Stains on the ceiling are often a major sign that there is a leak somewhere in your ceiling. If you don't do something about it, your ceiling is at risk of collapsing eventually under the weight of the accumulating water. For this reason, you need to repair the leaks as early as possible, and for this to happen, you must find their source first. Here is how to find the causes of the leaks in your ceiling.
1: Note the Timing and Colour of the Leaks
Do you only notice the leaks in stormy weather or are they consistent regardless of the weather? Leaks that only appear when it rains usually indicate that your roof is the cause. On the other hand, if the leak is consistent, then your plumbing fixtures are the culprit. The colour of the leaks will also give you an idea of where to start looking. If the water is coming from your roof, it will often leave yellow or brown stains on your ceiling. However, if the water is clean or clear and doesn't stain your ceiling, a plumbing line or fixture somewhere is the problem.
2: Inspect The Leaks from the Attic
Once you establish whether the leak is from a plumbing fixture or from your roof, it's time to get access into your attic to find the actual source of the leak. Finding the leak if your attic is insulated will be challenging. Therefore, you may have to remove any insulation to make your work easier. While in your attic, look up at your attic ceiling for any spots through which light peers. Insert a twig, pencil or plastic straws through the hole to help you find the spot on atop your roof that lets water in.
If you don't see any holes, inspect your attic for stains or trails of water. This is often the case when the water is slipping under your roof flashing. Follow the trails to their source and have it repaired. Check any plumbing lines or fixtures near the leak for moisture, damages, or corrosion.
3: Inspect the Exterior of Your Roof
With the help of a ladder, get access to your roof and start inspecting from the highest point working your way down. You want to look for any shingles that could be bulging, damaged or wind-lifted. Inspect the flashings as well as the gaskets around any utility entrances and plumbing vents. Look for any water damages on the underside of your roof. Inspect your chimney for any damages such as cracks. All these are potential sources of leaks. Check that your gutters aren't clogged because this can back up rainwater that may eventually find its way under your flashing and into your ceiling.
For more information, talk to a professional like Sam's Local Plumbing.