Flooding is a terrible force of nature, but unfortunately it appears to be getting more and more common in the UK. Victims of flooding undergo both physical and mental strain as they become homeless and lose many of their most valued possessions. In this guide we look at what you can do to protect your home from flooding and also how to repair flood damage.
Preventing Flooding: Two Forms of Protection
There are many things you can do to prevent flooding, but ideally buildings should have two types of defence within them – flood resistance and flood resilience. Resistance should stop water getting in at all – but if it does, it then depends on the building’s flood resilience as to how much damage is actually caused.
You’ll need to ensure any basement waterproofing has been completed in your home, and that any other extensions to your home are sufficiently protected from the elements.
Install a Non-Return Valve
A big problem when the area around your property floods is that drains back up – and water comes back the other way to flood your home through lavatories and washbasins. A non-return valve basically allows water to only flow through the valve in one direction, minimising the damage of wastewater backflow.
Check Doors and Windows
It goes without saying that big gaps in your doors or windows will let water in, but it’s surprising how much water can ingress without barriers or precautions in place. You can buy water resistant door and window frames as well as flood skirts for the gaps around windows and doors.
Use Tiles Where Possible
You can easily mop tiles or slates if the worst happens and flooding does take place, whereas carpets are harder to clean and dry. It will also cut down on the cost of repairing your home after a flood takes place. If you’re in a flood prone area, consider using tiles and rugs rather than carpet throughout the house.
Move Important Documents
One of the keys to preventing serious damage to your home when it floods is to be prepared. Move important documents, folders and precious items to safe ground – if possible, away from the house altogether and in storage.
Know Where Weak Spots Are First
When it comes to flooding, there are many ways water can enter your property at weak spots in your home. Gaps in the floor, airbricks, doors, windows and patios are all areas of weakness, as well as drains and pipes.
Pack a Flood Kit
An emergency flood kit needs to contain only simple items, but a change of clothes, a first aid kit, personal identification documents and any required medication can really make a difference if you need to leave your home in a hurry.
Air Brick Covers
You can buy covers for airbricks to stop water permeating through them. They are relatively inexpensive, but could be one of the biggest things you do in terms of flood prevention.
More your shelving higher and put important items and things you might need on it. There’s nothing worse than finding you need something that’s inaccessible because of flooding.
Make sure there is no electric flowing through the house – remove home entertainment systems, appliances and lights. Flooding and electricity is a lethal combination.
Protecting Your Basement Against Flooding
Homeowners can reduce the risk of flooding by installing a sump and pump system in their basement. A sump and pump system is designed to remove ground water from within basements, light wells as well as the water collected by cavity drain membranes. The system gives homeowners peace of mind against flood risks and other severe weather conditions.
Permagard’s PermaSEAL Basement Sump and Dual Pump System has a HDPE sump chamber which locks access cover, two waste submersible pumps and a high level water alarm system. The dual system reduces the risk of flooding significantly more than a normal pump system, simply because the secondary pump is in place, continuing to pump even if the first pump fails to operate.
The system is also able to detect high levels of water, due to an alarm. The alarm will sound if the water rises above the normal operating level within the tank.This system will still work even during a power cut with a PermaSEAL Battery Back Up System, which ensures the pumps are supplied with power.
Permagard are happy to provide installation advice. Sump and pump systems should always been installed by a trained electrician or a waterproofing company.
What to Do Following a Flood
Turn the Electricity Off
The last thing you want to do is to have electricity in the area where water is lying. The water could be charged and lethal if stepped in - always wait until a professional is on the scene.
Move Yourself to Higher Ground
If you can, move yourself, family and any treasured possessions to higher ground as soon as possible. Often in these scenarios, the community come together so don’t be afraid to seek help.
Don’t Pump Out Water if Water Levels are Still High
It’s important not to pump water out of the house, which will only lead to more problems if the water level is still high outside. It will add to the problem for other people, and put a huge amount of unnecessary stress on the outside walls of the house. If possible it’s best to wait until the water has subsided a bit before removing.
The process of flood repair will be a lot easier if you take precautions and take your time as well as having the right equipment and wear the right waterproof clothing. It’s also worth bearing in mind that flood waters are likely to hide sharp objections and obstructions...not to mention on the odd occasion chemical waste and sewage. Again, it is worth getting professional help if you are in any doubt.
Contact Flood Repair Experts After the Water has Subsided
After you have contacted your insurer, taken a record of what has happened and cleaned up to the best of your ability, you will need to contact construction experts who specialise in flood damage repair. Permagard offer flood and water damage repair products to suit a range of solutions, including large bags of renovation plaster and Permaseal damp proof paint.
Flood Damage Repair
If your property has suffered from flood damage, a high-performing disinfectant and sanitiser is the first product you should use before you do any other repair work. The concentrated sanitiser protects against bacteria including: hepatitis B, salmonella, campylobactur, listeria, MRSA and many other bacteria including a wide range of viral infections. The sanitiser must be used before any cleaning and remedial work.
The product is made with a highly potent biocide system, making it a strong and advanced solution, eliminating bacteria and a wide range of viral infections.
Protect new surface finishes by isolating damp masonry walls. This can be achieved by hacking off the flood-affected plaster and render back to the original masonry (normally brick).
Once you have removed this contaminated material you are able to install one of two types of isolating systems:
PermaSEAL Meshed Damp Proof Membrane is a 3mm meshed plastic membrane designed to isolate the damp background and provide an excellent ‘key’ for lime mortars, renders, plasters and dabbed plasterboard. Itactsas a barrier against water, alkalis, saline solutions and organic acids and is resistant against bacteria and fungi and many other small organisms.
Permaseal Tanking is a completely waterproof coating that can be applied to the substrate to create a waterproof barrier. Once installed it should then be rendered with Permagard Renovating Plaster, a special render that contains waterproofing and salt inhibiting additives that stop salts or damp travelling from the background through into the final skim finish. A lightweight backing plaster, such as Permagard’s renovating plaster is ideal for walls which have just had a damp proof membrane inserted into them. This specifically designed plaster actively stops salts and control damp passing through the walls during the drying period. The plaster can be applied shortly after the damp proof membrane.
PermaSEAL Fleece Overstrip
This one-sided fleece overstrip tape can be used to seal or repair mesh membranes. The strip’s geo textile texture enables you to render directly over it.
Permaseal Damp Proof Paint
Acting as another type of damp proofing membrane, Permaseal’s damp proof paint is supplied ready to use, straight from the bucket. The liquid has an emulsion paint consistency, and is easily applied to masonry surfaces by brush, roller or spray to create a damp proof barrier. The paint has similar qualities to the P-Seal Mesh 3 membrane, for example, resistance to silage acids and alkalis, with the ability to achieve a damp proof barrier.
If you need any more information on how to prevent flooding in your home, contact the property experts here at Permagard. Alternatively, browse our damp proofing and basement waterproofing sections where you can find products to help you prepare for flooding as well as products such as renovating plaster to help you repair damage if the worst does happen. For more information on flooding call us today.