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How to protect your home from flooding

shutterstock_205728397Every year thousands of homes across the UK fall victim to flooding. Not only does this have huge financial implications, it’s also very disruptive and naturally, losing your most valued possessions is heart-breaking.

It’s estimated that nearly six million properties in England and Wales are at risk from flooding. Although it’s impossible to completely flood-proof a house, there are a number of measures that can be put in place to prevent water getting in and limit the damage that’s caused.

Figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) estimate that protecting a property against shallow flash floods will cost in the region of £2,000 – £6,000. Although this may seem like a big expense, taking the necessary measures to protect your property will limit the distress and damage caused and allow you to return to your home more quickly.

Identify the most vulnerable parts of your home

There are a number of routes in which floodwater can enter a property. As well as coming in through doors and patios, water can find its way in through air bricks on exposed walls and through gaps in the floor. Another way is through drains and pipes as the pressure created by flooding can reverse the flow, causing water to back-up and enter through sinks, toilets and washing machines.

If any parts of your home are vulnerable, it’s a good idea to make the necessary repairs because this can prevent more extensive and expensive damages from occurring during a storm.

Flood resistance

Flood resistance is the act of preventing water from entering your home in the first place. Traditional methods of doing this include:

  • Sandbags can help to keep water out when used in conjunction with plastic sheeting. They can also prevent contaminated mud and silt from entering a property. This is normally only a short-term measure however because sandbags cannot protect against severe flooding as they do allow water to seep through.
  • Flood guards can be fitted when flooding is imminent. They can stop water from seeping in through gaps in external doors such as front and patio doors.
  • Covers can be fitted over ventilation bricks.
  • Make sure any cracks in your floorboards have been sealed up.

When buying any products you intend to use for flood resistance, make sure you buy goods which have been awarded with a BSI Kitemark. This means that they will have undergone a series of tests to ensure they’re fit for purpose. Anything that hasn’t been properly tested could still leave your home vulnerable to flood damage.


Flood resilience

Because it’s impossible to completely guarantee that flood water won’t enter your property, The Environment Agency has listed a number of ways to make your home more flood resilient. This will limit the damage and allow residents to return to their property quicker than they would be able to if they didn’t have these measures in place.

Ways you can make your house more flood resilient include:

  • Raise any electrical sockets to at least 1.5 metres (five feet) above floor level
  • Use water-resistant materials such as stainless steel, plastic or solid wood in kitchens and bathrooms
  • Use tiled flooring with rugs rather than fitted carpets
  • Fix televisions and other electrical entertainment devices to the wall at least 1.5 metres off the floor
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