What housing materials should be used in high flood areas?
Flooding can cause devastation to buildings, so it’s vital that homes built in high flood areas are able to withstand rising water levels and are resistant to water damage. With climate change rapidly causing flooding to increase globally, and large housing developments removing natural ecosystems that help drain away large volumes of water, modern materials and conservation efforts must be used to help protect people living in high-risk areas.
For people affected by flood damage, the consequences can be huge. Always check the flood risk of the area before you buy a home, and check your housing insurance to ensure it protects you against flood damage.
If you’re building a home or buying one, check that the materials used are substantial enough to protect you from flood damage. Not sure what that looks like? Let’s take a look.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to protect a home from flooding is to elevate it. Either by building on higher ground, or by the use of stilts or raised plinths, these homes allow water levels to rise without coming into contact with the walls of the home. The ground level of the home should be at least 0.6mm above the mean annual flood level, and the roof higher than the 100-year flood level.
Elevated stilts should be made from galvanised metal or decay-resistant hardwoods such as cedar or redwood. These should be securely and deeply anchored into the ground with concrete to prevent them being displaced by sodden earth in the event of a flood. Homes in flood-prone areas should also have upper levels accessible by staircases so that the occupants can escape to higher levels if the lower floor becomes flooded.
Some flood-resistant homes can also float, which is an innovative building strategy that allows the foundation of the home to rise and fall alongside groundwater levels. These are known as amphibious houses and are typically constructed with a concrete base on steel poles.
For the superstructure of homes in high flood areas, reinforced concrete or masonry walls coated with asphalt or a similar, water-resistant material is best. Some buildings also feature detachable lower panels, which can be replaced if they become water-damaged and protect the main structure of the home. Flood resistant doors and windows, or detachable flood guards that can be put up after a flood warning can also help to stop water entering the property.
Water-proofing the floor and walls can be done by installing water-resistant materials like tiles. Proper sealing and grouting of tiles can prevent water infiltration. Well-maintained and sealed tile surfaces act as a barrier, reducing the risk of water damage to the structure. Cleaning tiles after flooding can be relatively straightforward compared to other type of flooring. Using disinfectant and grout cleaner after ventilating and removing contaminants from the floor is sufficient.
Check out some heavy-duty tiles here.
The cavities of the walls should be filled with water-resistant materials such as sprayed polyurethane foam, or closed-cell plastic foams. These help to protect the interior walls if the external walls are compromised, or if water enters through any openings in the exterior walls. Drainage systems can also be installed to the perimeter of the property, to help direct rising water levels away from the home. Sump and pump systems may also be installed to help drain water out if the home should flood, though protective measures should be prioritised over water extraction systems, as water damage can be costly to fix.
Look for expert advice
If you’re unsure if the home you’re looking to build or buy is flood-resistant, be sure to consult an expert to help you fine-tune your foundations and superstructure. In high flood areas of developing countries, efforts must also be made to restore the natural landscapes of mangroves, rivers, and wetlands to give water more space to drain away naturally and reduce the risk of flooding to communities and populated areas.
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This article was provided by comparethemarket