How to Floodproof Your Home

by | Sep 22, 2009 11:09 AM ET

For those out of the weather loop this week, floodwaters have engulfed parts of Atlanta, beloved HowStuffWorks headquarters. As of this morning, more than 100 roads in the metro area have been shut down because they're impassable, and many homes, schools and businesses are dealing with structural damage from the excess moisture.

Flooding is, in fact, the most common natural disaster to strike in the United States. Unlike tornadoes and hurricanes, it doesn't require a specific set of weather conditions to cause a flood; melting snow, poor landscaping and the aftershock of other natural disasters can usher in the rising tide. Of course, if you live on a floodplain, you have a statistically higher chance of encountering flooding.

Now, you may be wondering how I know so much about flooding. Unfortunately, it isn't due to a pet love of meteorological mishaps. Earlier this year, I wrote the HowStuffWorks article, Is there a way to keep floodwaters out of my house?.

For the full scoop, you can head over to my magnum opus, but in case there's an angry front headed your way and you need to locate a Shop-Vac stat, here are the high points.

•    Before you end up in a flood situation, take a walk around your house after a soaking rain shower. Take note of where the water pools the most; the farther away from the house, the better. If water flows toward the house, you may need to grade your landscape.

•    Clean out those gutters and drain spouts.

•    If your house sits on a concrete slab, consider dry floodproofing the interior to keep water out. Dry floodproofing involves coating foundation walls in sealants and sealing foundation-level doors and windows.

•    If your house has a basement, wet floodproofing may be structurally safer. Make sure appliances and any storage are elevated above the flood level.

With hurricane season is upon us, it's a wise time to evaluate your house's flood profile. If you aren't sure whether your property is at risk for flooding, the National Flood Insurance Program can serve up your flood risk profile. Just don't put off flood proofing until it's you're ankle-deep in water since a single inch of floodwater can potentially cost you $7,800 in repairs.

More on HowStuffWorks:

How Floods Work

Why does a flooded house need to be torn down?

Could Noah's ark really have  happened?

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