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elusive roof leak


It's like Dr. WW for houses.


We've had this spot on the ceiling that will get wet every once in a while. I first noticed it in the winter of 2008 and had the builder come deal with it. Supposedly he did, but the spot came back.

Then H went up there and looked around and couldn't find anything.

Last weekend, my dad went up on the roof and saw some cracks in the caulking for the fireplace vent, so he re-caulked it "with the right stuff." We had high hopes, but the spot is back today.

Theories have been:
* condensation on the fireplace vent dripping down (unlikely - we almost never use the fireplace)
* A microcrack in the roofing that gets a tiny bit of water in it that expands when it freezes and lets more water in as the ice melts. (Possible, as it's almost always a freezing-weather issue. But we have looked and looked and caulked and caulked.)
* Existing water in the insulation or ceiling material that just keeps freezing and melting.
* The crack in the fireplace vent caulking (maybe Dad didn't fix it right?)

Have any of you had anything like this? Did you figure it out? Any other ideas of what we could be looking for?

I want to go up there and take all of the insulation out of that part of the ceiling and look around. I'm not sure we've done that yet - just sortof moved it around to see what was up.

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Re: elusive roof leak

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    I had something like this.  The culprit ended up being a crack in a built-in soap dish in the upstairs shower.  That was a wtf moment for sure.
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    DG1DG1 member
    5 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary First Comment
    HA! We had that same issue in the last house. It was a crack in the grout around that tile. So weird. H and I looked and looked and went over all of the pipes and everything. Then we realized it didn't leak when the shower was on, just when someone was actually in there taking a shower. FIL came over and pointed to the (tiny!) crack in about 3 seconds and said, "That's your problem."

    No upstairs shower here, though. It goes up into the attic.

    This is so freaking frustrating. I'm getting a little concerned about how much of the ceiling we're going to need to replace. Grrr.

    I'm not sure FIL has weighed in on this one, actually. Perhaps we need to ask him, seeing as how he was so good at this last time.

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    Call Holmes!
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    DG1DG1 member
    5 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary First Comment
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    Do you notice it more when it is windy, snow on the roof, rainy?  Or just year round allll the time?
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    Holmes on Homes yo.

    My parents actually had this. It turns out that during a bad wind storm, a shingle or something damaged the roof and it was letting water in. They don't have an attic though.
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    DG1DG1 member
    5 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary First Comment

    It seems like it's mostly when it's snowy or icy. But we can't be sure. I'm pretty confident it isn't all the time, because we've only noticed it a handful of times in 3.5 years. Seriously, if it were leaking with every storm as much as it has been this week, that part of the ceiling would have fallen in by now.

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    Holmes...  Now I have the theme song running through my head, lol.

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    *Barbie**Barbie* member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper First Comment
    edited January 2012
    You may have an ice damming issue. We had that problem with our house in Philly and had a lot of damage when we had back to back blizzards. May want to check whhere tje roof meets the gutter and start checking shingles. My boss said he had similar issues and emded up putting on some heat elements to keep the ice from refreezing.
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