Installing a Rain Diverter

Danny Lipford installing a rain diverter on a roof.
Danny Lipford installing a rain diverter on a roof.

Nothing is more annoying than having to walk through a waterfall coming off your roof to reach the front door every time it rains. Fortunately, there’s an easy and inexpensive solution to the problem.

Installing a Rain Diverter.

Rain diverters are available at building supply stores, but if you can’t find one, see our article on How to Make a Rain Diverter to see how you can make one from sheet metal yourself. They are easiest to install on asphalt roofing and consist of an “L” shaped piece of sheet metal that fits under the roofing above the entranceway.

Holding the rain diverter.

First, cut the diverter about a foot longer on each side than the area you want to keep dry.

Cutting the rain diverter.

Center the diverter over the area to be covered using a plumb bob or a string with a weight attached. Using a pry bar or putty knife, loosen the second row of shingles up from the edge of the roof where the diverter will be located.

Prying the shingles.

Slide the diverter under the shingles.

Placing the rain diverter under the shingles.

Slant the diverter so that one side is slightly lower than the other to allow for drainage. A drop of 1” is plenty for a 6′ diverter.

Slanting the rain diverter.

Carefully lift up the shingle tabs to keep from breaking them, and nail the diverter in place with roofing nails. Position the nails so they will be covered by the shingles and are a few inches up from the bottom edge of the overlapping shingles.

Nailing the rain diverter in place.

Dab roofing cement on the nail heads, under each shingle tab, and in any gaps between the shingles to keep water from getting underneath the diverter. Press the shingles down to seal them back in place.

Use roofing cement to seal the rain diverter.

That’s all there is to it. Now you won’t get soaked on the way to the mailbox when it rains. Be sure and clean behind the rain diverter from time to time to keep leaves and other debris from building up.

Further Information

62 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Danny,
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    Kindest regards,
    Rick Weinberg

  2. I have searched all local building supply
    companies for this type of rain diverter and have had no luck! Home Depot didn’t carry
    it either. Do you know if I can order them
    on-line?

  3. John,
    Rain diverters are available in the roofing departments of many home improvement stores and online from several suppliers including Amazon.com.
    In response to your question, we have posted an article on how to make a diverter yourself.

  4. BENDTEK – located on Cape Cod fabricates custom rain diverters from sheet copper. very attractive, I had a 10′ diverter fabricated, although it was a little more expensive than using drip edge. Web site available at http://www.bendtek.com and very responsive. They ship.

  5. Picked up my diverter at HD today. Just slid it under the shingles for now to see how it goes. Will remove it and paint to match the roof before suring up.

  6. Hello,

    I am looking for a company that sells a metal strip,30″ wide that can be attached near the bottom of the outside part of our door.I need a piece about 1″ with a 45degree angle i” that can divert water away from threshold and away from door. When we get hard rains water gets in the house on the hardword floor via the threshohd at the bottom of the door. My house is 4 yrs old in excellent shape and the threshold plate at the bottom of the door is very tight against bottom of door but water still gets in.

    Thanks

    Jim Ashley

    803-817-7830

  7. What’s the best way to install a diverter on a cedar shake roof? just work it under each individual shake and let friction hold it in place, or nail it down?

  8. Danny, I have two places on my roof that need a rain diverter but they are both where water runs together from two sides of the roof into “valleys,” and then off the roof just over doors. How/where do I find a diverter that’s angled to fit into these valleys? Thanks! Lucy

  9. Can the diverter be installed at lengths greater than 10 ft., or would this cause too much water to be held back and then overflow?

    • Hi Ed,
      I would not install a long diverter, since it not only might back up behind the roofing but would produce concentrated runoff that could damage your foundation. If you need a diverter that long, I would install gutters with downspouts to direct the runoff away from the house.

  10. Same story as the others….no rain diverter anywhere to be found in the Cleveland or Seven Springs area of Pittsburgh. I wish HD would stock what is being advertised on TV. Very frustrating…all anyone carries is drip edge and it’s a lighter gage and doesn’t hold up under ice/snow loads in winter.

  11. This is a diverter/gutter question, but first some context: Every year I get terrible ice dams. I have installed soffit vents in hopes of eliminating the ice dams, but if I don’t scrape the snow off with an ice rake within a day, the ice dams will form. I need to install some kind of diverter/gutter to prevent water damage to the front door area (already spent over $1000 fixing rotted wood). What do I do? Gutter? Diverter?

  12. Macbeth if i were you i’d install a metal roof and be done with it. i live in the U.P. of Michigan and that’s what kind of roof we have. the metal heats up when the sun is out and whooshhhhhhhhhhhh off all the snow comes.

