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Protect your home from rain damage

Updated April 6, 2020

Cerritos homeowners can stay warm and dry during the coming rainy season by taking a few steps to prepare their homes.


A good drainage system can help prevent water damage and pooling on your property on rainy days. Sweep leaves and branches from your roof drains, gutter and down spouts to prevent blockage, and check any drains around your landscaping and patio areas. Make sure your lot drainage is directed away from your house and to the street, not at your neighbor's property.

Swimming pools and sprinklers

Reduce the chance of your swimming pool overflowing by lowering your water level. Any pool service company can tell you how this is done properly. Chemically treated water that overflows from your pool during heavy rains can flood your home and damage landscaping.

If you have an automatic sprinkler system, remember to turn it off when rain is forecast. If the ground is already saturated with rain, water from your sprinklers would simply flow straight to the gutter and storm drains.


Check the trees in your front and back yards for dead or rotting branches that may fall during a storm. Also, remove any tree limbs that have the potential to bend or blow into your roof.


Many homeowners have been alarmed by predictions of a rough, wet winter. But don't let news reports scare you into replacing your roof unnecessarily. In general, an old roof needs to be replaced when it leaks and shows obvious, overall deterioration.

On wood roofs, the shingles will have curled, with some blown off by wind. On composition roofs, aging causes the roof to lose its granules. If you have a flat roof, be sure to climb up on a ladder to check it. Old flat roofs will appear deteriorated.

If you do decide to replace your roof, you or your roofer must obtain approval from the City's Planning Division and Building and Safety Division before work begins.

Certain types of wood-shake materials that have achieved a Class A fire rating are allowed in Cerritos.

Residents building a new home or replacing more than 40 percent of an existing roof may now choose chemically treated fire retardant wood-shake or shingle systems that will resist fire for the life of the roofing material. The material must be rated as Class A by the International Conference of Building Officials.

Other permitted materials include heavy-butted asphalt shingles (also known as "dimensional" fiberglass shingles), synthetic tile, concrete tile, clay tile or metal-coated material which simulates the appearance of clay or concrete. All materials are required to have a minimum Class-C fire retardant rating and a minimum 30-year warranty.

Before beginning any re-roofing project or hiring a roofer, residents should stop by the Community Development counter on City Hall's second floor to obtain an application for their project. A roofing application form is also available on the City's website. The resident must sign the application and give it to his roofing contractor. The roofing contractor must bring the signed application to City Hall when he pulls a required roofing permit. The permit must be obtained by the contractor before any work begins.

Residents should also beware of door-to-door salespeople offering "tune ups" for wood shake roofs. The scam artists simply spray oil on the roof to make it look good, until the very next rain washes it away. The oil does not protect or restore the roof in any way.

For more information on roofing in Cerritos, call the Building and Safety Division at (562) 916-1209.

Obtain approval and a permit

As a reminder, when planning any major home improvement projects, Cerritos residents are required to obtain City approval and a building permit. For more information, call the Building and Safety Division at (562) 916-1209. You can also download a copy of "What You Should Know Before You Hire a Contractor," a free booklet that offers hundreds of tips for choosing a reputable roofer, at

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