There’s a lot you can do yourself to prepare your roof for the onslaught of rain and wind. Here are a few steps that might give you some peace of mind this rainy season:
- Inspect your roof. It’s better to find out now if your roof can hold up during a storm—not once water marks appear on your ceiling. Climb up there (or ask someone who’s comfortable doing it to help you) and inspect every roof penetration: around the chimney, vents, skylights, walls, flashing, air conditioning elbows and stands, antennas and support wires, and satellite dishes. Patch cracks along the seams of rolled roofing and over holes pecked by birds in foam roofing. A tip: Make the fewest emergency roof repairs necessary to keep your home’s interior dry. Too many patches can mask the problem, causing the roofers more time—and costing you more money—to find the source of the leak when they arrive.
- Trim tree branches. Heavy branches hanging over your roof can break and slam so hard onto the house during a storm that they can damage a foam roof or asphalt shingles. Likewise, dead or rotting branches can snap off and fly into windows and siding.
- Look for worn-out shingles. A palm tree too close to the roof can brush against it often enough to wear away the tops of the shingles in its way. If you see patches of shingles that look black instead of the color they used to be, lay a tarp over the area. Use a tarp big enough to cover the damage and go all the way to the ridge and over it, so water can’t leak underneath the tarp. Anchor the tarp with something heavy. Do not drive any nails into your roof.
- Clean off the roof. Leaves, dead birds, branches and other debris can cause water to dam—and that can cause a leak.
- Install rain gutters and downspouts to divert water from heavy downpours away from your house. Connect the downspouts to underground drains that will carry the water toward the street.
- Install lighting rods. Lightning strikes are most likely to happen during monsoon season. Lighting protection—coupled with whole-house surge protection—will help save your home and electronic equipment from bolts of lightning.
- If water marks or bulges in your ceiling form during a storm and you can’t find a reputable roofer to help you out in a hurry, don’t be afraid to poke a hole in the ceiling with a pencil or a Phillips-head screwdriver to let the water drip into a bucket. Repairing that hole will be a lot easier than replacing your ceiling and cleaning up the floor if the water bursts through.