What Do You Do When Your Basement Floods In Houston
While flooding in Houston is unavoidable, damage to your home is not—how here’s to protect your home from flooding. Houston natives can enumerate numerous positive aspects of the city: Houston is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the South, with a thriving arts scene. Residents of Houston enjoy a low cost of living. However, if there is one aspect of Houston that the majority of residents wish to change, it is the flooding.
How to Protect Your Houston Home From Flooding in Texas
Floods regularly affect large sections of Houston County.
Why Do Houston Floods Wreak Havoc on Homes?
From May to October, Houston’s wet season brings a punishing round of tropical storms, hurricanes, and plain old heavy rain. What do you do when your basement floods in Houston.
Houston is surrounded by Galveston Bay, four major bayous, and a plethora of creeks. Flooding is an inevitable occurrence in a city surrounded by so much water. If you live west of the city center, your home will typically withstand flooding better. EaDo (East Downtown), Garden Oaks, Highland Village, and Midtown residents generally fare better than residents of other areas.
Leaving the city center to the east increases the likelihood of experiencing high water levels and flooding. Regular flooding occurs in Kingwood, Spring Branch, the Heights, and Sharpstown. Hurricane Harvey and Tropical Storm Imelda flooded these areas, turning them brown. Meyerland, which is mostly within the 100-year floodplain, was particularly hard hit by the storms.
Houston County is so heavily paved that runoff water cannot keep up with these enormous water increases.
Apart from relocating to another city, there are several steps you can take to protect your home:
Tip 1: Gradually Grade Soil-Away From Your House
Houston’s topography is largely flat, rising only about 50 feet above sea level. This city lacks steep hills and a high elevation. However, you can engineer a “micro-elevation” on your own property. When constructing or renovating a home, consider redesigning the property’s grading. Grading should be done with consideration for water, erosion, and storm runoff management. You want to keep your yard and house from becoming a lake.
Tip 2: Install and Maintain a Sump Pump
If your Houston home has a basement, you almost certainly already have a sump pump installed. If not, immediately install one. Sump pumps drain water from the interior to the exterior. It is advantageous during times of high water or minor interior flooding. It will not, however, protect your home from catastrophic flooding.
Your sump pump should be fully charged and ready to operate at any time. Otherwise, it may experience power outages, clogging, or switch malfunctions. If the unit is unable to keep up with the water flow, a larger unit should be installed. A sump pump’s average lifespan is approximately ten years. Consider replacing your sump pump if it has reached the end of its useful life.
Tip 3: Elevate your home
Elevating your home is the best way to protect it from a Houston flood
At the very least, the City of Houston requires that homes be elevated one foot above the 100-year floodplain. However, that bare minimum falls far short of addressing catastrophic events, such as the 12-inch rainfall that fell during Hurricane Harvey. If you intend to elevate your home, experts recommend an elevation of at least 18 inches. Elevations of six feet are not uncommon.
If you are building a new house and live in a flood-prone area, resist the urge to build slab-on-grade. Rather than that, consider three-foot or higher elevated foundations.
You can retroactively elevate your home if you already own one. This retrofit is similar to a house move in that the house is raised using jacks on piers. However, the house is not loaded onto trucks and hauled away. Rather than that, a new, stronger foundation is placed beneath the house. Elevating a home begins at approximately $75 per square foot. It’s a significant undertaking that could take up to three months to complete.
Tip 4: Ensure that Your Foundation Is Dry and Floodproof
Consider the outer portion of the foundation wall of your home as the hull of a boat. A boat’s lower half is constantly surrounded by water, so it must be watertight.
Dry floodproofing use sealants and membranes to protect your foundation. If water surrounds the lower section for a brief period, leakage into the home should be minimal or nonexistent. The emphasis in dry floodproofing is on positive-side (exterior) sealants and membranes. Additionally, workers apply sealants and membranes on the negative side (interior). The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends that homeowners choose a “substantially impermeable wall.” The wall aids in preventing water accumulation. With a sump pump, water will accumulate to a maximum of four inches in 24 hours. Assign this project to a qualified contractor with dry floodproofing experience. Contractors experienced in this type of work frequently exceed the FEMA’s minimum performance standard.
Install flood Vents as a Last Resort
Consider installing flood vents. Contractors can install flood vents that comply with FEMA standards in your foundation walls. These vents prevent vermin from entering beneath your house during dry periods. During floods, these vents open completely to allow floodwaters to pass. Simultaneously, these vents prevent debris from damaging the structure. Additionally, flood vents may help you save money on your flood insurance premiums. Houston homes sustain significant structural damage as a result of the water’s force on the foundations. Flood vents alleviate some of that pressure. Choose Southern Belt Construction which is the best basement contractor Houston.
Flood vents are required on only certain types of foundations. Numerous older Houston homes feature a crawlspace foundation supported by piers or columns. This foundation is frequently surrounded by a skirt or non-load-bearing wall. Occasionally, instead of wood, the skirt wall is constructed of brick or concrete. Dry floodproofing is not a viable option due to the wall’s inability to contain floodwaters.
Numerous Houston contractors can advise you on the best ways to protect your Houston home from flooding. They can determine whether dry floodproofing or the installation of flood vents is the best option for you.
Install and Maintain a Backflow Valve as a Precaution
One unfortunate byproduct of flooding is sewer or water drainage backflow. Backflow occurs during this process, bringing sewer water into the house. Floodwater is filthy enough on its own. However, when sewage pipes are installed directly into your home, this adds insult to injury.
Certain backflow valves, such as ball float valves in floor drains, are automatic. Manually operated gate-style valves, on the other hand, open and close by turning a wheel. Notably, backflow valves prevent sewage from your home from entering the sewer main. Standard backflow valves do not include a mechanism for flushing a toilet. Consult your contractor about backflow valves equipped with ejector pumps. These attachments allow for the return of sewage to the sewer system while still preventing backflow into your home.
Additional strategies for avoiding or mitigating flood damage in Houston
Increase the Height of Exterior Outlets
Typically, the electrical code requires that exterior outlets be accessible from grade, or ground level. This typically translates as “too low” in Houston, due to the floods. At least one foot above the expected flood line, the outlets should be located.
Examine the Exterior Drainage System
The gutters on your home collect rainwater from the roof. Drainpipes assist in the downward movement of that water. Ascertain that this interdependent system operates properly, as determined by your contractor. If your system requires repair, they can make recommendations and perform the necessary work.
Install a Waterproof Flooring System at (or below) Grade Level
Avoid installing carpet, solid hardwood, or engineered wood flooring on the lowest level of your home, whether it is on-grade or below-grade (such as a basement). You are fine as long as that level remains dry. However, if that level becomes flooded, the best course of action is to remove the flooring.
Hard-surface, 100% waterproof flooring has a good chance of being cleaned successfully. Consider a ceramic or porcelain tile, resilient plank, sheet, or tile floor installation. Using these methods to safeguard your home against flooding will provide you with peace of mind. Recognize your options based on your budget and the type of home you own.