Flood-hardy Homes: Wash-n-Wear instead of Gut-n-Replace

Claudette Reichel  |  6/24/2008 11:52:42 PM

Flood-resistant materials used on the first floor provide an added measure of protection if flooding ever occurred from either rising water or plumbing leaks and overflows. If flooding ever happens, you’ll be glad to have a home that needs a “shampoo-and-blow-dry” instead of major repair. Examples include decorative concrete flooring, tile, rubber or solid vinyl or linoleum flooring with water-resistant mortar and adhesives; wainscoting, wallboard and woodwork that can resist short-term flooding (solid wood, water-resistant MDF or fiber cement panels, paperless drywall, etc.); closed-cell rigid or spray foam insulation.

Appliance styles and installation methods that elevate the vulnerable parts can minimize damage in shallow floods. Washers, dryers, ranges with a drawer at the bottom and cooktops with wall ovens are examples.

Submersible building systems in levee-protected areas: Since BFE is determined by a 1% probability calculation based upon levees providing a given level of protection, it can be far lower than the actual flooding potential in the event of a levee failure or overtopping by an unusual storm. Even though regulations do not require it, it is highly recommended either to elevate about the actual potential flood level (from a levee failure) or elevate to the FEMA flood advisory level and use a “submersible” building system – at least on the first level. Examples include:

  • Concrete and rigid foam building systems (ICF, shotcrete, block, cast-in-place, precast)
  • Steel framing, if treated to resist corrosion from salty floodwater, with rigid foam insulating sheathing.
  • Solid wood framing with closed-cell spray insulation partially filling wall cavities or rigid foam sheathing and exterior grade plywood sheathing.

To learn about more ways you can protect new and existing buildings from flood damage, visit the LSU AgCenter Web site: www.LouisianaHouse.org.

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