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Old 03-26-2017, 06:07 PM   #1
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How did this stain on my ceiling get there?


My wife was cleaning spider webs off the ceiling, and noticed what appears to be a water stain on the ceiling. I can't say how old it is because we seldom go upstairs, but it has to be fairly recent. We have lived here 5 years and the house is 10 years old; I don't think this has happened before.

I went around the house and examined the roof with binoculars. It looks fine. There are two attic accesses about 15' from the stain. It is hard to see the exact area because there are a bunch of truss parts in the way, but everything looks fine. There is 12" of loose insulation, so i wasn't inclinded to walk out there.
I removed the ceiling light next to the stain and the insulation felt dry.

The stain is directly below the ridge vent. Could enough rain have blown in through the ridge vent to do this through all the insulation?
That seems real unlikely, but I have no other explanation for it. There are no vents in the area, so the ridgevent would seem to be the only possible source of water.

Any help here would be much appreciated. I am not sure how upset to be about this.

My wife just reminded me that 2 years ago there was some snow in an unfinished room that came in though the ridge vent. 2 weeks ago we had 15" of snow with 35mph winds. Could that possibly have blown in enough snow to do it?
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Last edited by Toller; 03-26-2017 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 03-26-2017, 07:07 PM   #2
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Re: How did this stain on my ceiling get there?


We can only speculate what caused the stain. But a couple issues. One, snow should not be coming thru your ridge vent. There are built in baffles and mesh that prevents snow and bugs from coming thru. The mesh on some styles is thin and could have been torn. I would say further up close and personal inspection is in order. On some vents you can see the mesh from inside the attic. Posting some pic up close from inside and out might be help to identify.

Two, not likely the cause of your problem but the light can appears to be poorly air sealed. Lost heat into the attic from air leaks can be a contributing factor for ice dams on the roof. Pretty sure that is not your issue since the water stain is in the center of the attic and under the ridge. But is also a good indicator that the rest may be as poorly done.
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Old 03-26-2017, 07:16 PM   #3
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Re: How did this stain on my ceiling get there?


This is a typical roof vent. Notice the thin layer of mesh at the bottom. You should be able to see this from within the attic.
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Old 03-26-2017, 08:26 PM   #4
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Re: How did this stain on my ceiling get there?


Looking up at the vent from below, I just see plain polyethylene. There is no screen. Hopefully there is some kind of screen somewhere. Whatever it is, it is 10 years old.

Just last week I had a HVAC contractor come in for an energy audit. He said he could tell by the dirt on my soffits that my attic ventillation was good. For what that's worth.

The light cans are not sealed at all; the photo is about the same as the others I have looked at. But they do have 6" of loose insulation above them.
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Old 03-26-2017, 09:00 PM   #5
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Re: How did this stain on my ceiling get there?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Toller View Post
Looking up at the vent from below, I just see plain polyethylene. There is no screen. Hopefully there is some kind of screen somewhere. Whatever it is, it is 10 years old.

Just last week I had a HVAC contractor come in for an energy audit. He said he could tell by the dirt on my soffits that my attic ventillation was good. For what that's worth.

The light cans are not sealed at all; the photo is about the same as the others I have looked at. But they do have 6" of loose insulation above them.

Post up some pics
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Old 03-27-2017, 06:03 AM   #6
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Re: How did this stain on my ceiling get there?


You're likely going to get up there and trace it to where it is coming in. That is a very concentrated spot to be some snow flakes coming in.
In our last house we had a spot that appeared above a bathroom we seldom used, so no telling how long it had been there. Once I got into the attic I traced the water stains to their source. Two shingles met at a gap in the sheathing and a nail somehow went through that exact spot. It was coming in the nail hole, running down a rafter, hitting a knot and dripping down from there. Leaks often take a lot of tracing to place, it is never as easy as being directly above the stain.
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Old 03-27-2017, 07:10 AM   #7
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Re: How did this stain on my ceiling get there?


The answer is yes....wind can go in sideways through a ridgevent. You need to do some attic investigation.
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Old 03-27-2017, 11:55 AM   #8
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Re: How did this stain on my ceiling get there?


Enclosed are photos of the bottom of the vent, the side of the vent, and the end of the vent.




There are plastic ribs visible through binoculars, but I could get close enough to photograph them.

And a picture of the attic. The water was behind the 5th truss.


My wife recalls she was in the hall 2 weeks ago and is sure she would have notice the stain. Also, I replace batteries on a smoke detector 2' away and I should have notice it; so it must have happened in the last two weeks.
As I mentioned, the blizzard (15" snow, 35mph winds) was about 10 days ago, so it fits.
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Old 03-27-2017, 12:37 PM   #9
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Re: How did this stain on my ceiling get there?


I requested your thread be moved to the roofing area. You will get some ideas from very experienced roofers.

From the your photos, the attic shot is blurry and I can not tell if the mesh is in there, it does not appear to be. Its possible that this mfg doesn't use it, although I have never seen a ridge vent (this style) that did not have a mesh filter on the bottom.
Photo number 2, the edge of the vent in this section you are showing does not appear to be fasten well. Nails too short, or spaced to far possibly. But with the edges lifted, wind driven snow and rain could possibly be getting under the vent and into the attic. My guess is the mfg installation instructions were not followed.
Also the 2 ends butting together appear to be gaped, which could also allow infiltration from wind driven snow, and rain.


Pic 3, these vents have specific lines to cut on to be used at the roof ends that eliminate the apparent hole. I can see the rib back in there its just a little far back. Don't think that is causing any problems, just another sign of the skill level of the installers.

Last edited by Yodaman; 03-27-2017 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 03-27-2017, 01:04 PM   #10
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Re: How did this stain on my ceiling get there?


Yes, on photo 2 it is lifted. There is a gap like that above where the stain appeared.

1) the house is 10 years old. Is this something that is failing, or was it likely always like this.
2) did I get lucky for 10 years by not having enough water come in?
3) Can this be fixed? Do they have to be replaced?
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Old 03-27-2017, 03:43 PM   #11
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Re: How did this stain on my ceiling get there?


The ridge vent looks like its lifted in that pic, that could increase the chance of snow blowing in. If it's lifted it May not have been nailed properly or with too short of nails. Ridge vent should be hand nailed with 2.5" nails.
Looks like a good vent, I'm not a fan of the vents with the mesh attached, they can clog up.
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