How to protect your house against flooding

As climate change takes place more and more homes are becoming vulnerable to flooding. Julie Foley, director of flood risk strategy at the Environment Agency, explains how to flood-proof your home

How to flood-proof your home
Published: March 11, 2022 at 11:27 am
First 5 issues for £5 when you subscribe to Your Home Magazine or Homestyle Magazine!

Flooding can have a devastating impact on people’s lives, but often those who live at risk of flooding aren’t even aware of the danger. Rising sea levels and more extreme weather means that flooding is becoming a growing concern, with over five million properties in the UK currently at risk.

Advertisement

However, there are simple steps you can take to protect your home, and Julie Foley, director of flood risk strategy at the Environment Agency, shares her five top tips.

How to flood-proof your house

Check your flood risk

In the UK it’s easy to find out if your home is at risk of flooding. The UK government website has a free checker that will tell you whether your house has a long-term risk or a short-term risk (in the next five days). Don’t want to check your flood risk online? Sign up to the Flood Warning Service for free updates and alerts to your phone, keeping you on the front foot.

Consider your floor choices

Choosing the flooring for your home will come with many considerations: will the new puppy’s paw prints or children’s shoes make it look like a post-festival field within a matter of days? Will the style go with the staircase or complement the rest of the home? One consideration to bear in mind if your home is at risk of flooding is that having hard surface flooring can considerably reduce the damage caused and make for a much easier clean-up. Tiling and concrete are good options.

Protect your electrics from flooding

We know that electricals and water don’t mix. If you know your area is likely to flood, then moving electrical items upstairs or higher up (such as onto shelves, worktops) will help keep your items safe and dry - especially important for items like phones and laptops which will be needed in the aftermath of a flood.

When living in an area at risk of flooding, it’s a good idea to fit your plug sockets higher up the wall – this can save hundreds of pounds by protecting the wiring around your home. If there is a flood, make sure to turn off the electricity, gas, and mains.

Kit your house out with a flood specialist kitchen

If you are in an area of high flood risk, check out certified flood specialised kitchens. In my job, I’ve been in the homes of people who have been flooded and the amount of dirt that gets everywhere is unbelievable! Certified flood kitchens offer protection to belongings, and if fitted correctly by the right tradesperson, cupboards and drawers will not let water in saving homeowners money, time, and peace of mind without sacrificing on style.

Remember to look for the kitemark to prove that it has undergone testing to ensure it can keep the water out.

Install flood gates and doors

Flood gates and flood doors offer robust protection and will equip your home a good first line of defence. These can be stored away and easily set up to prevent floodwater (and dirt!) entering your property.

Remember you are not alone

Flooding can have a huge impact on mental health and can put people under financial strain. The good news is that homeowners can access support to help protect their homes against flooding. I would encourage anyone to look at the Flood Re website, which offers significant discounts on home insurance for anyone who is at risk – an invaluable tool for protecting your home and your peace of mind.

Advertisement

I hope the above steps will help prepare and protect you, your family, and your home against flooding. For further advice, please visit the National Flood Forum website for more advice on the options available.

Authors

Julie Foley
Julie FoleyDirector of Flood Risk Strategy & National Adaptation at the Environment Agency

Julie Foley is the director of flood risk strategy and national adaptation at the Environment Agency. Julie has worked for the Environment Agency for the past twelve years, where she has led the development of key flood risk strategy. Prior to focusing on flooding, she has experience managing a range of environmental issues such as pollution control, fisheries and biodiversity among others. Julie has a master’s degree in environmental technology and management, and is one of the Environment Agency's diversity leads for race and ethnicity.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sponsored content