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Question DetailsAsked on 4/3/2017

The sheetrock is turning yellow along the seam above my bed above my bed is attic space is the roof leaking?

Is my roof leaking and the water turning my sheetrock yellow

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2 Answers


Sounds possible. Other common causes listed below which may or may not apply in your case - if you are able to get into the attic (or possibly reach in from eaves from a ladder if stain is against outer wall):

1) leaking pipe or vent duct pipe opening or vent hood on roof - though normally this would come out at the fan, but not always - sometimes it runs down the bottom of a rafter or the underside of the roof sheathing and drops off at the outer wall when it hits blocking or bug screening or such, getting into the top of the wall there

2) leaking attic air conditioner condensate pan or drain

3) leaking attic water piping, including water heater, if you have piping in the attic

4) if it has been quite cold, condensation in a fan duct which frosted up, and is now melting and draining down to the ceiling - usually comes out at fan but as in 1) and 5) can end up elsewhere

5) if it has been quite cold for an extended period of time, frosting in the attic which is now melting and wetting the insulation, and coming through the ceiling drywall or draining on top of ceiling vapor barrier to a low point in the ceiling and pooling there, then coming in through first vapor barrier hole or gap it comes to. More commonly comes in at center of room (usually thelow ceiling point) but in some cases, especially with sloping ceilings, can run to the outer walls and penetrate gaps in the vapor barrier there

6) if it has been quite cold, moisture from the household air (and your breathing at night) has been condensing on the cold outer wall (if on outer wall) or sometimes even at the top of interior walls which are getting very cold because they are exposed in the attic, causing moisture damage at the condensation points. Generally, unless room is kept quite cool (say below 60) you will not get this on interior walls - can occur at normal room temps (especially behind drapes or curtains) on exterior walls especially if outside temp is below say 10 degrees to zero for an extended period - days or weeks, not hours. Almost always, if the interior surface is cold enough to do this, you will have been experiencing significant window condensation and maybe bottom of window icing.

7) mostly in the Florida and far southwast US area but also across the Gulf Coast, during about 2001-2009 (especially 2004-2008) a lot of chinese drywall was imported following hurricanes, which had excessive sulfur compounds in it. After contact with moisture, this produced sulfuric acid, causing yellowing/oranging as well as corrosion issues in plumbing, electrical, and structural fasteners. With this product, a wet litmus paper test will show acidic conditions - also normally when wetted it smells sulfurous, and tends to occur in blotchy or irregular patches

8) if forming on a drywall tape seam - which could be vertical or horizontal, and it has been either pretty cold (probably well in freezing temps) outside or very humid outside, could be that there is not drywall compound filling the joint, so the paper is basically all that is making the joint, and cold air or humid air is getting in from behind and water staining the joint tape.

9) if forming at a single point high on a wall, fanning out from there but not a large area, could be a penetration into the attic (commonly electrical run) where the hole through the top plate was not sealed, and the insulation in the wall is not stopping cold air flow. Most commonly occurs in stud bays over outlets (which provides an airflow path). Can be a small arc-shaped or blob-shaped area to top of wall, or if there is good ventilation (especially if insulation in the wall has sagged leaving a gap at the top) can occur as a vertical stripe on the wall from condensation over the airflow passage, or as a semi-rectangular area typically single stud-bay width (commonly 14-1/2 wide roughly) at the top of the wall as the void area left by the settled insulation cools down.

Dangerous to generalize too much, but what the heck - I feel dangerous today. Generally speaking, if forming as a band along the top of the wall, I would be suspecting condensation on the wall from very cold wall or cold air getting in through a top plate penetration. If forming as an irregular but generally arced or blog shape with a "center" at the top of the wall or on the ceiling, I would suspect water or very cold air leakage from above. If forming as two arcs or half-rounds, one on ceiling and one adjacent on wall (which is usually the larger) I would suspect water running on top of the vapor barrier to the edge of the wall where it is then leaking through the vapor barrier seam. If wall is generally turning yellowish or orangish, not just at the top of the wall and not just in an isolated space, I would suspect either bad paint (being affected by condensation from the room) or sulfurous drywall. If forming on a vertical joint seam, condensation or high humidity from a gap in the drywall board without drywall compound filling it.

Also another VERY rough generalism - if it has an orangish or dark rim around the outside edge of the stain, I would guess leakage from above. If no signfiicant rimage then could be interior condensation, or bad paint or drywall issue.

In many cases, you have to track it by opening small holes in the wall to look/feel what is going on in there, or by non-destructively using an infrared camera (insulation and home energy efficiency and some home inspector contractors have them, also rentable for about $45/half day or $80-90/day from Home Depot, tool rental places, some auto parts stores.) Also, many newer smart phones, tablets, laptops with digital cameras and of course digital cameras can have the settings on the camera retuned to bias toward the near-infrared, which will give a pseudo infrared view - shows major wet or much warmer/colder areas in walls, but not a pin-point or well defined as a true infrared camera - but if you have one worth an initial try. (Most or all newer Apple 'i" devices have this recalibration ability built-in in the camera settings, other brands you may need to buy a $5-10 App to do it. Be sure to note the settings you start with so you can reset back to normal afterwards.)

Also - here is a link to a similar previous question with a number of answers FYI -

Answered 3 years ago by LCD



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Answered 3 years ago by Member Services

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