Flooding is an increasing problem in the UK. With climate change and prolonged periods of wet weather, devastating floods in homes and businesses could become the norm in winter months.
Insurance can cover the financial cost of flooding but the emotional cost of your home being flooded is far more difficult to deal with. With this in mind, this article looks at the forms of home flood prevention and the steps you can take to protect your property.
Flood proofing measures can be taken at any time to help protect your property. From a practical point of view, it makes sense to put these measures in place whilst other work is being done.
If you are making property improvements, including flood protection products and measures at this time can make is less expensive.
If you do opt to make changes and add domestic flood barriers, consult with your insurer first. They may be able to recommend certain products or methods of flood protection and at the same time, your premiums could be reduced too.
Flood protection types
Protecting your home from flooding can be divided into types of protection:
I. Resistance – this helps to prevent flood water from getting in to your property such as flood barriers for homes
II. Resilience – this means limiting the damage caused by flood water should it get in to your property
How to protect your house from flooding will depend on the possibility of this happening. For example, properties that are on the coast, below sea level, close to rivers and streams will be more at risk of flooding that other properties.
There are also areas of the UK that are prone to flooding, such as rural communities nestled in deep valleys. Understanding the risk is important. Flooding can happen quickly, thus having flood resistance measures in place that can be activated quickly is essential.
Flood resistance measures include:
- Removable domestic flood barriers for use on gate ways, doors and windows
- Temporary seals for doors and air bricks
- Using one way valves on toilets and drainage pipes from wash basins etc. to prevent the risk of sewage and flood water from backing up into the property
- Pump systems in below ground level rooms that can pumps water out faster than it is rising
Other house flood protection measures that can be useful include:
- Special waterproof bags – a common sight on news reports from flooded areas – that can be used as a line of defence against flood water. Some of these bags can be large enough to protect a vehicle, and are great for using with furniture and so on.
- Move items upstairs – this is again a common sight in homes that are flooded, provided people have had time to do so. Moving valuable and sentimental possessions, such as ornaments, family photographs to upstairs rooms.
- Wooden pallets and bricks – some homeowners in flood-prone areas keep pallets and old bricks to hand too, as these can form a platform for lifting furniture off the ground, especially if the flood is low level.
Safety first! Some of these measures rely on you being there when flooding strikes but with flood waters rising quickly, it is imperative that your priority is your safety.
Deep water flooding
Having your home flooded is devastating and in the case of severe and deep flooding, the damage can be enormous.
So far in how to protect your home from flooding, we have concentrated on keeping the water out. In the case of severe floods, experts recommend that you allow the water into your home. This is because the pressure and weight of flood water pressing on outside walls can move the walls, causing them to collapse. Structural damage is costly and takes longer to repair.
When considering how to prevent flooding, you need to consider the interior of your property too. Replacing wooden floors with concrete, using a more water resistant plaster on walls such as lime or cement renders and using plastic skirting boards can help with the flood clear-up afterwards.