Your home’s protection begins with the roof. A strong, solid roof protects the rest of your home’s structure, as well as everything within it. A roof leak is the most common cause of a ceiling leak. Damage to your roof can be detrimental for the rest of your home.
Other causes of residential ceiling leaks include plumbing issues, a chimney leak or an uncapped chimney.
If none of these things are going on in your home but you still find that the ceiling is leaking, you may want to check any skylights that you may have, as well as doghouse dormers on your roof.
Finally, inspect the upper walls of your home’s exterior for missing or damaged brick or siding where water could be getting in.
All of these issues can lead to a ceiling leak within your home. The good news is that most of them are preventable and easy to catch with routine inspections.
Problems from Ceiling Leaks
On the down side, there is a long list of problems that accompany roof leaks. Here are a few of them:
- It’s hard to know if you have one without proper inspections. A leak can be present for a long time before it shows signs on the interior of your home.
- Leaks in the roof cause damages from top to bottom, meaning your ceiling and walls are in harm’s way.
- If these leaks are left untreated long enough, they can even make it to your floors.
- Water leaks weaken the roof and make your home a potentially dangerous environment.
- Ceiling leaks are expensive and complex to repair.
Biggest Problem: MOLD
But above all, the biggest problem you’ll have to contend with is mold. And unfortunately, it is a very common side effect of ceiling leaks.
Mold is responsible for a long list of health problems such as coughing, sore throat, headaches, skin rashes, as well as issues that may seem unrelated, like depression, fatigue, and gastrointestinal issues.
Whether you are in direct contact with mold or not, it can still cause these health effects because the spores circulate invisibly throughout the air.
Mold can affect drywall, wood, insulation, and ceiling tiles – anything made from organic material. These materials are found throughout every home. While it is impossible to prevent mold spores from entering your home, you certainly can (and should) take steps to prevent its spread.
Therefore, it’s in your best interest to avoid ceiling leaks that can result in mold growth.
How to Prevent Ceiling Leaks
We won’t sugar-coat it: Preventing ceiling leaks is difficult.
You have to be vigilant, and even then, you may face circumstances that are far beyond your control. Keeping your roof in good condition is the best way to avoid ceiling leaks. But that’s just one of a few steps you can take.
You should also have your roof inspected on time each year, and have it inspected in between if trees or branches fall on your roof during storms or high winds. Inspections should always include skylights and upper windows. We recommend yearly professional roof inspections. You can do them more frequently if you are able to do them yourself.
You can also install ridge cap shingles to improve water flow off your roof, and follow up by coating your roof with a waterproof sealant made for your specific roofing material.
Why a Ceiling Leak Can Lead to Mold
The roof and attic are areas where most homeowners can’t (or don’t) visually inspect all that often. Therefore, a ceiling leak can go unnoticed for quite a while before it is discovered. This is the main reason that many ceiling leaks lead to mold within the home.
Mold thrives in warm, moist dark areas. Combine these conditions with the wood, dust, and other organic materials that are found in attics, and an attic where a water leak has occurred is the perfect environment for mold.
A ceiling leak can either cause mold in the direct path of the water, or it can cause so much condensation to build up in the attic area that mold develops on multiple surfaces.
If your attic has adequate ventilation to remove the excess moisture, the mold may not spread as quickly, buying you some time before it completely covers the area. Excess moisture almost always leads to mold growth because mold spores are literally everywhere – even within our homes.
Mold Inspections After Ceiling Leaks
Pure Air Solutions highly recommends having a professional mold inspection done if there has recently been a ceiling leak in your home. It’s inexpensive, and the peace of mind it will give you is more than money can buy.
There are a few things a mold inspection can tell you:
If your roof and ceiling are structurally sound.
Water leaks weaken your ceiling and the materials holding your roof together. You could have an entire section of your ceiling fall, or someone could easily fa54[ll through the attic if the boards are damaged.
The amount of damage to be repaired.
Unattractive stains will inevitably make it to your visible interior ceilings and down the walls if the leak isn’t repaired. But ugly stains are only a small portion of the potential repairs after a ceiling leak.
If your family is safe in your home.
Undoubtedly the most important factor to you is your family’s health. A mold inspection will reveal the severity of the mold growth in your ceiling. If there is none or only a little, you can probably stay in your home while repairs and remediation are completed. But if the mold growth is severe, you may be required to evacuate your home until it is completely restored.
The steps for repair are very involved and may require you to hire more than one professional to carry out the following steps:
- Fix the leak. You will usually need to get a roofing contractor involved for this step.
- Remediate mold that is found in the attic or walls.
- Dehumidify the attic so mold is not a recurring problem.
- Treatment for stubborn mold stains.