  13. Does a rain diverter work well in Florida? My gutters keep filling up with tree debris. And even when clean – a hard rain will drive the water down the roof and over the gutter.

    • Hi Al,
      We’re in L.A. (lower Alabama), and rain diverters work great here. You may need to clean off any leaves and debris that build up behind it from time to time (pine straw is the worst) if the wind doesn’t do it for you, but diverters will require much less maintenance than gutters. You also might want to install gutter guards on your gutters. I put the inexpensive plastic ones on mine. They were easy to install and have worked great so far (1 year).

  14. Can a rain diverter be installed on a 1/12 pitch non-shingle roof? The roof is not tar or gravel, but a rolled out material that was heated.

    • Hi Kim,
      I wouldn’t reccommend it on a roof with a slope under about 3/12 since water would tend to back up behind it. Also, I wouldn’t want to cut into a membrane roof like you have to insert the diverter under it.

  15. Can you install a rain diverter on a metal roof using the same metal as the roof? Pls. advise. Our gutter guy says no problem but my boss and roofer are saying that this is never done. Thanks!

  16. I wonder if you could use say 4 10 footers properly placed to divert the water to any given corner of the house and have a catch basin to take the water? All one we need to do is make sure the pitch was right for say a 40 foot run no? And of coarse having a gutter / receptacle at the corner to receive the on coming water. No more long runs of guttering needed. Sweeet!

  17. Can you install a rain diverter onto a roof that has ‘architectural’ shingles? I can’t find a good ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to this. This is a roof that doesn’t have gutters, so it would be nice to put something up above an entryway.

  18. Great instructions for installing a rain diverter, which like others commenting here,are not easy to find in building supply stores. I went to a roofing company, drew them a little picture of the area I was trying to divert rain from and they fabricated one that matches the bronze windows and door facings in my home. The ones in stores were only aluminum, were ugly, and would have needed paint. Roofing company had several color selections. A 7 ft section was $15.

  19. Have you ever looked at the Barnetts Valley Controller, made for an inside corner, ot eliminates the need for a diverter. It lets the debris slide off and pulls the water into the gutter.

  20. I have water running off the side of my roof, as evidenced by the mud splashed up on the side of my house, and a water channel in my flower bed below. I need to prevent this problem as I do not want a wet basement. Can I install the rain diverter on the side of a roof, and if I do, how do I get the water back into the gutter? Is there some other method of keeping the water on the roof, and not falling down the side of my house?

  21. Previous owners built a ramp to the side of my front porch – right where the valley rain pours onto the ramp and splatters on the side of the house. Boards starting to rot from over-exposure to moisture. I am thinking of installing a rain diverter in the bottom of the valley to disperse the spout from the valley so it will drip over the edge instead of pouring in a big funnel onto the ramp. Any suggestions on how to install on in the bottom of a valley? It will have to be a right angle diverter.

  22. We just took down our gutters because during the winter the snow and ice built up and froze on the roof when it finally melted it took the gutters with it. Someone told me about somthing like this to divert the rain from dripping over the front door, we have a metal roof so there is no way of slidding it under any shingles, could we just screw it to the metal roof instead. Any help would greatly be appreciated very much. Thank you.

  23. Can I install a roof rain diverter on a tile roof as the tiles are flat? We do not get much rain in Nevada and I do not want to install gutters on the house.

    Thank you.

  24. I have a flat roof and the sides are cedar shingles. Can I attach the flashing to the cedar shingles where the water drips down? When it rains, I have to walk through a waterfall to get out of the house.

  25. I have two places on my roof that need a rain diverter but they are both where water runs together from two sides of the roof into “valleys,” and then off the roof just over doors. How/where do I find a diverter that’s angled to fit into these valleys? This question was asked by Lucy and I could not find the answer. Also, where can you purchase something like this?

  26. I have water running down the outside of my foundation and causing a leak in my basement. The water is running from the 2 ends of my slider door which makes me think it may be a siding issue. Any suggestions about how to fix or figure out what is causing it too leak. I am just sheet rocking my basement and have never noticed this leak before. I have had leaks in other areas so I have been watching. The door has been installed for about 18 years with never a problem that I have noticed before. Thanks

  27. My situation is that I have one of those patio cover kits with the frame and the canopy. Problem is it just fits the area where I have it, and the water comes off the canopy and right down my kitchen wall. It has come in the window sometimes, and last October my deck fell off my house along that wall where the boards had rotted from moisture (I think). Got fired last June and trying to figure out best way to fix that, fix the original problem that caused the issue in the first place. Any idea about how to divert rain so it won’t fall straight down the wall and rot the wood again? Also, have heard YellaWood is supposed to be treated to stand up the best against moisture, so was goint to replace with that. Any ideas? I had even thought about getting PVC pipe and cutting it long-ways to attach it to the bottom of the canopy, and drill holes in it to catch the water, and connect it with an elbow to a pipe going down to a rain diverter on the ground to direct it toward the yard. Just don’t want to reinvent the wheel if there is a product already out there.

