flooding can cause many problems for homeowners. Structural
damage, sewer system back-ups and damaged appliances are three
of the most distressing consequences. Fortunately, there are
some remedies. They vary in scope, expense and results, just
as homeowners vary in their expectations and resources.
advice should be your first priority when groundwater flooding
is a problem. Expertise can come from a variety of sources.
resources include your local emergency government office,
building inspectors, insurance agents (if you have appropriate
insurance), county Extension agents and the Home Builders
Association. All have access to technical assistance, publications
and possible sources of financial aid.
assistance may be available through your local emergency
government office. This may also include temporary housing
and crisis counseling.
and low-interest loans may be available in cases of regional
with your insurance agent to determine whether your homeowner's
insurance covers any of the damages. Groundwater, surface
water and floodwater damages usually are not covered by
homeowner's insurance. Your agent may have a rider available
for groundwater flooding. Homes located in floodplains
subject to surface water flooding are eligible for federal
can help you determine the nature and extent of your
damages and what remediation options are appropriate for
waterproofing contractor may be able to correct the problem
if you simply need to stop minor nuisance flooding.
general contractor may be necessary if you have damages
to your home and need more substantial repairs and corrective
measures. General contractors can arrange for the services
of various specialists. (See the fact sheet, "Hiring a
Contractor After a Disaster," for more information.)
and frequency of groundwater flooding will in part dictate
the best solution. The following options parallel increasing
severity of groundwater flooding:
appliances, furniture and fixtures. In cases where groundwater
flooding is a minor nuisance that amounts to little more
than wet walls and small streams across the basement floor
to a drain, solutions may include:
or blocking up appliances, furniture and other items that
may be damaged by direct contact with the water for an
a false floor over the basement slab. This allows water
to drain under the false floor to a drain or sump.
a surface drainage system around the perimeter of the
basement floor. This method channels water from the walls
to a drain or sump for removal.
water pressure against walls and the floor. Some form
of drainage is necessary when cracks occur because of
the basement or foundation does not already have drain
tile installed, consider an excavation of the home exterior
to allow for waterproofing of the walls and the installation
of washed stone (gravel) and drain tile. Drain tile can
divert water away from the house if there is a slope,
or accommodate a sump pump system as noted below.
drainage is another option if excavation is not possible
or convenient. Washed stone and drain tile are installed
around the interior perimeter of the basement footing.
This requires subfloor installation and trenching.
pumps are a necessary part of the internal drainage system
unless the interior tile can be connected to exterior tile
that will drain away from the house. Similarly, sump pumps
may be a necessary part of external drain tile systems if
water does not drain away from the house naturally.
the basement. This option can eliminate the groundwater
problem, but the trade-off is the loss of a full basement.
If the groundwater level in a basement is only 1 or 2 feet,
one option is to pour a new floor in at a higher level,
leaving a crawl space in the basement. The original floor
needs to be broken first, so that water pressure can be
relieved. Fill dirt is brought in and the new floor poured.
Drainage under the new floor also is recommended. In more
severe cases, the basement may have to be completely abandoned.
septic systems and wells. If septic systems and wells have
been compromised, the systems should be rebuilt following
modern guidelines for high groundwater areas. There may
be added expenses related to closing or removing portions
of existing systems that have failed.
or relocating the house. This is the most expensive option.
It is the best long-term solution when the building integrity
is threatened and utilities must be shut off. In some cases,
it may be the only reason-able option to avoid property
damages and lower property values.
Your county Extension office, your local emergency government office, building inspectors, insurance agents (if you have appropriate insurance), the Home Builders Association, the Federal Emergency Management Agency
"Removing Ground Water From a Basement of an Existing Home," December 1993;
"Hiring a Contractor After a Natural Disaster," December 1993.
"Repairing Your Flooded Home," the American Red Cross/Federal Emergency Management Agency, 1992.
"Retrofitting Flood-Prone Residential Structures," Federal Emergency Management Agency, 1986.
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in
NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in
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