Like the old saying goes, “it’s the details that matter.” I recently saw an excellent example of this:
There were a couple of small stains on this ceiling. The area wasn’t wet when we were there for the inspection and there weren’t any visible signs of any real damage, so probably just an old stain. But, there wasn’t any plumbing above this area. It was a bump out from the main wall, so the only thing above it was some roofing.
Once I looked up on the roof, I noticed a detail missing. There should be a small piece of flashing, called ‘kick-out flashing’.
That flashing should be right at the point where the roof stops and the wall continues on. The purpose of this little piece is to divert, or ‘kick out’, the water coming down the trough where the roof and the ceiling meet, and direct that water into the gutter. Without that detail, water can run to the joint where the roof, wall, and gutter meet, and get in underneath the shingles. Once under the shingles, water runs its way down and in, ending up wetting and staining the interior ceiling.
Without destructive testing (ie, cutting a hole in the ceiling), we cannot determine the extent of any damage from the water. It could be minor, or not, but we know at least some amount of water has intruded.
Attention to detail when the roof was installed would have avoided this. It would only have been about two dollars worth of material and maybe ten minutes of work when the roof was being put on, but now there is a water problem.
Hurlbert Home Inspection