A rain diverter is an inexpensive, easy-to-install solution that prevents water from cascading off your roof onto your front door or walkway. It’s an affordable luxury that helps keep you and your family dry and comfortable on rainy days.

    Installing a rain diverter is a simple DIY project that you can complete in an hour or two. It doesn’t take fancy tools or equipment, and most homeowners should already have everything they need around the house. Here’s how to do it.

    Why Install a Rain Diverter?

    Nothing is more annoying than walking through a waterfall coming off your roof to reach the front door every time it rains. A heavy downpour can create miniature rivers streaming from your home’s roof and gutters. This flooding can block your entryway and can damage landscaping features, outdoor furniture, and masonry. Without a rain diverter, you may find yourself soaked trying to access your front door during a downpour.

    A rain diverter solves this problem by redirecting the water to areas of your property away from the entrance. This keeps your doorway and walkway high and dry so you, your family, and your guests can come and go without an unwanted shower.

    How Do Rain Diverters Work?

    Rain diverters interrupt water flow from your home’s roof edge and gutter system. They’re L-shaped pieces of sheet metal on the roof above doors or other heavily trafficked areas.

    rain roof

    As rain flows down your roof, it will hit the vertically oriented part of the L and redirect horizontally away from the covered area instead of pouring straight off the roof in front of your door. Instead, the water will flow out to the side, where it can dispense onto lower-traffic zones like landscaping or patios.

    Benefits of Installing a Rain Diverter

    Installing a rain diverter offers many advantages:

    • Keeps doorways and walkways dry during rain showers so you don’t get soaked when accessing your home.
    • Prevents damage to outdoor furniture, pots, or other items near your home’s entrance.
    • Protects masonry and siding from constantly being drenched in storm runoff.
    • Improves safety by stopping puddles from pooling on pathways, steps, or porches.
    • They’re simple to install if you’re comfortable doing basic roof work.
    • They cost less than more complex gutter solutions.

    Where to Buy Rain Diverters

    You can buy a rain diverter at most home improvement stores and roofing supply retailers. Find them alongside other roofing accessories and gutter products.

    The diverters consist of a single piece of sheet metal bent into an L shape. The most common materials are aluminum, galvanized steel, and copper. Aluminum versions are lightweight and inexpensive but may dent easily. Galvanized steel diverters are sturdy and long-lasting. Copper diverters are the most attractive option but also the most expensive.

    Today’s Homeowner Tips

    When purchasing your diverter, you’ll need to select the appropriate width to cover the area that needs protection. Common sizes range from 2 feet up to 8 feet wide. Opt for a width that extends at least 1 foot past the edges of your doorway, walkway, or other entry point. This ensures full coverage.

    Extra handy homeowners may want to try making a rain diverter at home, a DIY alternative to buying one. 

    How to Install a Rain Diverter

    Installing a rain diverter is straightforward if you’re comfortable doing basic roof work. Here are the key steps:

    Decide where you want the rain diverter, like over a door or patio walkway, and then mark where you want it for easy centering during installation.

    You’ll need to create space under the roofing material to slide in the diverter. Carefully pry up the second row of shingles from the roof’s edge using a pry bar or putty knife. Take care not to damage the shingles. Only lift enough to allow the diverter to slide under.

    With the roofing lifted, slide the rain diverter into place so it sits flush against the roof or the top of your fascia board. Center it over your markings.

    The vertical part of the L shape should sit just behind the roof edge, while the bottom horizontal portion extends up the slope of the roof and under the shingles. 

    Ensure the rain diverter is properly positioned before nailing it securely into place. Angle one side slightly lower than the other so water runs off the tilted surface. A difference of around 1 inch is ideal for most installations.

    Use roofing nails to anchor the diverter to the roof deck material. Keep nails close to the top (near the underside of the shingles) so they’ll be hidden once you compress them back down. 

    Finish up by using roofing sealant on top of all nail heads and seams. Apply dabs of sealant anywhere the diverter meets the shingles to prevent water ingress.

    Once you apply the sealant, run a bead of sealant along the underside of the shingles and press them back down into their original positions so they overlap the diverter. Give the cement adequate time to set before exposing the area to rain.

    Maintenance Tips

    Do periodic checks of your rain diverter to ensure it remains securely fastened and effective at diverting water away from high-traffic zones. Reapply sealant if you notice any gaps or cracks.

    It’s also smart to remove any leaves, sticks, or other debris from the diverter whenever you clean your gutters. This prevents clogs that could impede proper drainage.

    So, Is Installing a Rain Diverter Worth It?

    If heavy rainstorms constantly flood your home’s entryways, investing in an inexpensive rain diverter can solve the problem. For a few hours of work, you can save yourself from repeatedly dealing with soaked steps, flooding, and other nuisance issues every time it pours. The minimal up-front cost makes this a cheap and easy solution.

    Hiring a professional to install a diverter may cost $200 or more. But buying one for around $30 and doing the work yourself offers significant savings. Since it’s a straightforward, beginner-friendly roofing task, you can likely handle it yourself with proper precautions.

    FAQs About Installing Rain Diverters

    How do I determine what size rain diverter I need?

    Measure the width of the area you want to protect and add at least 12 inches on each side. For example, if your front steps are 4 feet wide, get a 6-foot diverter. This ensures you have sufficient overlap and coverage.

    What roofing materials work with rain diverters?

    Rain diverters are designed for asphalt composite shingle roofs. They can also work on slate, tile, metal, and flat roofing but may require customization.

    Should I paint my rain diverter?

    You can paint the diverter to match your roof shingles or home’s exterior color scheme. Use exterior grade rustproof spray paint designed specifically for metal. Just be sure to paint before installing the diverter.

    How often will I need to replace my rain diverter?

    With proper installation and occasional maintenance, a rain diverter should last around ten years or more before needing replacement. Harsher climates and extreme weather may shorten the life span.

    Can I install diverters myself on a two-story roof?

    DIYers shouldn’t work on a roof above a single story — it’s not safe. Consider hiring a professional roofer to install your high-up diverters.

    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Doug Sluga

    Doug Sluga

    Doug Sluga is a professional roofer and carpenter with ten years of experience in residential and commercial construction. His expertise spans the breadth of the roofing trade from minor repairs to laying shingles to framing trusses. These days he spends most of his time writing about roofing and the roofing industry.

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    photo of Lori Zaino

    Lori Zaino

    Lori Zaino is a freelance writer and editor based in Madrid, Spain. With nearly two decades of editorial experience, she’s written and edited for publications like Forbes, CNN, Insider, NBC, Newsweek, The Points Guy, The Infatuation, and many others. Having just completed her first home renovation, she’s more interested in home improvements than ever, dedicated to bringing you fresh and accurate content to help you update your living spaces.

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