How to safeguard your home from flooding

Storm-force winds and heavy rain are expected across the UK in the coming weeks, so getting your home prepped could make all the difference once the bad weather arrives.


The Environment Agency has issued a number of red and amber flood warnings, urging those in flood-prone areas to take precautions and be prepared. 

Parts of north Wales, Scotland, the Lake District and Yorkshire have already been put on alert. 

The environmental watchdog for Wales, Natural Resources Wales, says around 57,000 homes could be at risk, with 13,000 classed as being at medium to high risk.

Take a look at our tips on the actions you should take if your home is at risk from flooding…

Actions to take before flooding

Sign-up for updates: You can register a phone number and email address with Floodline Warnings Direct or call 0845 988 1188 for up-to-date alerts. 

Store electrical items and valuables upstairs: Unplug electrical items and store them on high shelves or upstairs. Similarly, irreplaceable valuables should be kept upstairs, or at another location.

Protect important papers: Documents such as passports, driving licences and insurance policies should be kept in watertight containers. Give copies to friends and family for safekeeping.

Keep useful phone numbers to hand: Make a note of numbers you may need if flooding strikes. This includes your insurer’s emergency helpline and local council numbers.

Prepare an emergency kit: Bundle together in a waterproof container a torch, candles, batteries, radio, a fully-charged mobile phone, waterproof clothing, blankets and a first-aid kit.

Sort out your buildings and content insurance: Check your buildings and contents policies are up to date, and that you have the paperwork to hand.


Actions to take after the flood

Check your utilities are switched off: Do not enter the property if you’re not sure, especially where electricity is concerned. Don’t drink tap water until the authorities tell you it is safe.

Call your insurance company: Before starting with repairs or employing a contractor to remove heavy parts and debris, check with your insurance company as some may only pay out if you use one of their recommended tradesmen.

The same applies to your car; if it’s damaged by a flood, check with your insurer the fine print when it comes to repairs and recovery.

Protecting your home against future floods

Fit water-resistant doors and window frames: Also consider re-fitting skirting boards with flood-proof barriers.

Flood-proof your floors and window frames: Replace carpeted or vinyl floors with solid (and sealed) wood or ceramic tiles or concrete, and use water-resistant sealant on external walls, doors and window frames. Wall joists can be reinforced by having a chemical damp-proof course installed.

Add flood barriers to risky areas: Fit flood skirts and barriers to areas that are likely to let in water, such as windows and doors. Flood skirts are fitted around a building and deployed when there is a risk of flooding.

Fit one-way no-return valves: To stop water coming into your property add safeguards, such as one-way no-return valves to water outlet pipes.

Protect your walls: Use renovating lime plaster to re-plaster walls up to one metre above floor level. This will limit dampness seeping into walls.

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