Hurricanes bring with them heavy rains, strong winds, and the potential for devastating damage, including damage caused by flooding. During a hurricane, high-speed winds can carry objects through walls and windows of homes, tear off siding, and damage or destroy roofs. Blowing rain is a significant problem with hurricanes. This rain is bound to make its way into homes which are not properly sealed. This problem along with rising floodwaters during such a massive weather event presents a major threat to the recoverability and livability of a home once the storm has passed.
Seal as much as possible
Siding, blocks, and brickwork should be sealed as much as possible in order to prevent water from seeping through fine cracks and making its way into the home. This includes sealing around doors and windows and any other locations in which cables, pipes, or vents travel through walls. These include vents around hot water lines, exterior light fixtures, furnaces, and dryers, in addition to kitchen and bathroom vents.
Floodwaters that fill up basements of homes produce expected damage to floors, walls, and furniture. However, these waters are not simply harmless rain water. They also contain raw sewage, bacteria, and chemicals which can infiltrate your framing, drywall, carpets, subfloor, and insulation.
Mitigating the problem of standing water
In some cases, correcting the problem of standing water can be easy and inexpensive. Simply grading and sloping the soil away from the house can prevent the accumulation of standing water during a heavy storm. Many homeowners have the tools on hand at home to perform this work – a rake, shovel, and level can get the job done. If the grade and fall required is minimal, you could build a small berm around the foundation of the house to prevent standing water from entering your home.
If the problem is more serious, you may need home drainage professionals to come out and install mechanical pumps or other drainage measures. Some cases may require the installation of a sump pump with piping to effectively discharge floodwaters.
Properly installed gutters are essential
If your home does not have gutters, having them installed is an important first step to solve existing and future flooding issues. If gutters are installed on your home, it may be necessary to lengthen the discharge distance from the downspouts of the gutter system – some recommend this distance should be 10 feet from the foundation. This may be accomplished with the installation of a flexible rigid pipe below or above the surface.
Protective steps right before a storm to prevent flooding
Even after the above work has been applied as a long-term solution to potential flooding, other steps may be needed to keep water from entering your home through doors and thresholds in preparation for an approaching hurricane.
If a hurricane is days or hours away, identify an entry and exit point and keep debris away from that location. That will be the area likely to encounter the least amount of water issues. Doors at the highest elevations will qualify. Then proceed to seal the remaining doors, such as sliding and French doors. The gaps and seams of these doors – at the bottom and sides up to about 3 feet or higher based on anticipated flood level – should be sealed with strong sealing tape. Other measures such as sandbags and water absorbing barriers may be necessary if water levels are expected to accumulate higher.
At Warhurst Law, we understand the devastation caused by flooding events in the aftermath of a hurricane or strong storm. An experienced flood insurance claim attorney from our team can help you determine your damages, including hidden damages, process your claim, and fight on your behalf for the insurance payout you deserve for your losses. To arrange a free consultation in which we can discuss your case, call us today at 251.207.1296 or use our contact form. We serve residential, commercial, and nonprofit insurance policyholders throughout the Southeast from our office in Mobile, including Alabama, Louisiana, and across the Florida Panhandle.