How to Flood-Proof Your Basement & Home

For renters and homeowners, flooding can be catastrophic and can even lead to the loss of valuables or even your home. This is why it’s important to take precautions before a flood occurs, because even when the rain has stopped and floors have dried, your home could be hiding dampness in areas that are not easily dried, leading to mold issues.

Luckily, there are a few simple (and not so simple) things you can do to protect your home and basement from flooding and water damage.

Where to Start

Evaluate Your Risk

The best place to start is by figuring out how high or low your flood risk is. You can do this by visiting Floodsmart, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) website, which uses FEMA’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps to deduce a communities base flood evaluation, flood zones and floodplain boundaries.

Note: Any home within 100 year floodplain (an area with 1% chance of flooding in any given year) is deemed “at risk.”

If you happen to be in the market for a new home, be sure to find out whether the property has ever experienced flooding. Though some states require this to be part of the real-estate records, it’s always best to ask. If you’re still unsure – ask the neighbors! They’ll be able to let you know if there’s been severe flooding in the area, especially if they’ve lived in the neighborhood for some time.

Buy Flood Insurance

If you live within that 100-year floodplain, then you know you need flood insurance and probably already have that covered. Those with federally backed mortgages with homes in flood zones are also required to be insured. What you may not know is that government assistance is almost never enough to cover the damages of a flooding disaster and standard policies don’t cover weather damage – make sure your covered for floods.

Note: Your homeowners insurance may not cover flood damage and FEMA assistance is only available when the President declares a disaster.

How to Flood-Proof Your Basement

Though it’s good to be informed, it’s best to be prepared. Here are a few easy ways to flood-proof your basement and some projects to help keep water out of your home.

Fix Leaks: As we’ve mentioned before, fixing leaks in your home and getting rid of any sources of moisture are of utmost importance because it can lead to mold and poor indoor air quality. Your basement or garden level apartment may be at risk a water can seep through cracks in the foundation or wood around the windows. Though a foundation problem may require professional help, you can seal windows with a simple caulk seal.

Install Backwater Valves: This is a huge lifesaver in the event of a municipal sewage backup that could bring contaminated water into your basement. You can prevent this by installing a backwater valve, which will close off the line if sewage begins to backup.

Note: These should be positioned so that water does not flow through other places in your basement (like sinks and toilets) and should always be accessible.

Use Downspout Extensions: Your gutters may be guiding water off your roof, but they may not be completely ensuring that water doesn’t sneak into the foundation directly surrounding your home. Prevent flood waters from seeping in by appending several feet of downspout extensions; simply attach them to the bottom of your downspouts.

Note: In many cases, simple splash bricks are enough to prevent water from soaking into the ground around your home.

Keep Your Gutters Clean: It’s really easy to forget they’re there! However, if your gutters are clogged – a downspout won’t help much as runoff water will simply pour over the sides of your home and along the perimeter of your basement.

Note: It is recommended to clean debris from your gutters at least twice a year. Once the debris is cleared, run a hose through them to make sure the downspouts are cleared too!

Add a Waterproof Veneer to Exterior Walls: Do a little more to protect the interior of your home from shallow flooding, add a waterproof veneer to your home’s exterior. This can consist of a layer of brick backed by a layer of waterproof membrane.

Additionally, make these changes to your interior walls as well. It is recommended to replace insulation with washable, closed-cell foam insulation below the flood level.

Note: Wood blocking added to the wall cavity should of exterior grade quality.

Raise Appliances, Electronics and HVAC Systems: Utilities, heaters, AC units and other HVAC systems are typically found in the lowest levels of your home and are particularly susceptible to flood damage. You can either find a way to bring them to the upper levels of your home or raise them by using platforms – this will help diminish the damage caused by severe flooding as you will have less to fix or replace.

How to Flood-Proof Your Home

Severe flooding is a nightmare on your basement, but flooding in your home is a flat out catastrophe that could lead to the loss of beloved items and dangerous situations. Here are a few quick and easy things you can do to protect your home from flooding.

Cheap & Easy

Shelving: Use high shelving to protect valuables that need to be on the floor or plugged into walls.

Raise Your Appliances: Protect the mechanics of your appliances by keeping them dry. You can either move them off the ground or raise them on plinths – same goes for all entertainment systems.

Protect Your Valuables: Always keep important paperwork, photos, and sentimental items in sealed bags. For valuable such as appliances and sofas, you can purchase large sealable bags!

More You Can Do

  • Move electrical sockets up to above the flood line.
  • Replace wooden floors and carpeting with more water-resistant or resilient flooring.
  • Quick release internal doors that can be removed to prevent the doors from absorbing moisture.
  • Or raise your doors above the flood level.
  • Protect your doors and windows. If you don’t have the time to fit flood resistant windows and doors, you can quickly fit floorboards.

If you are currently experiences flooding or water damage issues and need an expert hand, we’ve got you covered – give us a call today for your free estimate!

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