For homeowners seeking to go above and beyond purchasing a flood insurance policy to protect their home from flood damage, physically flood proof their home using is an option.
Not all methods described below are available to all homeowners. Factors to be considered in a flood proofing project is the location the related flood areas of the home and local and state flood proofing regulations. Consulting the local flood management official is the best place to start when planning a floodproofing project.
Please note, some of these methods are drastic. In some or most cases, it may be necessary to obtain the services of an architect or structural engineer to complete a flood proofing project. The following six methods of floodproofing are outlined in FEMA guidelines.
Elevation- Elevating one’s home involves, literally, raising it up so that the lowest floor is at or higher than the base flood elevation as established by FEMA. Techniques vary based on foundation type. Elevating a home to at or above the regulated level will reduce flood insurance premiums. Contracting a licensed, bonded and insured contractor with experience in this type of project is imperative.
Relocation- Clearly one of the most expensive options, relocating involves removing a home from its foundation, placing it on a flatbed trailer, and moving it to a new location and attaching it to a new foundation. The planning process for this method is most intense as it includes moving it, finding the best route to transport the home and ensuring a home meets the local codes of the new location- needing to plan for upgrades once the house is moved if the home falls short of local codes. Moving a home to an area with less flood risk will reduce flood insurance premiums.
Demolition- Demolition involves completely tearing down a home. This option is used by those whose homes have been so structurally damaged by a flood, living in it is impossible. Demolition is the only option.
Wet Proofing-Making portions of your home flood resistant to flood damage and allowing water to enter during flooding. This method assists in drastically reducing structural damage that can occur during flooding. Wet proofed areas are usually open and storage spaces. Wet proofed areas do not include living areas. Wet proofing that complies with FEMA guidelines can earn a reduction in flood insurance premiums.
Dry Proofing- Dry proofing involves sealing your home to prevent floodwaters from entering. Beyond sealing the home, it involves the use of pumps to help remove any water that may enter the home. Dry proofing is not acceptable for all foundation types or flood risks, specifically areas with a high hazard. Consulting the local flood management officials before undertaking this method is recommended.
Barrier Systems- Building a floodwall around a home to restrain flood waters. This method will protect a home from several impacts of flooding, such as hydrodynamic pressure, and, in general, will not require updates to the structure of the property. However, this method will require periodic maintenance and are not allowed for some property types. Also, this method will not reduce flood insurance premiums.
Homeowners have several options when deciding how to flood proof their home. Some methods are drastic and cost prohibitive. Regardless of what method is chosen, it is important to consult the proper local officials as well as experienced contractors to ensure the project meets regulations, construction standards and complies in order to qualify for flood insurance premium reductions.