Minimize Flood Losses with the Right Materials

November 14, 2013

Having the right building materials in place can help reduce water damage from floods. One risk to homes and business in the aftermath of a flood is the lack of electricity to heat the space and help dry out building materials inside. The prolonged exposure to water is one way in which floods wreak havoc on buildings, but once the water subsides, the delay in the drying process contributes to more damage.

If you live in a high risk flood area, its worth considering these things in your overall preparation. After a flood, getting items out of the water and dried is as important as removing the water itself. Whether by repairing damages or remodeling a home or business to be more sustainable during an event like a flood, there are a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to indoor materials.

  • The first thing to prepare is the walls. Using a wood based product for walls will hold up and recover from a flood better than paper based products. This may mean choosing wainscoting over drywall. When water affects the walls, wood based products can dry and recover more easily than paper ones. There is always the likelihood that they will still need to be replaced since wood warps easily from prolonged water exposure, but they are still superior to paper.
  • Next, reconsider carpeting in your home. Carpet acts like a sponge, retaining moisture, and being generally very difficult to completely dry. After a flood or extensive water damage, you will likely have to tear out the carpet anyway, so consider removing it in favor of hardwood flooring. Many homes have wood flooring beneath carpeting anyway. For floor covering, consider easily removable area rugs that can be rolled up and stored.
  • For storage, have plastic containers on hand to store valuables. While you don’t necessarily have to keep everything in plastic bins all of the time, having them on hand to use during and after a flood can help preserve valuables in a manner that is easy to store and transport. Also, keep electronic devices on shelves and off the floor. This is important if heavy rains and flooding are expected and you have time to prepare in advance. This will preserve these valuables and reduce fire risks.
  • Finally, if possible, install power outlets higher on walls so as to avoid contact with water in the event of a flood. This is important and can be a good idea in basements where flooding is most likely to be the worst. If this is not possible or too much of an expense, be sure to shut off the power in anticipation of a flood or immediately following rising water levels. Of course, the best preparation is closely monitoring the weather and outside conditions and having good flood insurance for your home or business.

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