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How to Protect Your Portland Home From Heavy Rain

prepare your home for rain
Here in the Portland area, it’s easy to get used to what many Oregonians call the “Portland mist” — light drizzle that doesn’t let up. Unfortunately, we also get at least a few heavy rainstorms a year.

Remember that storm in October 2016? There was a typhoon in Manzanita, power outages throughout Oregon and Washington, and serious property damage in Washington County and other areas.

Today, let’s look at what you can do to protect your home and your family before our next big storm.

Know When Heavy Rain Is Likely to Hit

Rule #1 is to be prepared. Be aware of when heavy rain is most likely in your area. Our rainy season in the Portland area extends from October through May, with the majority of the rain in November through March.

portland climate

Now let’s look at specific steps you can take to prepare your property for heavy rain.

The Roof

Your roof is your first line of defense against heavy rain. A strong roof can mean the difference between serious damage and no damage at all. Here’s what you can do:

Take a Look at Your Roof from the Ground

Climbing up on your roof on your own is too risky to be worth it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep an eye on it from the ground. Walk around the outside of your house and look for:

  • Cracked or missing shingles
  • Curling shingles
  • Moss and other debris on your roof
  • Any places where water could pool (standing water can soak into your roof and cause leaks and mildew issues)

roof inspection

Check your ceilings under your roof too. If you see sagging or discoloration, your roof may be damaged. If you have an attic, check up there for signs of water damage, including dampness, mold and mildew.

Get Your Roof Inspected

The absolute best way to make sure your roof is in good shape is to get a professional roof inspection. It’s also one of the best ways to avoid a costly roof replacement in the future. Our roof experts can spot potential problems before they cause damage to the rest of your home.

If you’re interested in a free roof inspection, email us or call (503) 537-0158 to learn more.

Your Home’s Exterior

In addition to your roof, heavy rain can be hard on other parts of your home’s exterior too. This checklist will help you make sure your home is prepared.

Keep Your Gutters Clean

gutter cleaning

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have plenty of trees that provide shade and purify the air. Unfortunately, leaves, twigs, and other falling debris can accumulate in your gutters. You may not even notice until it rains and your gutters start overflowing.

If you don’t keep your gutters clean, rain water starts to accumulate in the gutters and on your roof, which can eventually lead to mold growth and even a leaky roof!

You want to make sure your downspouts are clean too. If your gutter’s downspouts are clogged or don’t drain at least 6-10 feet away from your house, you could end up with water in your basement or damage to the foundation of your house.

Clean your gutters and downspouts safely and efficiently by following these guidelines:

  • Use a sturdy ladder with a “stabilizer” or “standoff.”
  • Wear work gloves and eye protection.
  • Collect debris in a bag or bin to be composted. Debris on the ground can attract insects.
  • Seal any leaks you find with a high-quality sealant.
  • Look for mold and spray any you find with a mixture of bleach and water.
  • For your safety, have someone come outside with you. If you ever feel unstable or unsafe, stop. It’s not worth the risk.

Check Your Home’s Foundation

The foundation is one of the most common places water gets into homes. Walk around your house and look closely for gaps, cracks, or any other signs of damage. This is especially important during cold months when even small cracks can expand when they fill with ice.

Have any cracks and gaps you see filled with caulk. If you see any serious structural damage to your foundation, call an expert right away.

Examine Every Entry Point to Your Home

portland roofing

Check windows, doors, skylights, the fireplace, and anywhere else that links the inside to the outside.

If you see any gaps, cracks, or other damage, your home could be vulnerable during the next rainstorm. Making sure your home is safe and sealed off from the elements can even save you money on your next heating bill.

Tip: Check these areas from the outside and inside of your home whenever you can do so safely.

Your Yard

The rest of your property can also be damaged and can cause damage to your home. The most obvious risk is large trees.

Have Large Trees Looked At

fivecoat roofing portland

Do you have big trees on your property with branches that hang over or near your home? Big trees are beautiful, help keep you cool in the summer, and can add value to your property. Unfortunately, rain can add a lot of weight to tree branches, and wind can apply a huge amount of force.

To protect your home (and maybe even your neighbors’) from heavy rain, get your tree trimmed regularly. If you haven’t already done so, you might also want to have an arborist examine your big trees to make sure they’re healthy and not in danger of falling.

Secure Any Loose Items in Your Yard

Do you have gardening tools, outdoor furniture, a trampoline, or other items that could be tossed around by strong wind? If you can, stash items like these in your shed or basement during bad weather.

If your home has a fence, fortify any loose fence panels and double check the gate to make sure it latches properly.

Stay Safe

Once your home has been thoroughly storm-proofed, you’ll be able to enjoy the next heavy rain in comfort and safety with a hot drink.

If you have any roof-related concerns, or you’re interested in a free, no-obligation roof inspection, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Fivecoat Roofing.

Photo credits: Sheila Sund, Eric Schmuttenmaer