Wet ceiling


#1

I purchased a house in August. The home inspector told me that the roof didn’t look very good and I ought to have a roofer come out and render his opinion.

The roofers (several) naturally stated that they thought it needed to be replaced completely. There was exposed plywood in some places along the very back. The whole roof had three layers of shingles. Supposedly inadequate venting had ruined the roof.

I didn’t think it looked so bad; I replaced the plywood and shingles on the bottom 8 inches or so and called it good. It held up just fine in the rain. I also pulled back insulation that had been covering the soffits to improve the ventilation.

Come winter, however, I began getting water damage along the whole (well, extended patches) back edge (a few inches to a foot) of the house (and a few places in the front edge too) anytime it was cold, often even when it was dry. Just frost would be enough to getting it dripping wet.

So clearly I was wrong about the roof being good enough. I called a few roofers out, they told me again that my roof sucked, although they couldn’t tell me clearly why the problem was occurring (I assumed ice dams) and I needed a new one. I didn’t want more water damage, so I had it done. All new plywood, and shingles, and added ridgeline venting done by a professional roofer.

Today it rained for the first time since (and it’s warm; no ice damming now), and one of the old trouble spots in the front of the house is dripping wet again. The gutters are clear, and the roof looks good as far as I can tell. I’ve been up in the rafters and can’t see the source, although I can’t get very close to the house edge.

I’ve called the roofer and am waiting for him to get back to me. Any suggestions on the cause and the cure?

Also, there is no plumbing nor air-conditioning apparatus in the rafters, so leaky pipes or AC condensation are out.


#2

First thing that comes to mind is the temp outside. Reason i say that is condensation can still happen when the roof is redone. First thing you have ridge vent right? If so how mant soffit vents do you have? Was ice and water used in the install, where do you live, is it freezing at night and warmer in the day? Do you have new windows? Reason i ask that is that new windows that are more effective in keeping the heat in can have a bleeding effect into the attic space due to a lack of insulation. Leave me your responses with a few photos posted so i can take a look of the area the is wet inside and out. Hope i can help have a great day!


#3

location?


#4

Sorry, I don’t have a camera, so images are not readily forthcoming.

I’m in Urbana, Illinois. We had a pretty fierce winter, but the wetness today was at ~50 degrees; I don’t think freezing is a contributing factor, but I can’t say that definitively. I think the low last night was 30 degrees, but it’s been relatively warm all day. The wet spot is in my roommate’s room, so I didn’t know about it until he brought it to my attention mid-afternoon.

There are soffit vents running the entire length of the front and back of the house.

Ice and water shield along the edge of the house was specified in the roofing contract, but it was pretty much done while I was at work, so I can’t absolutely verify that at the moment.

The windows in the house are significantly newer than the house itself. I think they’re pretty high-quality insulators, although I don’t really know much about it. If you think temperature is an important issue, my roommate also keeps a space heater in his room and it’s generally a great deal warmer than the rest of the house.

Thanks for the responses so far. I’ll see if I can borrow a camera or something in the next few days if that would be helpful.


#5

All I can think of is installation errors.Have it checked out by a reputable company.A new roof shouln’t leak.


#6

With the new windows and soffit venting i think it is a lack of insulation. Where you are at there should be a R-49 value in inches thats something like 15 3/4 inches if im not mistaken. With the freeze and thaw that could be your problem. Is there a bathroom close with a bathroom vent not hooked up to the roof? Aside from insulation i can think of nothing without looking at the home. Kevin


#7

Hi,

Sometimes when they replace the pipe collars, A pvc joint loosens up. Plumbers are famous for not using glue in the attic. They figure it is only for venting. If you had a lazy plumber.

Could be the roofer did not know how to install the pipe collar.

Is the space heater kerosene? Does your roommate smoke or burn candles in the room?

The list goes on…

If it is only one spot, insulation would not be my first choice.


#8

You said the leaking is happening at the edges of the house-is most of the water damage showing up in the ceiling or the wall itself? I saw a house once that had several bad spots in the cornice work that funneled water into the soffits and saturated the wall inside.

I also think that condensation from hot air in the attic could be the problem, like GTP was saying. I would think when it was cold outside you could go in the attic and find it though, especially for the amount of water you seem to be talking about.

What pitch is the roof?


