Visible shingles or tiles are part of a home’s roof. Between the shingles and the deck that sits on top of your ceiling is a layer called the underlayment. Rubberized asphalt, asphalt-saturated felt, and synthetic materials are common. The underlayment offers more protection from the wind, rain, and other elements. Any damage that affects both the roof and underlayment will create a leak. Knowing the signs of ceiling and roof water damage lets you know when to call a roofer and what to do next.


The signs you see will typically appear on the ceiling and in the corners of the highest rooms in your home. A slow or small leak often changes the color of the ceiling. If it has a coating of white paint or another lighter shade, you should see spots that are slightly yellow or brown. On darker surfaces, the discolored spots may appear deep brown or even black. Copper stains are also possible due to the water picking up debris from the roof.


As the leak grows, bubbles and cracks form. This is particularly common in homes that use latex paint because the paint stretches and expands before it breaks. The water comes through the ceiling and exerts pressure on the paint, which causes it to expand. More serious leaks can form bubbles that almost look like water balloons. Once the water dries, the paint loses some of its elasticity and tries to return to its original position. You’ll likely see cracks as the paint expands and contracts.

Ignoring a bubble in your ceiling is risky because it can – and will – pop. The ceiling can only expand so many times before the paint breaks apart. When this happens, water, roofing materials, and even debris will come through the spot where the ceiling collapsed. This leaves you with a gaping hole that makes you susceptible to the elements.

Bulging Drywall

Bulging drywall is another sign of water damage. Some bulges may indicate the house settled in recent years or the installer didn’t properly apply the joint compound. When an excess amount of water settles inside the walls, the drywall can also push out and bulge. Not only does this happen when a pipe bursts, but it can also happen when you have a roof leak. Pay special attention to any bulging you see around the corners of the room, especially near the ceiling.


Mold only needs 48 hours to grow in your home. The spores can come from almost anywhere outside and even adhere to your clothing, which allows you to bring them inside. Once the spores have the right mixture of humidity, water, and darkness, they will begin growing on the walls and other surfaces. A leak in your roof helps mold develop on and inside the ceiling. You’ll often see dark spots that look fuzzy and appear green or brown.

Other Signs of Roof Water Damage

Sweating is another sign of a leaky roof and/or water damage. In the same way beads of sweat run down your body, beads of moisture roll down your walls. The moisture trapped in the walls or ceiling comes together and moves through any spots it can escape. You’ll often notice small drips coming from the corners or the sides of the ceiling that slowly drip down the walls.

Water spots are equally common. They usually form before you see mold or discolored spots. Water spots are slightly darker than the paint or wallpaper. Swollen window and door frames and mildew are other signs of water damage to your roof.

What to Do About Water Damage

As soon as you see water damage, move as much from around the leak as possible. Avoid using electrical items near the leak as water and power do not mix. You may find it helpful to spend less time in the room, especially if you see any signs of mold. Mold spores can affect your breathing and especially harm those who already have breathing troubles. As soon as possible, call us and let us find the source and severity of your water damage.

Knowing what signs indicate water damage to your roof and/or ceiling is key to fixing the problem quickly before you need to replace the entire roof. We offer roofing repairs, replacements, and more! We can help you design a commercial or residential roof for a custom look. Call Clark's Gables Roofing when you see signs of water damage and live in or around Roseville, CA.

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