Rain Tips for Los Angeles Homes

A house in the rain

Let’s explore rain tips for Los Angeles homes. What most of us love about living in Los Angeles is our warm sunny weather. Yet it does rain, and every few years, it rains significantly. However, most home builders do not take into account what will happen when it does rain. It doesn’t matter if your house was built over 100 years ago or if it was built last week, it’s likely the builder only took minimal steps to protect a house in a rain storm.

Tip 1: Install and Clean Gutters

The main purpose of gutters is to move water away from the foundation of your home. Most foundation problems are caused by excessive water collecting around the foundation. If your home does not have gutters, it is highly recommended that you have gutters installed. If you do have gutters, it is important that they be cleaned by a qualified person before it rains.

A rain gutter
Clean gutters regularly

Tip 2: Check Where Your Gutters Discharge

Once we have a functional gutter system, it is important to see where the gutters are discharging water to. If a downspout is simply discharging water at the base of the foundation, it is not solving the main purpose of gutters: to move water away from the foundation. You may need to install an extender so that water discharges and flows away from your foundation.

A gutter extender
A gutter extender

Tip 3: Check Your Yard Drains

Homeowners should check around their yards for any yard drains. These drains are important to carry excess water away from your yard and house and direct that water to the street. The issue with yard drains is we rarely need them, so we rarely know how well they are working. Over time they can accumulate dirt and debris and become clogged. Because you will not necessarily know a yard drain has become clogged, it is important to clear the drain lines as part of your annual home maintenance.

Tip 4: Check Where Your Hard Drains Discharge

A commonly held myth is that yard drains connect to your home’s sewer system. This is not the case. Yard drains direct water to either other parts of your yard, or out to the street. Check your yard for discharge points. Also, walk out to your street and look at the curb of your sidewalk for holes. These holes are where water discharges from your yard drain to the street. Make sure these holes and paths are clear of debris and any blockages.

A yard drain discharge hole at the curb of a sidewalk
A yard drain discharge hole at the curb of a sidewalk

Tip 5: Clean Window Weep Holes

Manufacturers of windows know they will eventually leak. Making a window that will absolutely not leak is near impossible. Modern window makers know this so they build in weep holes so that any water that does penetrate the window can drain out. Weep holes can become clogged by dirt and dust over time. A homeowner should check the weep holes. If one is clogged, one can usually clean out the weep hole with a bit of wire or compressed air. If you have older windows, such as wood-framed windows or aluminum single-pane windows, well, there is a reason they do not make those kinds of windows anymore.

Tip 6: Check The Sealant Around Windows

Windows should be inset in the home, or under an overhang, so that water can not get behind the windows. However, when new windows are installed in older homes this is often overlooked.  Instead, the windows were just inserted and sealed with caulking. The issue is in hot summer the caulking can dry out and crack. And when it finally does rain, water finds its way behind the window. Window caulking should be checked and re-sealed as necessary as part of annual maintenance.

Tip 7: Trim trees and vegetation

We previously wrote about the main 4 issues we see with landscaping. During a rainstorm, these problems can be exasperated. Leaves and branches from trees can clog gutters and drainage systems. Plants and planter beds up against the house can hold rain against the side of the home. We have seen water penetration on homes simply because the plants did not let an area of the home dry out after heavy rain.

Tip 8: Check the Roof

Start by inspecting your roof from the ground. Walk around the perimeter of your home and look up at the roofline. Look for any visible damage such as missing shingles, cracked tiles, or damaged flashing. If you notice any potential issues, have them addressed before the rain starts. The most common areas to leak are around the chimney, flashings, and other roof penetrations. Roof sealant, often called mastic, can wear out over time.  If you are unsure about the condition of your roof or if you notice any potential issues, it’s always best to hire a professional roofing contractor to inspect your roof. A professional will have the expertise and tools to identify any potential issues and perform necessary repairs.

Tip 9: Be Prepared For The Unexpected

Because heavy rains are so infrequent in Southern California, we may live in our for years before we get a truly heavy rain. Hence the best rain tip is to be prepared for the unexpected, such as a drain that suddenly clogs, or a tree branch that falls in to your gutter. It is important not only to be prepared ahead of a rainstorm but to check on our home’s components as it rains to make sure your drainage systems are working properly.