from the HVAC unit itself

  • HVAC drip pan overflow

  • Water leaking from a roof-top HVAC unit that is not draining properly

Leaking Pipes

If you are having trouble spotting where the leak is coming from, it could be a pipe leak. A few causes of pipe related leaks are:

  • Bad piping that has busted or was improperly installed

  • Old pipes that need replacing

  • Poor insulation causing your pipes to sweat

  • Hard water running through your pipes causing damage from the inside

Leaking Bathroom

If there is a water stain on the ceiling below a bathroom, there could be a leak in the bathroom. A few causes of leaks in bathrooms are:

  • Caulking is old and needs to be replaced

  • Overflowing toilets that cause flooding in your bathroom

  • Clogged sinks and/or shower drains that cause flooding in your bathroom

  • Pipejack boot if the bathroom is upstairs

How To Fix Ceiling Stains

The earlier you spot a hard water stain, the easier the repair process will be. The first step to repair is identifying the cause of the leak. Only taking care of the stain itself will not fix the real root of the problem, making another water stain and additional damage bound to happen.

A few ways to clean the water stain on your ceiling after you had the leak taken care of are:

  • Remove the affected part of the ceiling and replace it with new ceiling tiles or drywall.

  • Use a mixture of bleach and water to blot and wipe away the stain.

  • Once the water stain is fully dried out, you can paint over it.

  • If you have a wood ceiling, you can sand the affected layer down and seal it.

Think Your Roof May Be Leaking? Schedule Your Free Roof Inspection With Roof It Forward

Ignoring a water stain on your ceiling is one of the worst things you could do. The longer you ignore it, the more extensive the damage gets, and the most expensive the repair will be. If you have spotted any water stains on your ceiling or think there may be a leak in your roof, schedule your free roof inspection with Roof it Forward. Our roofing professionals will be able to review any information you provided and work to identify the cause of the leak. We will also provide a video of the roof inspection, as well as an interior inspection to identify any leaks. After the inspection, we will review your options, repair estimates, and schedule your repair.

Roof It Forward aims to provide you with excellent service to keep your roof in great condition. Schedule your free roof inspection today!


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