Flood recovery: My Experience

Here in the UK flooding has been a major issue as of late, causing destruction, forcing people from their homes and cutting off power. We don’t need to be reminded of the problems that it causes, but now need to be vigilant in regards to prevention.

Flood Warning SignRecently, due to heavy rain and a blocked drain, I experienced some damage to my property. It destroyed a lot of plants, ruined my shed and came right up to the doorstep, almost breaching the front door and entering the house. Luckily it never actually came in, but that didn’t stop it doing significant damage. Floors had to be ripped up, the whole downstairs needed to be repainted and still further work needs to be done. All of our floorboards had bowed and warped to a huge extent, they looked like a mountain range! The water had got into, and was sitting, in the foundations, and like a sponge it was moving up from below, causing damage from underneath. If I am honest the water company were fairly poor in their service, they even visited before the damage was done, looked at the water level (in the end 22,000 gallons of was pumped out from around the house) and were concerned, but ended up leaving without helping. I have to admit the whole thing was very unnerving, as victims of this sort of thing will know. All the work has been carried out now and the house is back to normal, but we had quite a scare.

I think the moral of this is that, in these sorts of situations, it is hard to rely on help from others and if preventative measures can be taken beforehand then it can do a great deal. The first thing to do is to make sure your house has sufficient protection from moisture. If it is a newer house then is should be fine, fitted with DPC, DPM and the correct insulation and materials. Older residencies will probably not have the amount of protection, if in a frequently effected area it would be wise to check your house meets standard regulations and improve if necessary.

You are able to buy portable water pumps, obviously they are limited in their use, but it would have been very useful in my situation; they seem fairly easy to use and in areas where light precipitation can build up it should be able to pump it away easily.

Flood BarrierThere are many great little pieces of equipment that you may not be aware of that aid defence of your property. Door barriers form a great first line of defence, initially stopping anything coming through doorways; unfortunately these only work up to a certain level tough. You can find very inexpensive ones on eBay or Amazon but make sure you read the reviews, you need to make sure you are buying the right one. This is the same with air brick covers and anti-flood designs.

An old favourite seems to be sandbags as they are inexpensive, easy to use and don’t have to attach to your house. If used properly they do really keep out the water; I used them during my difficulties and once placed, they protected my doorstep. Storage for these is really easy, just pop them in your shed or garage in case of an emergency.

In my case the entire garden was filled with debris after the event. As I said luckily it did not get into the house, but it did into the shed and garage, causing some damage. It is always worth contacting your local council services or utility provider to find out whether it is safe for you to have the power on as it could be dangerous. Everything that has been affected needs to be cleaned, floors, doors and paths etc…  Our local water company took over the clear-up because there had been some sewage on our property. They wore related masks and proper gear and a lot of disinfectant was used. Here is some more information on that kind of thing if you are attempting it yourself.

Everything that needed to be done to the property went through my insurance provider as it would have been quicker than going through the local authorities. Obviously it is different each time, but I was given advice to do that and everything was back to normal in about three months. Even after a small incident things take time, this was something I was very surprised about. The drying process was obviously the longest; dehumidifiers ran constantly for around a month after the floor had been ripped up. People were always coming in and out of the house, taking readings, to measure up, replace items etc… this is normal though. I kept a diary of what was happening and what was replaced, this helped me when dealing directly with the insurance company. I think, because it was largely the water company’s fault, they were more helpful than usual.

In a lot of cases you will have to move out for a few days for repair and building work. Make sure you get full compensation for this, sometimes it can be a real hassle with multiple family members living in the house, each with different needs.

There have not been many further problems that have resulted from this, mostly a spot of mildew here and there and a bit of warping, so I cannot comment on most of the after effects you may find.

Please leave comments and I will try to answer any further questions people may have.

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