What building materials can be used to protect from flooding?

Wherever you live in the country, you will inevitably have seen the pictures and footage of the devastation caused by the recent floods. Apart from lifting your house up and putting it on stilts, what can be done to minimise the effects of flooding, and are there any building materials that can stop flooding, or significantly reduce the cost of recovery?

What is the likelihood of being flooded?

Before you go ahead and buy all the building materials to make changes to your home that will cost time and money, think about whether the alterations are actually necessary.

What is the likelihood of being flooded in your area? Has the area been flooded in the past? How close are you to rivers and reservoirs? These are some of the questions to ask, as the best defence is to be well informed.

Using building materials to change your home

If you do decide to make changes to your home, there are some building materials that can help to minimise flooding.

Whilst air bricks are essential for ventilation, they are generally the first place that flooding will enter the home. It may be worth changing to flood resistant air bricks that can be put into the existing vents. These will allow air to flow and automatically close under flood conditions.

There are also fence bases made out of an impenetrable material which will stop water coming through fence panels.

As well as using building materials to help reduce flooding, there is some practical work that can also be done. Think about using ceramic tiles and rugs instead of fitted carpets, and raising the level of electrical sockets to at least 1.5 metres above the ground floor level.

In the kitchen, look at using solid wood, plastic or stainless steel as these materials won't absorb the water like chipboard cabinets will. You could also consider installing free-standing kitchen units that can be moved away from the flooding and save you having to purchase a whole new kitchen.

Be prepared

Once you've installed flood resistant building materials in your home, it is best to do regular maintenance checks to ensure that everything that can be done is being done.

It is a good idea to regularly clear your drains and pipes, as this will ensure that there is somewhere for the water to run away.

There are some building materials, such as plywood and sandbags, that are good to keep at your home for emergency use. Having them on hand means that you will be able to use them quickly to stem water flow and seal places where the water can enter your home.

Also look at re-pointing any bricks and covering with a waterproof sealant, as you want to ensure that the water has no way of seeping through gaps.

Hopefully you will never have to make repairs to your home following a flood, but the Chandlers team is always available to speak to about suitable building materials and to give advice about safeguarding your home. You can contact your local branch here.

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