When it comes to roof leaks, most people are aware of the most common signs -- water spots on the ceiling, wet insulation, and moldy attics. Unfortunately, not all the symptoms of a leak are as obvious. The following are a few issues in and around your home that could indicate that there is a hidden leak on your roof.
When water gets into the walls it often becomes trapped for some time. This is because most modern paints are latex-based, which creates a rubber-like seal over the wall board. Eventually, the paint will lose adhesion with the wall because of the moisture, so it will start to look as though it is bubbling. When this happens on a ceiling, a large bubble may appear and eventually burst, leading to a torrent of water pouring out. Sometimes the water flows down and collects behind a wall instead of in the ceiling, so the bubbling will occur to a lesser extent on a vertical surface.
Water flows downward in the direction of least resistance. Unfortunately, this often means that it flows through the conduits in the ceiling and walls where other components are placed, such as along electrical conduits. The water will then collect in the housing for certain ceiling fixtures, like lights and ceiling fans. You may notice moisture collecting in light covers or dripping around fixtures. In some cases, the collected moisture results in a short and the lights will flicker or go out.
Leaks in a roof may also cause water to flow beneath the shingles but above the roof decking. When this happens, the excess moisture often collects near the eaves of the roof. The eaves and fascia boards will slowly rot, which may first become apparent as sagging along the edge of the roof line. Gutter issues can also lead to leaks and rot along the eaves, since a poorly draining gutter can cause water to backflow beneath the shingles at the roof's edge.
When water flows downward through your attic, it may collect above door and window frames. The wood trim in these areas acts as a stopper that collects and absorbs the excess moisture coming in through the attic. The wood trim may become soft and rotten. You may first notice the finish peeling from the trim as it absorbs moisture. Eventually, the trim will develop mold and begin to fall apart.
Contact your local roofers if you suspect that your roof is harboring a hidden leak.