Leak in ceiling *PLEASE HELP*

Discussion in 'Walls and Ceilings' started by larmannm, Jan 19, 2008.

  1. Jan 19, 2008 #1

    larmannm

    larmannm

    larmannm

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    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!
     
  2. Jan 19, 2008 #2

    ToolGuy

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    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 www.photobucket.com and post them that way. It would really make it easier to assess your situation.
     
  3. Jan 19, 2008 #3

    travelover

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  4. Jan 19, 2008 #4

    guyod

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    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.
     
  5. Jan 20, 2008 #5

    glennjanie

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    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.
    Glenn
     
  6. Jan 20, 2008 #6

    larmannm

    larmannm

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    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!!!
     
  7. Jan 20, 2008 #7

    travelover

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    If you can, post some pictures of the roof, right now. (From the outside)
     
  8. Jan 20, 2008 #8

    larmannm

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    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.

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  9. Jan 20, 2008 #9

    larmannm

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    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!

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  10. Jan 20, 2008 #10

    larmannm

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    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.
     
  11. Jan 20, 2008 #11

    guyod

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    Does the roof only leak when it is cover with snow? That is alot of water dripping down for an ice dam with that little of snow and with 6 feet of ice shield its hard to believe. did you try looking for water in the attic? your insulation must be soaked. The insulation makes it harder to detect a leak because it absorbs alot of water in the beginning and keeps on dripping after the problem stops making it harder to figure out. Is that your furance in the attic? if it is, it could be making the roof to hot creating the ice damns. maybe the exterior of it could be insulated some how. with that much water you should be able to trace it.
     
  12. Jan 20, 2008 #12

    guyod

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    Sorry never refreshed and didnt see your reply

    If the insulation isnt wet then it must be condensation.
     
  13. Jan 20, 2008 #13

    larmannm

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    No, my furnace is in the basement. What you are looking at is either the chimney that is in the middle of my house or the whole house fan which I insulate with 6" of styrofoam in the winter. I was having a hard time believing it is condensation because the water seemed to be on the other side of the paint, but I could be wrong. Also it is only on the back side of my house and not the front.

    It does only happen in winter, but it did happen slightly one other time when there was a terrible downpoor and really strong winds, i think it was in the fall when it did happen.

    If it is only condensation is there anything else I need to do besides turn my humidifier down a bunch like I already have done?
     
  14. Jan 21, 2008 #14

    inspectorD

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    I'll bet the water leaks are over the areas where you have the paper faced insulation where you can see it. You should not be able to see the paper. The paper needs to face the heated space, this is called a vapor barrier. With out getting to involved, you need to have this paper as close to the heated space as possible...otherwise you will create a vapor barrier which is condensating when it reachs the cold air. And it makes the insulation hold moisture.
    Try.
    WWW.buildingscience.com for more info.

    If you still suspect a leak, try going into the attic and turn off the lights, then see if you spot any daylight.:)
     
  15. Jan 21, 2008 #15

    guyod

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    there might also be a gap of insulation in the corner too.. cold air comes from the eaves and makes the dry wall cold just in the corner. thus forming condensation. you can test this by touching the drywall and see if it colder there than other parts of the drywall.

    Some thing also doesnt seem right with your humidifier. buy a little themometer that reads humidity if you can find one with dew point even better.
     
  16. Jan 21, 2008 #16

    larmannm

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    inspectord - the insulation that you see is just leftover insulation from when I wrapped my bathroom vent pipe. It is not leaking under those two strips, but I will get up there and flip them over just in case. Besides those two pieces, none of the insulation in the attic has vaper barrier on them. As for the light, i didn't notice any last time I was up there, but I will get up there and take another look when I flip the insulation over. There use to be light by my chimney before I replaced the roof.

    guyod - the drywall is a little bit colder in the corner, i would say about 10 degrees or so. The gap is pretty tight from the edge of the wall to my roof, there is only room to put one layer of insulation there before you start to compress it too much. First layer is compressed slightly as well. I will get a thermometer and berometer this week to check the levels in those rooms compared to others. My humidifier filter is getting really calcified last time i took a quick peek, I've been slowly working on finding a replacement for it localy. I know when it was set at 40% the pump to get rid of overflow water kicked on almost everytime the furnace was running.
     
  17. Jan 21, 2008 #17

    Quattro

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    looks like condensation to me...

    maybe turn down the thermostat, then check it again very early in the morning, when your house is likely to be the coldest. If the water looks more like frost at that point, it's probably condensation. I doubt it's a water leak, because it's been too cold to really melt much on the roof. For those who don't live here, it's been below zero for the past several days.
     
  18. Jan 21, 2008 #18

    larmannm

    larmannm

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    The sad thing is my thermostat is only set to 63, how low can i go before my pipes start to freeze?
     
  19. Jan 22, 2008 #19

    glennjanie

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    Hello Larmannm:
    My experience says ventilate! no matter what the outside temperatrue is the attic still needs to be ventilated. The best method is eave vents and a ridge vent allowing a flow of air up the lower side of the deck. Also, ventilators should not be covered in winter; you don't save any heat in the attic, you save the heat below the ceiling.
    Most thermostats will only turn down to 50 or 55* and that's plenty warm to keep the water from freezing and keep the plaster or sheet rock from cracking.
    Glenn
     
  20. Jan 22, 2008 #20

    inspectorD

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    Try checking your ductwork, are there any ducts in the attic near this problem. You may have a leak, even a pinhole can cause condensation in one area.
    I still think it is a condensation issue. If your temps are below 10 degrees and you still have water, it is condensation. The venting will help a little but the hot air is still escaping ...causing the problem.
    A company with a thermal camera can spot it in an instant. Try a heating company or home inspector.
    We do this all the time for folks with heat loss issues....and leaks.:D
     

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