#9

“I can’t get very close to the house edge”.
sounds like you have a low slope.
the fact that people put shingles on anything under
a 6/12/pn in THE SNOW!!!, makes me want to scream.

thats besides the point.
you dont have a damn condesation problem.
were not gonna fix the roof by findin and stoppin the condensation. no . no were goin to fix the roof, by fixin the roof,this time guys.
its 50 degrees, even i know how cold that is.
now poster. try to post some pics, in the mean time
let your roofer come and fix his problem.
roofer may have forgoten to seal somethin.
happens to all of us. give roofer the benifit of the
doubt.
ask roofer to take pics of what he found to better
explain to you what happen.

now if you come back here talkin bout roofer says
theres a condensation bla, bla,
im gonna be real upset.
just kiddin.

gweedo.


#10

Yes, pictures would be great to see. I’m curious to know what possible variables could contribute to your problem. I agree so far with the comments regarding condensation. And I’m wondering if there is not perhaps a unique situation ie: specially located obstructions near this recurring problem area…looking forward to seeing the pictures.


#11

Lefty could have something there.


#12

So many variables could contribute, thanks Lefty for pointing that out…that’s why I’m curious to see those pictures…


#13

Just thought I’d share a situation I came across last winter.
Homeowner called to say roof was leaking, roof was 4 years old and they noticed very slight staining on the ceiling a year before that but as it was just barely visible they didn’t think to much of it.At the time they called me it was clearly evident it was leaking.
That day it was -16 degrees celcius, and while driving there I was thinking it may be a ice damming problem, however I found no snow or ice on her roof.
Put up the ladder and was expecting to possibly find a few shingles had blown away. However the roof was in great shape and no visible damage or defects in that area.
Asked permission to go inside her attic to have a look, upon doing so noticed that she had blown in insulation and at the corner where the leak was happening the insulation had somehow blown off the vapor barrier completely an area approximately 6’ x 6’.I assume it was blown back by the smooth circular pattern that was left there.
A considerable amount of condensation had developed under the vapor barrier and was causing the leak.
I installed baffles at the soffit vents put back the insulation and have not heard from that customer again.


#14

Thanks to everyone for offering thoughts on my problem, and sorry for the delay in response. I borrowed a camera from work and got a few pictures. Some of the images are relevant to more than one response, but I’ll try to put them in a reasonably coherent order. It wasn’t much of a camera, and I’m not much of a photographer, but hopefully these help.
Here’s the outside of my house:

And here’s the damage:



Yes, I know I shouldn’t have let it mold like that. It was pretty advanced when my roommate showed it to me and I’ve been more concerned with fixing the root of the problem. I’ve cleaned it off since taking the picture.

Here’s a few shots of the roof over the trouble area:








There is a poorly-ventilated bathroom (which is to say, not at all ventilated) directly across the hall from the room where I’m currently having trouble. Are you saying that perhaps moisture is diffusing through the bathroom ceiling and then condensing above the trouble area?

[quote=“Lefty”]Hi,

Sometimes when they replace the pipe collars, A pvc joint loosens up. Plumbers are famous for not using glue in the attic. They figure it is only for venting. If you had a lazy plumber.

Could be the roofer did not know how to install the pipe collar.

Is the space heater kerosene? Does your roommate smoke or burn candles in the room?

The list goes on…

If it is only one spot, insulation would not be my first choice.[/quote]

The space heater is electric. My roommate does not smoke or burn candles. What effects might those things have? As for the pipe collar (I didn’t get a good image for this, sorry), there is a vent for the water heater and furnace (see below) that is not connected at all; there is ~1/2 an inch gap between the pipe and the outlet on the roof. That’s the only pipe up there, I believe. Is it bad that it’s not bonded tightly?

[quote=“shangle nailer”]You said the leaking is happening at the edges of the house-is most of the water damage showing up in the ceiling or the wall itself? I saw a house once that had several bad spots in the cornice work that funneled water into the soffits and saturated the wall inside.

I also think that condensation from hot air in the attic could be the problem, like GTP was saying. I would think when it was cold outside you could go in the attic and find it though, especially for the amount of water you seem to be talking about.

