The English weather is unpredictable at best and downright miserable at worst. This year, we’ve had our fair share of storm and flood warnings. The damage can be devastating. To put things into perspective, Channel 4 have estimated that a flood can see you lose £28,000 in repair bills, compared to £7,000 for a fire and £1,033 for a burglary.
While the Environment Agency can predict your vulnerability to flooding, their predictions are based on flooding from rivers and seas and they don’t take into account the possibilities for excessive rainfall which a city’s drainage system might not be able to cope with. Despite the risk, we don’t seem to give flood preparation much thought. How many people do you know discussing their non-return valves rather than fire or burglar alarms?
I’ve made it my personal goal for 2014 to give my most important asset the protection that it deserves. You might not be in a position to completely flood-proof your home, but making any one of these changes will be worthwhile.
Lay ceramic tiles on the ground floor
Ceramic tiles are water-resistant and when paired with a cement subfloor, water is unable to rise up through the slab. In a flood-prone area, a vapour barrier can be inserted between the ceramic tile and the cement underlay to stop water from damaging the adhesive of the ceramic. Glaze the tile and seal the grouting to stop the water from penetrating from above.
Fit non-return valves to drains and water inlet pipes
Non-return valves fitted to drain pipes stop water from backing up and re-entering your home after a flood. The pressure caused by flooding can reverse the normal water flow and see dirty water surprising you in your sink, toilet or even your washing machine!
Cover your bricks
Air bricks are designed to ventilate and circulate fresh air in your home but in bad weather, you could see more than air seeping through. Invest in covers to provide a temporary barrier against water. You can easily remove them again once the bad weather has passed.
Assess your damp proof course
As a matter of routine, slate or plastic damp proofing material should be located within the bricks in your home. A barrier is formed which stops damp from rising and a serious problem forming. To top up your existing damp proof course, a builder may also recommend a chemical injection into your flooring, just above the ground, for extra protection.
Re-design your garden
Believe it or not, your garden can play its part in minimising water damage. Consult a garden designer to assess your existing garden and modify it if need be to divert water away from your home. Extending your gutters’ downspouts will also direct water away from your property.
Replace wooden frames and doors with uPVC
More homes than ever have uPVC windows and doors but there are some properties that have remained loyal to wooden frames for the character that they bring. If you have an older home with beams throughout, sticking with wood is the better option if you don’t want to decrease the value of your home but if you would describe your home as modern, it’s time to swap to uPVC. Wood needs to be painted regularly to protect it from rotting and warping in the rain but uPVC will only need cleaning with a little soapy water every now and then once it starts to look dirty. The man-made material lasts for up to 35 years and it’s highly resistant to bad weather. Rain will simply drip right off the frames without weakening your home’s defences.
Whether you need your flooring replaced or damp proof course assessed, post your job to find a tradesman who can help. Up to three tradesman will contact you to quote and you’ll be able to view their profile pages complete with ratings, to help you decide who to hire.