5. Know your flood resistance from your flood resilience
A combination of flood resistance measures (those designed to keep floodwater out, e.g. barriers, drain sealers and anti-flood air bricks) and resilience measures (those designed to reduce damage when water enters, e.g. as sump pumps, raised electrics and water-resistant building materials) offers the best way to protect your property and minimise recovery costs.
Flood resistance measures
Examples of products you can use to help minimise the risk of damage include:
- Doors: purpose-built flood-proof doors and flood barriers that can be installed in front of doors when flooding is imminent. Door thresholds can also be raised.
- Walls and floors: damp-proof bricks and wall and floor coverings. Sealing floors (‘tanking’) can prevent water from rising from the ground.
- Airbricks: buy specially designed covers that are easy to place over ventilation bricks.
- Drains and pipes: fit non-return valves to drains and water inlet and outlet pipes.
Think about things like who will operate any flood defence products, and whether they are physically capable of doing it.
Flood resilience measures
For bigger floods (when the floodwater is more than a metre high), it is important that water does enter your property. If it doesn’t, the pressure caused by its weight might inflict structural damage or even cause the building to collapse.
Here are some things you can do to reduce the damage floodwater might cause inside:
- Shelving: put irreplaceable or valuable items on high-mounted shelves.
- Home entertainment: fix any audio-visual equipment like TVs to the wall at least 1.5 metres above floor level.
- Skirting: fit water-resistant skirting boards or varnish them.
- Pump: fit a pump in a basement or under-floor void to remove floodwater.
- Walls: dry-line walls. Use horizontal plasterboard, or lime-based plaster instead of gypsum. Get a special draining system for cavity walls.
- Flooring: lay tiles with rugs rather than fitted carpets, as they can be rolled up and moved to a higher position.
- Doors and windows: install synthetic, waxed or varnished window frames and doors.
- Kitchen and bathroom: use water-resistant materials such as stainless steel, plastic or solid wood rather than chipboard. Where possible raise fridges and appliances on plinths.
- Electricals: raise electrical sockets, fuse boxes, controls and wiring to at least 1.5 metres above floor level. If rewiring, bring cables down the wall to the raised socket so that cabling isn’t affected.