What pitch is the roof?[/quote]

The damage is pretty much coming in through the ceiling, and the trouble spot right now is in the middle of the house:

If it’s a cornice problem wouldn’t you expect it to come from the very edge of the house? I’m not positive of the pitch of the roof. I think it rises about 6 feet over maybe 15 feet, so… somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 degrees. Is that too shallow to be reasonable?

[quote=“tumpline”]Just thought I’d share a situation I came across last winter.
Homeowner called to say roof was leaking, roof was 4 years old and they noticed very slight staining on the ceiling a year before that but as it was just barely visible they didn’t think to much of it.At the time they called me it was clearly evident it was leaking.
That day it was -16 degrees celcius, and while driving there I was thinking it may be a ice damming problem, however I found no snow or ice on her roof.
Put up the ladder and was expecting to possibly find a few shingles had blown away. However the roof was in great shape and no visible damage or defects in that area.
Asked permission to go inside her attic to have a look, upon doing so noticed that she had blown in insulation and at the corner where the leak was happening the insulation had somehow blown off the vapor barrier completely an area approximately 6’ x 6’.I assume it was blown back by the smooth circular pattern that was left there.
A considerable amount of condensation had developed under the vapor barrier and was causing the leak.
I installed baffles at the soffit vents put back the insulation and have not heard from that customer again.[/quote]

Ok, this is a definite possibility. I crawled back to about where I think the damage was, and there was essentially bare roof right above the spot.

I hope this is not the source, because it could mean the other trouble spots I had are not cured by the new roof and all the trouble was caused by pulling the insulation back from the soffits. In any case, I re-covered that spot as best I could. It rained the other day (kind of early in the day) and there was no wetness in the corner when I got home in the evening, but that’s not conclusive. I guess I’ll hope that more weather comes along soon.

Again, thanks everyone for your comments!


#15

You need a good local leak repair guy to come out and look…

If you called me I would look for:

  1. Nail feed back. could be that simple, a hole in the material.
  2. Is that an aluminum ridgevent with a strap every 10’ or so? If yes, I would want to get that replaced with a shingle over style such as a cor-a-vent 300. If it’s not causing you problems now, it will in the future, and it could be that is leaking and the water is running under the comp on top of the felt or the plywood until it finds a spot to drop into the attic.
  3. You need to have that bathroom vented, have an exhaust fan installed and ducted with 4" vinyl flex hose, insulated is ideal. The duct should be run vertically to a separate stem vent with a back draft damper, not just pointed at an existing vent or out to the soffit. Use hose clamps or wire ties at the connections, not duct tape. If I had to put money on it I would guess this is the problem.
  4. Ensure that your soffit vents are baffled to ensure free inflow of air. And make sure that the slot is actually cut under your ridgevent. 3/4" along both sides of the ridge.[/code][/list]

#16

[quote=“IKORoofer”]You need a good local leak repair guy to come out and look…

If you called me I would look for:

  1. Nail feed back. could be that simple, a hole in the material.
  2. Is that an aluminum ridgevent with a strap every 10’ or so? If yes, I would want to get that replaced with a shingle over style such as a cor-a-vent 300. If it’s not causing you problems now, it will in the future, and it could be that is leaking and the water is running under the comp on top of the felt or the plywood until it finds a spot to drop into the attic.
  3. You need to have that bathroom vented, have an exhaust fan installed and ducted with 4" vinyl flex hose, insulated is ideal. The duct should be run vertically to a separate stem vent with a back draft damper, not just pointed at an existing vent or out to the soffit. Use hose clamps or wire ties at the connections, not duct tape. If I had to put money on it I would guess this is the problem.
  4. Ensure that your soffit vents are baffled to ensure free inflow of air. And make sure that the slot is actually cut under your ridgevent. 3/4" along both sides of the ridge.[/quote]

Those sound like good pieces of advice. I’m a little dismayed though because most of them sound like things I should have done/had done before I had a brand new roof put on, or while the old roof was off. It also gives me a whole new barrage of questions.

The aluminum ridge vent is what the roofer just installed :\ How hard/expensive is it to change?

Can I add bathroom venting through the roof without compromising its integrity? Doesn’t the flashing have to go under the shingles? Also, that project is probably beyond my ability. Who would I call? A plumber? Electrician? Also, any idea what it would cost?

Baffles should probably have been done when the roof was off too. They’ll be a real pain now.


