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anatayw 02-14-2009 01:13 PM

Help with Ceiling leak
My ceiling has been leaking for a week and I have been having trouble locating a source. I live in a 2 story, 4 yr old house and the leak is in the first floor living room ceiling. The living room is under the master bathroom, so I immediately thought plumbing. When I first noticed the leak, it was just before I had to go out of town for the weekend, so I turned off the water main. When I returned, the leak had stopped, so I called in a plumber. He cut a hole in the ceiling and then couldn't find a leak and suggested it may be a roof leak.

It rained that evening and the leak started back up in the same spot, but water was coming out of the same spot but at a much higher rate. This time, when I turned the water main off, the leaking continued. I went into the attic and couldn't find any leaks and there are no leaks on the second floor ceiling. The next day, after the rain stopped, the leak started to spread in a line and also started to drip out of the fan and vent, as well as random other spots all over the ceiling.

The next morning, I came downstairs to a paint bubble filled with water. In all this time, I've had 2 plumbers and 2 roofers come out. Both plumbers say they can't find a leak and 1 roofer said (without getting on the roof) that he thought it was a plumbing issue. The second roofer thought the roof vents needed to be re-sealed, but never showed up to do the work. In the meantime, I still have a persistent drip and my ceiling continues to be damaged.

Any help will be appreciated. I'm at my wit's end!

glennjanie 02-14-2009 08:52 PM

Welcome AnatayW:
Try turning your water off at all locations in the house, go to the meter and see if the red hand on the dial continues to go around. If it does, it indicates there is a plumbing leak somewhere. I'm surprised that neither plumber tried that simple test.
I understand your upstairs rooms cover the room that has a leak. In that case, it would be very difficult to show a leak in the first floor ceiling without it showing on the second floor.
You said the next time it leaked through a fan and vent. Is there a bathroom above the leak? Does the vent pipe go to the outdoors, either through the side or roof of the house? It is time someone got up on the roof and walked around looking for an opening.

inspectorD 02-15-2009 06:44 AM

Has anyone gone into the attic in complete darkness? If you do this on a bright sunny day outside, you may look around your flashed areas first to see if you see any sunshine commin through. Water can travel from the point of the leak you are not even in the area of to 20 feet away.
Good luck.

spaz2965 02-15-2009 07:41 AM

I also agree with both Glenn and inspector. If the vent pipe is leaking it will be going down the interior wall and when it gets to the bottom plate of the wall, it will travel to where it is showing up on the first floor.

jdougn 02-15-2009 05:09 PM

If you think it may be from the roof, start at the pipe that sticks through the roof for the plumbing vent. If it has a rubber boot around it those will fail after just a few years. Double check the flashing around the bath fan vent if it goes through the roof the check all flashings and valleys.
hth, Doug

lalchak 02-26-2009 07:05 PM

I don't have a ceiling leak but I do have a patio door leak. So I am readying all-things-leak here.



travelover 02-27-2009 06:27 AM

I had ice damming a couple of years ago in a Colonial and water dripped out of the first floor light fixture. So don't rule that out.

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