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larmannm 01-19-2008 01:24 PM

Leak in ceiling *PLEASE HELP*
My celing has been leeking on the back edge of my house for the past two years now. I thought it was my crappy roof that was on there, so I replaced it and my chimney this past summer. I went overkill on all the flashing and rubberized undercoating thinking that the water was coming through my shingles. I put a nice ridge vent on the entire house and added baffles and everything to get it nice and ventalated like it should be. This winter it started leaking again just as bad if not worse than last year. I thought maybe it was my gutters, so I siloconed them to the facial and all around each nail hole. So far no luck. My ceiling plaster can not take much more water before it starts to need to be replaced so PLEASE HELP!!! I honestly have no idea what else to do. I have a one story straight ranch with a shallow 4-12 pitch roof. All the wind and rain comes from that side of the house about 90% of the time. It also seems to be worse When it is below freezing and windy outside. I live in Michigan. All the moisture seems to be coming through the drywall and the paint, so I doint know if this could be from condisation at all. Any ideas are GREATLY appreciated. Thanks all!

ToolGuy 01-19-2008 01:38 PM

Hi Larmannm, and welcome to the forums. :)

That's a really tricky one to answer without a look at it. It could be condensation, or it' could be any number of other issues. Could you possibly post some photos of it from the inside, the area outside where you think it might be coming in, and maybe some shots of that area inside the attic space? I know it's a lot to ask, but otherwise we're really just guessing in the dark.

If you have trouble uploading photos (an issue we're trying to work out), you could use the free image hosting at and post them that way. It would really make it easier to assess your situation.

travelover 01-19-2008 01:43 PM

I agree, some pictures would help.

Are you certain that you don't have ice damming?

guyod 01-19-2008 03:27 PM

I feel for you. thats got to be frustrating.

the best advice i can give you is too run up to your attic every time you see it leaking to look for water and follow it.

is the water inline with your chimney? flashing isnt always that easy to do.

glennjanie 01-19-2008 06:39 PM

Hello Larmannm:
I think your problem is 'ice damming' because you said it happens in the winter (and you have some harsh ones) and the roof pitch is too low for your area. Anything less than 6:12 is dangerous.
You can get heat tape to make a zigzag over the shingles that are on the overhang. They have a new one that comes in rolls of 50', 250' or 1,000' so you can make each side in one piece. The portion of the tape that gets cold will heat up while the rest of the tape is not using any power at all, therefore you don't have to worry about crossing it like the old days, which would burn the heat tape out. You can even get it in 240v to save power and do a bang-up job.

larmannm 01-19-2008 07:09 PM

Thank you all so much for your help with this I will get some pictures up early tomorrow of the attic, outside and inside. I just mopped up all of the water 2 seconds ago. For the flashing issue, there was an actual gap in the roof where the chimney was at and I took the flahing as high priority. I toor the chimney out to below the roof and rebuilt it with brand new brick, There was water damage on a board in line with the chimney. I used rubberized ice barrier as a first line of flashing, then I did the correct aluminum flashing cut into the mortar, then at every seem and corner added a ton of roof tar. I doubt that it could be an issue because I went way ovekill on it, but I will definately check it out, because you never know. I did have ice damning last year really bad, but I took off the gutter gaurds that I had because it was causing most of the ice to form. I will have to check to see if there is ice damning this year. I also went up 6 feet with the rubberized ice sheild instead of felt to prevent any leaking from ice damning. I'll get some pictures up tomorrow, so you can take a better look and hopefully be able to see the problem. Again I can't thank everyone enough!!!

travelover 01-19-2008 07:24 PM

If you can, post some pictures of the roof, right now. (From the outside)

larmannm 01-20-2008 08:12 AM

5 Attachment(s)
Sorry I didn't get any pics of the roof up yesterday, it was too dark by the time I was able to reply. Here are some pics like I promised though. Let me know if you need any more than this. The darkened board is where there was a gap between the chimney and roof. This has been fixed. Also that pipe running across the floor covered in white insulation use to be my bathroom fan exaust, but when I redid my roof i put a vent directly above it and insulated it.

larmannm 01-20-2008 08:20 AM

5 Attachment(s)
Here are the rest of the pics, I didn't travel too far down my roof due to the fact that it is 6 deg out right now and the shingles were feeling pretty brittle. I didn't want to start breaking them. The only Ice damning I found was where my bathroom fan exausts as you can see in the picture. I tool a pic of the rebuilt chimney and flashing as well. The majority of the water is in the bedroom in the corner of the house (same room where the pics of the water on the ceiling). This room is where the pics are aiming (the corner with the gutter down spout) and also there is some in the bathroom located by the vent that is ice daming. I hope this helps out and let me know if you need anymore pics. Thanks again!

larmannm 01-20-2008 08:36 AM

Just to let everyone know the water seems to be starting to dry up today. It will do that, leak for about a day, then take a number of days off(varies) then it will start to leak for another day or two and go in this cycle all winter. It seems to leak worse the colder it is.

To address a couple of comments earlier;

guyod - I did run up in the attic and look everytime i started seeing water, and i would find no signs of leakage. I even pulled up the insulation to only find a water stain on the drywall(it is extremely difficult to get top the edge of the roof due to the pitch). I thought maybe I was too late and the water already absorbed in to the drywall, so I tried to pre-emtive look every couple of days for a while and I still saw nothing while water would continue to come.

toolguy - I'm not sure if it could be condensation or not, I'll live this up to you to decide... I have had my furnace huidifier set at 40% this winter, last year it was 60% because it felt dry. I have had condensation on all my windows (except the oned covered in plastic) and also a little on my door windows as well. I turned it down to 10% yesterday and put the dapner on low almost to the off position because I think my house is a little too humid. I want to see if that will help get rid of the condensation on the windows. The insluation in the attic is blown inbetween the rafters and then two layers of the pink/yellow (camera makes it look yellow but it is pink) fiberglass that you see in pink on top of the rafters. There is no vapor barrier on top of my ceiling.

glennjanie - Like I mensioned before, there use to be ice damning when i had my gutter gaurds on. I don't think they ket the water drain at all due to the screen that was in them. Since I took those off I have not noticed any ice damning on the house. I did leave them on over the garage, and there is still ice damning there and icicles will still form.

Sorry all for the lengthy replies, but I want to get as much info to you as I can so you have a better idea of what is going on, what I have tried, and everything else that has been done or been bad.

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