Roof Leak or Plumbing Leak? How To Tell The Difference

roof leak or plumbing leak how to tell the difference

The goal of this post is to help you figure out whether your water leak coming from your ceiling is in fact a roof leak and not a plumbing leak. Yes, people do confuse leaky roofs with plumbing leaks because water leaks that are coming from your ceiling doesn’t necessarily mean there  coming from the roof.

Determining where you leak is coming from is by far the most difficult task depending on the location of the leak and how your home/roof is constructed. Most people automatically assume that if the ceiling is dripping that the leak is coming from directly above the leak. This is not always true, it is very possible that your leak could be coming from the AC or plumbing pipes, traveling and accumulating all in one place. It is very common in the roofing industry for a AC or plumbing leak to be misdiagnosed as leaky roof.

Roof leaks on the other hand can be caused by numerous issues. We put together a list of the most common sources of roof leaks so you are better able to determine where your leak is coming from and who you need to call to fix it.

Here are the most common causes of leaky roofs:

  • Broken, cracked or missing roof tiles, shingles and seams
  • Deteriorated or damaged seals, flashing or caulking
  • Not enough attic ventilation causing condensation/moisture buildup
  • Improper Installation of flashing, valley, collars, shingles, etc..
  • Ice Dams (build up of ice) that prevent water from running off the roof forcing it to build up underneath the roofing shingles
  • Cracked Flashing – Exposed flashing can become cracked due to high winds or rain
  • Improperly installed skylights – Your skylights were improperly measure or the insulation has decayed along the edges of the skylight
  • Clogged Gutters – Your gutters help water travel away from the roof. A clogged gutter will make water sit in place and eventually find its way inside your home through cracks or deteriorated parts of your roof where the water tend to build up the most.
  • Cracked Chimneys – Most of the time, missing mortar is the suspect here. Mortar erodes easily in bad weather conditions.
  • Overusing your roof – Try not to walk on your roof to often, also make sure your children are not playing on the roof as well. Some of the material used to build your roof is very fragile and can be cracked easily from too much use. Try to stay off of the roof as much as possible. Also, try to be careful and walk softly when installing Christmas lights.

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