How To Prevent Flood Damage In Historic Homes

   

Historical homes provide a charming aesthetic, although they are more vulnerable to flood damage. Older structures often have minor cracks on the roof, walls or flooring, making the interior more susceptible to water accumulation. Here are tips to prevent flood damage in your home.

1. Evaluate Your Drainage System

The drain should be sloped away from your foundation. Redirect gutters so water flows toward the street, preventing it from accumulating near your foundation. A build-up could lead to potential mold and a weakened structure.

In addition, clear out debris and leaves from the downspouts so moisture doesn’t build up. You can also install backwater valves to prevent water from entering your house.

2. Try Dry-Proofing Methods

Dry-proofing is where you seal your exterior to protect against floods. One method is adding flood shields to doors for better protection against heavy downpours. You can also raise the threshold of your entryway to prevent foundational issues. Be sure to seal around doors and windows tightly. Keep in mind older windows have larger openings to let in more light.

You can strengthen any masonry walls to withstand heavier pressure. However, if you ​​create a permanent installation, it must be compatible with the property’s historic character.

3. Decorate With Flood-Resistant Materials

Flood-resistant materials can withstand prolonged water exposure with little to no damage.

Make sure to add these to the underside of your home. Does your home need a renovation to create a more updated look? This is an excellent opportunity to add flood-resistant surfaces.

Here are a few materials to consider using:

  • Concrete
  • Clay tile
  • Brick
  • Pressure-treated (PT) resistant lumber
  • Polyester epoxy paint

Be sure to enclose any wall cracks with waterproof membranes or other sealants.

4. Raise Your Appliances and Utilities

Keep your appliances and HVAC system at taller heights whenever possible. Begin by determining your base flood elevation (BFE), which is how much the water level is anticipated to rise during an annual flood. This date is on the Federal Emergency Management Agency(FEMA) website. Make sure to raise your utilities above that level.

Be sure to elevate electrical wiring as well. This can prevent damage and potential electrocution. Also, turn off the home’s power systems if floodwaters rise.

5. Move Your Furniture Around

Take stock of your belongings and secure them as safely as you can to prevent potential water damage. Move high-value items to the upper levels. You can temporarily store a few things in your home’s attic. For example, do you have antique sofas or lamps you want to preserve during a period of rainy weather?

If you are accustomed to a storm season or rainy season, you should also be prepared to limit the furniture you keep outside. Taking in patio furniture, planters and other items for a few months can give you some peace of mind should flooding be a problem.

6. Have a Contractor on Hand

You want to restore your home as much as possible after flooding, especially historic homes with lots of charm. Have a trusted contractor on file and retain their number, which can help save time in an emergency.

Insurance companies will often work with general contractors during the claims process, which is why you must have somebody you can trust. Ask friends for references and research credentials before hiring someone. Make sure you interview multiple contractors as well.

7. Elevate Your Home

Raising your house on stilts or piers can protect against intense flooding by preventing water from seeping into your foundation. It also gives you time to move furniture around before the water level rises too high.

Contractors separate the frame and masonry veneer from their foundation during this process. Then they’re raised and kept up with temporary support. Finally, the new extended foundation is constructed below. Ensure you preserve the historical exterior features, such as wood siding. Also, check with local historical preservation societies to see if structural changes need approval.

8. Maintain Your Lawn Properly

A well-kept yard can elevate your home’s curb appeal and complement the charming exterior of older homes. You can use specific lawn care techniques to prevent flooding as well.

Use heavy soil with clay and sand so the surface runoff water empties into the street gutter. Also, leave plenty of room between your mulch and siding. Installing a rain barrel can help catch runoff water from the roof.

 

Tips to Keep Your Home Protected

Severe weather can be a problem for many homeowners, and preserving the beauty of a historical home is often a concern. Follow these steps to keep your property protected for years to come.

Author

 Evelyn Long is a Baltimore-based writer and the editor-in-chief of Renovated. She publishes home decor advice and product roundups for readers in spaces both big and small.

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