4 Safe and Easy Ways to Flood-Proof Your House This Rainy Season
The Philippines is a tropical country consisting of two seasons: the wet and the dry season. The dry season (amihan) typically starts by late November and is felt until May, while the rainy season (habagat) runs from June to October. Since the country sits across a typhoon belt, dangerous storms tend to hit the Philippine shores from July through October. These storms make areas around northern and eastern Luzon and the Bicol and Eastern Visayas regions particularly hazardous. That said, even other areas of the country are at risk of strong winds and flash flooding as well. And if you live in the Philippines, this should be enough reason for you to flood-proof your house ahead of the storm.
Flood-proofing aims to reduce or avoid the impacts of flooding on structures. This includes elevating structures, strengthening the building material to make it more resilient to damage, blocking floodwaters from entering, and setting up emergency exits when the need to evacuate arises.
Brave the Storm: Flood-Proof Your House to Help Prevent Disasters
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Elevating your home to a level higher than the expected water depth is perhaps the most effective way to ensure that the flood waters stay out of the structure’s premise. To flood-proof your house using this method, however, means having to spend much, but if you think this through, this investment is always worth making if you want to keep your family and some treasured possessions safe.
Another factor to consider here is if the structure can be elevated. A native house design like the one pictured above makes this solution the more preferable one, but unlike the houses built before the turn of the century, a majority of homes in the Philippines nowadays are built on concrete foundations that are held firmly in place, so it is impossible to elevate them. Should you be left without any choice, make sure you elevate all of your valuable items, appliance, and electronic devices you have at home above floodwater.
2. Barricade your home
For some cases, an in-house drainage system is not enough to prevent flooding when the waters come raging from the outside. A barrier, made of earth, sandbags, concrete masonry, and even steel, can prevent floodwaters from entering an entire area. Floodwalls are vertical barriers originally designed to contain the waters from a waterway during extreme weather events.
Nowadays, flood walls are constructed from pre-fabricated concrete materials. They typically come with floodgates that are described as large openings that allow passage. The goats are only closed during periods of actual flooding. The effectiveness of these barriers depends on the quality of the materials used and the maintenance over time.
3. Use the dry flood-proofing method
Dry flood-proofing is a method that involves making a building substantially insusceptible to floodwaters. To flood-proof your house using this method involves sealing the walls with waterproof coatings, placing plastic sheeting around the wheel, or adding another supplemental layer of concrete or masonry. Homeowners may also opt to seal openings such as the sewer lines, vents, doors, and windows with sandbags during a flood.
Before you consider dry flood-proofing, do know that this is only appropriate for buildings that are structurally sound enough to withstand the pressure of floodwater that rises up to 3 feet in height. Dry flood-proofing is also not recommended for homes with floors below ground level such as basements.
4. Protect your house through wet flood-proofing
In comparison to dry flood-proofing, wet flood-proofing involves allowing the water in and removing everything that could be damaged. This means modifications are made to a structure to allow an enclosed area below the base to flood through the use of vents or breakaway walls. The flooded area is then designed to break free from the structure when the floodwaters fill in. Wet flood-proofing measures can be done in a variety of ways. One example uses materials that can withstand damage done by floodwater, like concrete blocks.
According to research, houses start to crumble once the water reaches 3 feet. So this will be the perfect setup for homes built near rivers and other bodies of water. However, wet flood-proofed homes or building could require extensive cleanup after a flooding event. It is also at risk of contamination if the floodwater carries waste from sewage, chemicals, and other pollutants. Additionally, wet flood-proofing almost immediately guarantees lowered flood insurance premiums for commercial and other non-residential buildings.
Frequent downpours, rising sea levels, and climate change are making homes more vulnerable to damage brought in by heavy floods. The devastating aftermath of Yolanda, Ruping, and Ondoy should give you enough reason to flood-proof your house, don’t wait until it’s too late.