Flood Resilience Measures
Where flood resistance measures are not appropriate, it may be possible to change features of the property so that they resist the ill-effects of flood water and dry out quickly and without permanent damage. This page will discuss some of the flood resilience measures you may want to think about installing and will give you some more information about these.
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Resilient Wall Finishes
There are paints and plasters (e.g. lime plaster) which are more resilient to water. They dry out without cracking and disintegration, so can be repainted once this drying process is complete.
Traditional plasterboards will be permanently damaged by water, so will need to be replaced (though it is relatively cheap). You can minimise how many sheets need to be replaced by running them horizontally, not vertically. Only the lowest levels of board may therefore need to be removed. Alternatively, consider using a lime-based plaster on the structural wall and removing the plasterboard altogether.
Resilient Floor Finishes
Resilient floor finishes can be 100% waterproof which makes drying and cleaning the property easy and quick. For example, waterproof laminates can be purchased in various wood and tile effects. Some of these floor finishes have matching waterproof skirting boards which can be clipped onto the wall and easily removed to prevent loss in a flood. The skirting boards have grooves along the back for electricity and other cables. These resilient flooring types are more expensive and take longer to install than traditional non-resilient flooring, however the cost saving following replacement due to a flood will far outweigh this.
Both walls and floors can be insulated in some houses in order to maximise heat retention in the property. However traditional insulation will often lose its thermal performance characteristics if they come in direct contact with water.
This may be the case for many types of cavity wall insulation that are in contact with and soak up flood water. If this happens, the insulation will need to be replaced, which can be very difficult. It may be worth changing it for water resistant cavity insulation, or replacing the cavity insulation with surface mounted insulated plasterboard on the inside of the walls.
Where a floor is insulated to retain warmth, then it is also possible to use water resistant insulation. Once traditional floor insulation comes in contact with water (either due to groundwater flooding or floodwater intrusion into the property) it loses its insulating properties and will therefore require replacing. Water resilient insulation will not absorb the same levels of moisture from direct contact with water that traditional insulation types will. This will therefore mean that water resilient insulation will retain its insulating properties following flooding.
The more expensive insulation types are likely to have a better performance of flood resilience, therefore suggesting this investment may be a much more suitable option over the long term.
Raised Electrical Sockets
Another resilience measure you may wish to consider would be the raising of electrical sockets, wires and other services up the walls of the property (rather than at skirting board height). This will reduce the risk of having to rewire a building following a flood. It may also be possible to keep some electrical power running in the property once it is flooded. However, do not use electrical equipment if you are standing in flood water or if there is risk of it touching any water deposit.
By removing the front plates of electrical sockets using a screwdriver, you can prevent these from washing away during a flood event. Do not remove these until you have first turned off the electricity at the mains.
Pumping systems are another measure to consider installing in your property. For more information on the types of these pumping systems as well as property tanking systems and cavity wall drainage, please click here.
See the videos below for technical guidance from Mary Dhonau, OBE, on the types of flood resilience measures that are available to you, and how you can make your home flood resilient.
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