  28. I have rain water that comes off to fast from the roof and runs right over the gutters. I am thinking a rain diverter would help help with this problem as it would let the water disperse into the rain gutter. How far back from the edge of the roof would I need to put the rain diverter?

  29. I have Cindy’s problem (11/7/2013) of overloaded valleys that shoot water over the eavestrough– in my case landing in torrents on the roofs of bay windows below. A roofer has attached sheet metal baffles to the front of the eavestrough , but the force of the water soon knocked these off.

  30. I have a house on stile and the rain come off my roof and hit my stair make my stair like a water fall cause water to go under my house on the slab then to my shop .So my question is dose this come in a L shape , and what i mean about a L shape i need it to start were the stair start and end along the side of the stairs , and this would be if though you where look strait down on my roof , and do you thank this is what i would need?

    • Arnold,
      Since a metal roof doesn’t have shingles to slip the diverter under, you would have to slide it under the bottom end of the roofing, which wouldn’t be very pleasing to look at. If you did do that, use the same kind of metal as the roof is made of.

  31. It has been a few years since i installed a rain diverter. I needed a re-fresher to jog my memory. This was simple and to the point.
    thanks

  32. I’m having problems with rain water splashing back onto my door threshold. I have a Gambrel type roof with architectural shingles. Would the diverter work?

  33. 3 GIG Innovation sells an inexpensive diverter made of carbon black polypropolene that fits any roof installs in seconds with no screws nails staples or glue. It will not clog will outlast your roof and is almost invisible. Can be found on 3 GIG website on Google.

  34. In a heavy rain the spouting from a part of the Upper Roof drains to another piece of spouting (which lies on the garage roof), and empties in to the garage spouting. There is a splash guard at the end of the spouting coming down to the garage spouting. The rain pours over the splash guard, and down to the foundation ! I feel an elbow directed from the spouting coming off the garage roof where the splash guard is directed out horizontally into the final garage spouting would solve my problem of over flow at the splash guard. Opinion?

  35. How well does this hold up in the winter? We live in New Hampshire. We need this above a door on the north side of the house, where it won’t get any sun to melt the ice/snow. I love your idea; it’s simple and inexpensive.

  36. We live in a condo with a clay tile roof and we have a wooden pergola with a patio sliding door underneath and the patio is cement. Where could we put a rain diverter? Just above the patio door or on top of the wooden pergola? I don’t think we are allowed to attach it to the clay tile roof. The siding is stucco. We have a wooden floor and the slider has a doggie door in it and with sudden fast rain in Southern California—in the past the rain water has gotten on the wooden floor. Sometimes we leave a towel up against it to absorb the water. We can’t leave the doggie door shut on rainy days because our dog does need to be able to get outside. Please advise.

  37. Re: the rain diverter, I am putting in gutters around my back porch area and have a dropped canopy over one garage access door which I can’t figure out how to either extend the gutter around or prevent rain from coming over it. Will I have to stop my gutter on both sides and just put a diverter on the shingle area above the door? I would love to gutter around but it would seem the rain would stay in the gutter that is at its low point over the doorway. I would appreciate any suggestions.

  38. Do rain diverters really work and would you use gutters with them. I am putting up an awning. Thanks so much! Debbie

  39. I have gutters but I also have huge amounts of water in my basement at the end that is under the back porch part of my basement. I do not have a sump pump. A diverter sounds good but it would not solve the run off going into the basement via the walk. I can reseal the wall again which connects with the outside walk but I decided to also put a gutter along that area to divert the water to the garden. A diverter might help but I have to do something about the overflow entering the basement at the wall.

  40. Can you paint the aluminum to blend in with the shingles? I have a direct line of site from my window to the roofing area

  41. Dormer roof’s valley is too close to edge of the roof causing rainwater to gush over the side of the house. How can I slow the water down? Thank you .

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  43. I am installing a free standing patio canopy as close to my brick back house as I can. However, there is still about an eight inch gap that allows you to get wet. I have thought about an awning running the length of the canopy and trying some form of deserter to solve it. HELP,

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