#17

[quote=“Alphonse”]

[quote=“IKORoofer”]You need a good local leak repair guy to come out and look…

If you called me I would look for:

  1. Nail feed back. could be that simple, a hole in the material.
  2. Is that an aluminum ridgevent with a strap every 10’ or so? If yes, I would want to get that replaced with a shingle over style such as a cor-a-vent 300. If it’s not causing you problems now, it will in the future, and it could be that is leaking and the water is running under the comp on top of the felt or the plywood until it finds a spot to drop into the attic.
  3. You need to have that bathroom vented, have an exhaust fan installed and ducted with 4" vinyl flex hose, insulated is ideal. The duct should be run vertically to a separate stem vent with a back draft damper, not just pointed at an existing vent or out to the soffit. Use hose clamps or wire ties at the connections, not duct tape. If I had to put money on it I would guess this is the problem.
  4. Ensure that your soffit vents are baffled to ensure free inflow of air. And make sure that the slot is actually cut under your ridgevent. 3/4" along both sides of the ridge.[/quote]

Those sound like good pieces of advice. I’m a little dismayed though because most of them sound like things I should have done/had done before I had a brand new roof put on, or while the old roof was off. It also gives me a whole new barrage of questions.

The aluminum ridge vent is what the roofer just installed :\ How hard/expensive is it to change?

Can I add bathroom venting through the roof without compromising its integrity? Doesn’t the flashing have to go under the shingles? Also, that project is probably beyond my ability. Who would I call? A plumber? Electrician? Also, any idea what it would cost?

Baffles should probably have been done when the roof was off too. They’ll be a real pain now.[/quote]

The aluminum ridgevent will not be hard to change, as far as price goes, it shouldn’t break the bank. It may or may not be the problem so I would prioritize accordingly, and temporary fixes can be made if you want to hold off on that so you can get the exhaust fan installed in the bathroom…

The bathroom vent should be an easy retrofit, a small general contractor or remodeler should be able to do the whole thing. The new damper vent will indeed tie into the roofing so you may want a roofer to install the vent. Installing the vent after the roof is already on is no problem. I really don’t know what it will cost, it’s a small project and I would think could be completed in less than a day by someone who knows there stuff. Maybe around $600?

If your soffit vent is blocked it is forcing your ridgevent to do more work than it is really designed to do. You’re right, getting down in there will be a pain, but it needs to be done if your soffit vents are blocked with insulation.


#18

I have good news and bad news.
The good news is that i could find and fix your leak in ten minutes flat.
Your attic pic right above the area shows a simple shingle/fastener leak.

The bad news is that it is going to happen again somewhere else.
More than likely every year until you replace it with the right roofing material.

You have the wrong material for your roof. You have a 3/12 pitch. You don’t put traditional architect shingles on a low slope roof. Which my opinion differs from 99 percent of the roofing world. The manufactures say its ok, the city,state says its ok and 99 percent of roofers say its ok. I don’t.

I wouldn’t highly recommend it on a 4/12 either…

Also, immediately remove the insulation off the area. Bring a small spray bottle up there with diluted bleach and spray the area. Its been leaking since the first rain.


#19

well i agree with my fellow floridian.
but a 3/12 will work.
dont like it, but works.
ridgevent is not causin your problem.
you dont have a pipe problem either.
i say somethings wrong at your bottom edge.
you have no overhang to speak of,
so any water comin in at your
fasha area could get back to your wall. in one of the pics i think i see your gutter not tucked behind your edge metal.that could be letting water in behind everything. also i dont know what the hell that white thing is at the edge in attic pic. am i lookin at the back of edge metal and gutter. like no fasha or sub fasha? not good.
ok heres what you do in next HEAVY rain. look out the window , up at the gutter area and see if water is drippin anywhere behind the gutter or from the sophit
area. if waters drippin from this area then you have a gutter/edge problem.

good luck

gweedo.


#20

Ice dams sometimes occur on sloping roofs in climates with freezing temperatures. When the temperature in your attic is above freezing, it causes snow on the roof to melt and run down the sloping roof. When the snowmelt runs down the roof and hits the colder eaves, it refreezes.

If this cycle repeats over several days, the freezing snowmelt builds up and forms a dam of ice, behind which water ponds. The ponding water can back up under the roof covering and leak into the attic or along exterior walls