Leak in Attic or Water Damage? Read This First!

Notice a leak in your attic? Suspect water damage? Uh oh. Apart from being a soggy mess, leaks can also cause dangerous structural damage to the ceiling and other parts of the house may cost a lot of money to fix, enable mold to grow, and more.

If you are wondering if you have a leak in your attic read this article first so you can know what to do.

Signs of Water Damage or a Leak in the Attic

Signs of water damage or a leak in the attic

Water damage is often easy to spot, but sometimes it can be less clear. Here are some signs that indicate you may have a leak.

  • Discolored attic ceiling
  • Stains on attic walls or floors (typically a light brown or yellow color)
  • Water dripping from ceiling
  • Corrosion and rust on pipes in attic
  • Mold growth
  • Stains around ceiling light fixtures outside of attic
  • Puddles of water on your roof
  • Missing or cracked roof shingles

If you experience any of the bullet points above it’s worth investigating further to see if you have water damage. Chances are, you might.

Causes of leaks in the attic

If after seeing some of the tell-tale signs you realize you do have water damage, the next step is to identify the cause of it. Leaks in the attic can come from a couple different sources, and remedy process can be different for each.


Damaged roof

The most common cause of leaky attics is damage to the roof. If you are dealing with leaks there is a big likelihood it is from the roof. Roof damage can be caused from a tree falling on your roof in a storm, old shingles falling apart, corroded flashing, or clogged gutters.

Anytime the slopes of your roof come together in a “v” shape it potentially allows water to pool up and sit. This is an area of the roof that can be more prone to water damage. Other weaker areas would be around skylights and chimneys, or areas of the roof where holes have been drilled for wires or pipes.

“Flashing” on a roof are thin pieces of metal underneath shingles- as a water resistant barrier. Over time the flashing can become corroded and crack in places, which allows water to seep through the roof. Inadequate draining systems in the roof can also make rainwater seep through the roof.

Attic condensation buildup

Attic condensation buildup

Another cause of water damage to your attic would be because of your HVAC unit. Many times these units are housed in the attic. They can break or fill the attic with moisture and condensation because of a clogged drain line, disconnected drain line, or pump issues.

While stains and drips are more visible in a roof leak, you can tell if it is the roof or the AC unit by the moisture in the air. If it is condensation in your attic there will be excess humidity or water vapor in your home. You may have water droplets on the inside of your windows.

If you can’t see any sure signs of roof damage, but your attic is full of moisture and your insulation is damp, you probably have condensation in the attic, which could lead to a leaky attic.

How to fix an attic leak

1. Clean up what you can

Woman cleaning up the attic

Now that you know where the leak is coming from, the next step is to stop it. If it’s condensation try turning off your HVAC unit. You may have to turn off your home’s water main. Place buckets and towels in the attic to catch the water under the places it’s leaking the most.

Remove any soggy belongings from the attic, and carefully try to clean up any pools of water or other messes in the attic. Look out for signs of mold, rotting wood, or wet insulation. It may be helpful to wear a headlamp so you can see and have your hands free.

One thing to note here is that water damage is typically not a great DIY project. There are a lot of variables involved, repairs needed to be made, and other potential  problems that can pop up. The water can weaken the structure of the walls and floor in your attic, so be careful.

Hiring someone to help with the repairs might be a safer and easier process.

2. Make repairs

Making repairs

The next step is to make the necessary repairs. The type of repair depends on each situation. You may need to fix a broken pipe, or replace shingles or flashing on your roof. You may need to replace your HVAC unit.

Make sure that your roof is clear of any leaves or branches, and get it inspected to make sure the gutters aren’t clogged and the shingles aren’t broken. Replace any broken ones.

3. Call a professional

Call a professional

In  many cases of water damage the best course of action would be to call a water damage restoration company. They can help you dry out the attic and repair any damage done. The sooner you fix the water damage the better, waiting can cause mold and other hazards to happen.

Mold in the attic

A leaky attic creates a perfect, damp environment for mold to grow. This is something you need to watch out for, as mold will thrive in the wet areas and attach on to insulation, wood, stored belongings, or wood.

If you have mold you should most definitely hire professional mold removal specialists. They are certified to remove the mold safely.

One more thing to watch out for is asbestos siding, which is a mineral fiber used in building a lot of houses built before 1980. The asbestos can be hazardous if the house is damaged and asbestos fumes go in the air. While a small attic leak doesn’t guarantee asbestos fumes getting in the air, this is still something to keep in mind, especially if the water damage is at a bigger scale.

How to prevent future leaks

One thing you can do to prevent future leaks is regularly getting your roof inspected. Make sure the gutter and drainage systems work, and check for any broken or missing shingles. Other things include inspecting your HVAC unit, check that nothing is blocking attic vents, install vapor barriers, and regularly air out your attic.

Or, call Gary

Calling Gary

You may have gotten to this part of the article and realized how expensive and time consuming water damage may be. Another option would be to reach out to Gary from garybuyshouses.com He can give you a cash offer for your home, leak and all, in 5 days or less.

Then you won’t have to worry about your leaky attic.


I was a part owner in an electrical contracting firm in the late 1990’s and started to get interested in real estate around 2001. My business partner and I bought our first rental property in 2002. From there we did several real estate transactions until we decided to close the electrical business and part ways. In 2009 I started Gary Buys Houses which is owned by my wife, Eileen, and I. I felt like I could offer one on one personal service to people that wanted to sell their house quickly or not worry about repairs and such. Today, I have built a reputation of being fair and honest with people no matter their situation, so the business continues to help people and be successful. I have been married for 34 years, and have one son, two step sons and 4 grandchildren. I like to travel and spend time in Southern Utah exploring. https://www.garybuyshouses.com/

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