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Roof Leak Or Condensation: How To Tell The Difference

Finding signs of water damage in your Grand Rapids, MI home is upsetting. You may fear you have a leaky roof, but another possible culprit is attic condensation. Diagnosing the cause can be tricky, because these two issues have many symptoms in common, such as:

  • Water drips/stains on the underside of the roof sheathing
  • Damp patches/stains on ceilings and walls
  • Wet attic insulation
  • Decayed framing members
  • Corroded metal materials
  • Mold growth/musty odors

Addressing leaks/condensation quickly is crucial to limit damage and costly interior repairs. The first step toward a solution is answering the question “is my roof leaking or is it condensation?” Here’s how to tell the difference.

Roof Leaks

Leaks are most often caused by damage or deterioration on the roof like:

  • Missing shingles or flashing torn off by high winds
  • Curled, lifted or broken shingles due to age and exposure
  • A hole in the roof from a fallen tree limb or wind-borne debris

Evidence of roof leaks typically shows up during or after a rain. Water intrusions from a damaged/aged roof also tend to worsen over time.

Attic Condensation

Condensation can mimic some of the harm caused by roof leaks. The key difference is the source of damaging moisture:

  • A leaking roof lets outside water enter your home
  • Condensation forms when humid indoor air encounters a cold surface

Some telltale signs of condensation develop during the cold winter months. Others appear when the temperature warms up and a thaw occurs. These distinctive signs can include:

  • Frost buildup on surfaces in the attic
  • Ice dam formation along the roof edge
  • Water beads on window panes
  • Water drips around ceiling fixtures or exhaust vents
  • Discolored spots on ceilings and walls

Identifying and Solving a Condensation Problem

Are you unsure whether you’re dealing with a roof leak or condensation? If so, it’s time to call a professional Grand Rapids, MI roofer. A pro can inspect your roof and attic to determine exactly what’s going on. They can also advise you about the measures needed to solve a condensation problem. These may include:

  • Increasing roof/soffit ventilation to improve airflow
  • Boosting attic insulation levels
  • Rerouting incorrectly-placed exhaust fan ducting
  • Sealing the attic to stop warm air leaks from the living space
  • Dehumidifying your home to remove excess moisture

If you have concerns about a roof leak or condensation problem in your Grand Rapids home, contact us today at Moore & Sons Roofing.