Flood Defences for your Home

Flood Defences for your Home

If you are carrying out renovations, improvements, or repairing flood damage, there are a number of things to bear in mind.


To prevent water entering a property:


  • Do regular maintenance checks outside - ensure mortar between bricks is in good condition.
  • Don't just build it back - build it better.
  • Always seek help before making changes. Get advise from a specialist flood surveyor from the RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors).
  • Flood protection products may give you more time to move your possessions off the ground floor to safety; often water is 'cleaner' because mud and silt stays outside.
  • Consider the impact of any outdoor works on your neighbour, e.g. hard landscaping will increase levels of water runoff.
  • Look for Environment Agency kite-marked products (tested and fit for the job).

To reduce the cost and repair time after any future flood, you could:


  • Fit plug sockets, boilers, and service meters higher on walls.
  • Choose water-resistant door and window frames (use silicone sealant).
  • Get a chemical damp-proof course below joist level; and install airbricks with removable covers.
  • Replace mineral insulation within walls with closed cell insulation.
  • Have non-return valves in drainage pipes to prevent sewage backing up into the house.
  • Check access points for pipes (e.g. washing machines) for gaps and fill.
  • Use waterproof sealant on external walls; waterproof paint on internal walls.
  • Lay ceramic tiles on your ground floor and use rugs instead of fitted carpets.

And if there is a choice, you can:


  • Go for solid flooring (concrete covered with treated timber or sealed tiles) - more resistant than floorboards or chipboard.
  • Have wood or plastic kitchen/bathroom units rather than MDF/chipboard.
  • Use lime plaster instead of gypsum on walls.
  • Replace ovens with raised, built-under types.


Help to prevent flooding


Options Comments What to do...
Air brick covers These can stop flood water coming in through your air bricks


Air brick covers can be purchased from DIY stores
Sandbags Useful for diverting water flow, but where water is rising up through the ground, they are of limited value and will not prevent groundwater coming through the floorboard.

If the Council is unable to help you, will need to obtain the materials to make your own - local builders' suppliers may be able to help you with this.

However, there is nothing special about sandbags. Growbags, bin liners or plastic bags filled with earth will suffice.

Sandbags are provided free of charge to households and commercial properties if in the Council's view they are at significant risk of flooding.

Different operational response times will apply for the different levels of risk.  A judgement will be made on the number of sandbags that will be provided.

Except in exceptional circumstances, on delivery the sandbag(s) will become the responsibility of the householder or business and their subsequent collection and disposal will not be arranged by the Council.

Where necessary when making the delivery, Council staff will assist with placing sandbags.

To order sandbags please call 01264 368000 or 01794 527700

Flood Boards These are better - a piece of 18mm (3/4 inch) ply cut to fit across outside door jambs and temporarily nailed into place with newspaper or any other suitable material, such as old carpet underlay, sealing the gap. Contact builders' supplies merchants - see phone book.
Heavy-duty polythene An alternative is heavy-duty polythene tacked to the outside of jambs or sills. Low air bricks will need to be plugged (as temporary measure only - it is very important that they are unsealed as soon as floodwater has receded). Contact DIY stores or builders' supplies merchants - see phone book
Watercourses and ditches Carry out maintenance of any watercourses and ditches in the summer months, clear out the silt (it's an excellent nutrient for the garden). Cut back foliage to ensure that saplings do not get established in the bed or banks of the watercourse. Ensure that piped sections of the watercourse under driveways are rodded and clear. These restricted locations are the most vulnerable to flooding and need the most attention. Do not dump grass clippings or other rubbish in the ditch.