The Difference Between Stains and Leaks

Water damage to your roof can be such a troubling and inconvenient thing to face. Sometimes, you will find markings that can be a sign of damage. Other times, however, it can be just a false alarm. How will you know if the mark on your roof is a just a stain or already a leak?

A leak or busted water is a tell-tale sign that you have water damage in your home, although in some cases, it can be very difficult to detect. There can be times in which the damage is hidden behind your roof or house exterior. If you are lucky, those signs will be visible and easy to spot. You will then be able to patch it up at once.

One clear indicator is if you find discoloration on your ceiling. This discoloration may be a sign of a leak, but it may also just be an old stain.


Stains can appear yellow, brown, or copper in color. This discoloration may be an indication of a water leak. However, it may also be just that – a stain.

If there is no moisture or manifestations of water damage anywhere near the stain, then it may be nothing to worry about. Nonetheless, stains may sometimes be moist when caused by mold growth. Although brought about by moisture or humidity, this does not necessarily mean it is from a leak.


The most obvious sign that the marking is a leak if it is wet or moist to the touch, is warping, or is sagging, or if you see actual leaking from that spot. If there is accumulated water, then that water must be coming from a leak.

Another sign would be if you smell and odor coming from the discoloration. However, it may still be a leak even though you do not feel any moisture or there aren’t any apparent indicators. It may be very early signs of a leak or a very small one. It could also be that the main damage is in a different area and the discoloration you see is just a small part of a big problem.

If this is the case, check the surrounding walls or structures. If the walls or ceilings have started to change in texture, paint is peeling off, or if there is a very obvious leek nearby, having it checked is your best option. It is better to be safe than sorry.

This leak can come from a damaged pipe within your exteriors, or from malfunctioning ventilation or air conditioning.

Contact your roofing contractor right away for signs of damage on your roof to avoid hassle.

Written by True Son Exteriors, the best contractor for roofing in Columbia, MO.