Flooding can cause substantial damage to property but there are steps you can take to safeguard your home or business premises.
There’s little point in waiting for the next flood event to strike before taking action – now is the time to get to work.
It’s always best to hire a professional to do the job but when deciding to tackle the issue of flood defence there are several key actions to take. Some are less expensive than others but none are as costly as the damage that can occur when no action is taken to protect your property.
Although it is impossible to make your home impermeable to water ingress you can make your property flood resistant or - in more high risk areas - flood resilient.
Flood resistance or dry-proofing is the first line of defence against flooding as it stops water entering a building. Flood resilience or wet-proofing, accepts that water will enter a building, but includes steps to minimise damage.
Here are some steps to protect your home from floodwater.
Flood defence - Simple steps for resistance
Fit non-return valves on drains and pipes. Around half of all flood claims are due to the back-fill of sewerage pipes, with foul water entering homes via the toilet bowl. Irish flood protection company Watertight International is one which has developed a simple and relatively low-priced solution that can be simply pushed on to existing pipework. The valves can be fitted in minutes and do not require any specialist expertise or equipment. Non-return valves can be fitted above or below ground to protect from back-fill.
Water barriers or sandbags
Water barriers can keep the water out and may be basic sandbags or much more technologically advanced demountable barriers. The traditional option of employing sandbags is effective and relatively inexpensive but can be labour intensive. Water barriers are more expensive but are available in a range of sizes to cover all openings. Demountable flood barriers are available for doors, windows, airbricks, garage doors, patio doors, bay windows, meter housings (Utility meters, cable TV/satellite boxes. Being demountable they are invisible until you actually need them, the only downside is that you are reliant on a good early flood warning system in order to have them in place before the water rises.
Seal the walls
Walls are often surprisingly porous and it’s important seal them adequately. Inadequately installed cables and pipes can leave your home at risk of flooding where you least expect it.
Flood defence - Simple steps for resilience
Fit water resistant skirting boards. If that level of spending is not a viable option then varnishing existing wooden skirting will increase protection.
Raised kitchen units
Kitchen units can be raised to protect against water ingress. Mounting high shelves for storage of valuable items is also a good idea. Chipboard and MDF units do not respond well to water. Materials such as plastic, solid wood and some metals will absorb much less water and require less drying out.
Household appliances can be raised on plinths. Televisions and sound systems can be mounted on walls.
Electrical sockets can be elevated high on the wall. When they are moved to a height of about 1.5m they are much less likely to be damaged by flooding.
Tiles not wood
Concrete floors with damp-proofing and ceramic tiles are much more resilient than wooden floorboards. It’s important to take care to seal around the meeting point of the floors and walls.
Redirect the water
Landscaping outdoors around your home with flood defence in mind can divert water away from your property.