Roof Leaks

Homeowner stated that her roof leaks and needed to know what was the actual cause of the leaks for insurance reasons.

Home is 2 story built in 1992, roof is covered with wood shingles. Roof was inspected from the ground via binoculars, and from a second floor window.
As far I can be seen all flashing is in place, though rusty but not damaged.

90% of the water stains are to the ceilings of the main floor:
Kitchen, Dining Room, Garage which all share walls with eachother.
There are a few small stains (less than size of dollar) in the upstairs bedrooms, 1 long stain in the master bedroom.

We had rain yesterday, all areas tested dry today.

Staples for the shingles are backing out along the entire length or the ridge cap.
Some areas look like the shingles are begining to curl.
Stain in the master bedroom runs opposite of the rafters, parallel to the HVAC duct in the attic.

Stains for the first floor rooms can be seen on the drywall from the attic space over the garage.
There is no indication that the roof leaks in these areas. Rafters, Sheathing, still look new and without water stains.
Each water spot is centered to the ridge, and directly below a attic vent.
2 of the 3 spots have nesting material in the center consisting of straw, twigs, feathers.


  1. Is there a distance from the ridge that vents should be placed as these particular ones are just a few inches away?

  2. I hope that these areas are not urine however can that be a posibility? although the areas were stained the bedding was dry and nonclumped.

  3. Would the water be entering the ridge cap? Why does the underlayment wood not look damaged?

Any other thought or ideas would help greatly.

Picture #4 is an area that the roofers state has been fixed.

More Pictures

20 year-old wood shake? There’s your problem…

“Underlayment wood”? Do you mean the roof sheathing?

Wood shingles or shakes?
How is the underlayment installed?

There should be no fasteners visible in the field. If you see staples backing out in the field, they were probably installed to try to prevent curling. Curling is not a defect, is common, and will pull staples loose. Wood shakes/shingles fail by weathering- splitting in places that create inadequate sidelaps (1 1/2" min.), by erosion from runoff exposing underlayment, and from wind damage typically caused by loose fasteners.

If the underlayment (or if it’s shakes… interlayment) is installed correctly is shouldn’t leak.
Anywhere the roof changes direction or materials is more vulnerable to leakage, so yes, the ridge can leak. Considering the amount of damage to the ceiling, I’m surprised that you don’t see staining on the underside of the roof sheathing.

Roof Sheathing 7/8 staggard & Hclips
Wood Shingles

The ridgecap is riddled with staples, several areas across the roof have staples or nails some also backing out.

All of the upper downspouts discharge directly to the roof rather than being directed to the lower gutter.

Your last statement is what has me confused as to why I do not see any signs of where the water came in from.
If it were not for the condition of the wood shingles, based on the condition of the sheathing I would feel confident saying it looked like a new roof.

My final comment to the homeowner was that the ridgecap was showing signs of deterioration, staples used to secure the the ridgecap are backing out. due to the age of the roof should be considered for complete replacement.

The homeowner then informed me that I stated exactly what the Roofing company stated. The insurance company just wanted to hear it from a third party inspector.

It looks like a 4/12 with shakes to me but could be wrong.
First, wood shingles (shacks ) only on 7 /12 plus for me.
Total roof with grace–ice shield.
If there are staples (wow) is all I can say.thats a no no and was by a handy man.
No trades man would EVER go down that road to try to stop curling. Its natural for some shakes to culr. I will add only cheap shakes curl for number 1 ceder will not and are guaranteed to that effect if properly installed with proper venting and under lament…