(Updated April 2021)
Looking for actionable ways to prevent floodwater from damaging your home & property?
Here, we cover important information, techniques & guides for protecting you, your loved ones and property from floodwater damages.
Feel free to dig in & jump to whatever topic interests you:
Household flood prevention is not easy.
But it is possible.
It all starts with preparation.
Being prepared for emergency flooding greatly decreases the chances of flood water damages to your home.
So how do you protect your home from flooding?
A good way to start is by identifying what areas of your home are most susceptible to intrusive flood water. In this article, we identify some of the common places in a home that floodwater tends to enter.
In this article, we identify some of the common places in a home that floodwater tends to enter.
Garages are one of the most flood-prone areas of a home. The reason being is that the garage door sits flush with the driveway concrete, making it an easy target for intrusive floodwater. Furthermore, concrete is porous and often uneven, which makes it even easier for water to enter.
Our recommendation and most cost effective solution?
Use a combination of self-inflating sandbags and poly-plastic sheeting to secure the entire length of your garage door. Wondering where to buy sandbags?
First, lay down the poly plastic and fold it about 12" high up the garage door. Then, lay the sandbags on the poly.
Refer to this guide on how to properly stack sandbags to create a water dam.
Many of us have doorways leading out of the ground-level and basements of our home.
Unfortunately, this is one of the most common points of floodwater entry and a big culprit of basement flooding. If your home has a walkout basement patio, preparing a means to flood-proof this door is extremely important.
The problem with many doors is the lack of a water-proof seal at the bottom, which is the same reason we get drafts of air through our homes.
It is no surprise that household basements are the most flood-prone areas of the home.
Some common causes of a flooded basement includes: leaky basement windows, improper sealing on basement floors and walls, plumbing leaks, damaged water supply line, and improperly installed downspouts.
That is why you want to make sure to thoroughly and carefully inspect your basement and its foundation to identify areas where floodwater could potentially seep through.
Before entering, evaluate how much water there is in the basement.
If the basement is flooded with water, do not step foot inside because it could be dangerous if any electrical appliances come into contact with the water.
Call a professional for additional assistance instead.
To aid flood protection and mitigate water damage, install and use sandless sandbags as a quick solution to absorb, block and divert water before it has the chance to get to the level that could come into the basement.
The foundation cracks allow cold air and moisture to enter your home. This can cause harm to the walls, floors, and electrical systems of your home.
The impact of rapid flow of water to your home weakens the structure of your home.
Large cracks in the foundation can cause your home to become unstable, resulting in a risk of collapse.
Once again, we suggest sandbags for flooding and poly wraps to secure the base of your house. Not only are they cost-effective, but they are also an extremely reliable way to cover any cracks and gaps in the foundation.
Aside from external flooding, basement flooding from internal sources like damaged water heaters and burst pipes must also be considered.
Be sure to check your boiler room and have a plan to isolate it should emergency indoor flooding occur. For indoor flooding, a number of great products exist.
Check out this list of the best flood barriers (our Quik-Response Self-Expanding Sandbags are on the list).
Looking for sandbags for sale in Canada?
Household flood prevention starts with you.
Being prepared and identifying ways to protect problematic areas of your home will minimize the chances of expensive floodwater damages to your home.
Visit our blog for more flood prevention tips !
QUIK-RESPONSE ™ Self-Expanding Sandbags
How many sandbags do I need to build a flood barrier?
According to Public Safety Canada, flooding is the costliest natural hazard in the country.
With overland flood insurance failing Canadians, protecting your own property is more important than ever. How can we prevent flood water damages?
Use these 35 tips to protect your property from expensive floodwater damages:
1. Raise your home on stilts or piers
2. Install foundation vents
3. Apply coatings and sealants
4. Raise your electrical outlets and switches
5. Install check valves on your pipes
6. Grade your landscape away from the house
7. Make space between your mulch and siding
8. Point your downspouts away from your home
9. Repair or replace your roof if shingles are deteriorating or missing
10. Elevate & anchor outdoor equipment
11. Seal up any cracks in your foundation
12. Buy a battery-powered sump pump
13. Relocate your valuables to higher ground
14. Install a flood sensor
15. Have sewer or septic line check valves installed
16. Clear out all gutters and drains to maximize drainage water flow
17. Utilize sand bags to block water from contacting your home
18. Use water-resistant barriers
19. Use airbrick covers
20. Install flood resistant doors and windows
21. Dig french drains and route to a sump pump in the basement
22. Install flood boards
23. Seal your floors with tanking
24. Varnish your skirting boards
25. Repair sidewalks, patios, decks and driveways
26. Landscape your yard with plants and vegetation that will minimize soil erosion
27. In the winter, clear snow away from the home’s foundation.
28. Utilize window well covers
29. Ensure downspouts extend at least three feet away from your home
30. Use a rain barrel to catch runoff.
31. Repair/replace your roof if shingles are deteriorating or missing
32. Trim Overhanging Trees
33. Mount high shelves for storing valuable items
34. Install a flood-proof door
35. Buy flood insurance
And there you have it!
35 great ways to protect your home from flooding.
Which tip are you going to try first?
If you're looking for quick, easy and convenient flood protection, check out Quik-Response .
Having your own business is a capstone achievement that one can pursue in his/her life.
Large amounts of money and time are invested to ensure that the business will be viable and operate smoothly in both the short & long term.
As such, it makes sense to safeguard this investment.
The bad news?
Believe it or not, around 3,785 businesses in Canada were affected by floods in 2019.
The interesting thing to note is that flooding does not occur only in the area near rivers or the coasts, but it can happen anywhere.
Therefore, flooding is considered an urgent issue, and deserves your attention to ensure the safety of your business.
You might not be aware that only one inch of flood water can create immense damage to your business.
It affects not only your physical business settings such as buildings, factories, or warehouses, but also impairs the ability to operate your business and causes a delay in operation. Delay in operation means delay in serving your customers and generating revenue.
There are also additional expenses required to repair and get your business back to normal operation. As a result, a plan must be put in place to prepare your business for an unexpected natural disaster.
Sewer backup occurs when the normal flow of wastewater from your property to the city's sanitary sewer becomes blocked. There are a number of factors that contribute to sewage backup:
These are the most common ways that floodwater will enter your home or business.
The question is ...
How Can You Protect Your Business From A Flood water Disaster?
It is best to prepare an emergency plan for your business to cope with unexpected flooding in your area.
The plan is not complex and does not require a large amount of time to prepare. We recommend the following preparations for your flood protection plan.
There are several ways that you can protect your business from flooding.
However, you should keep in mind that your flood protection solutions should be easy to use, quick to deploy, and do not require too much storage space.
We have gathered some flood protection tools for you to choose from depending on your business needs.
Self-expanding sandbags are a water-activated alternative to traditional sandbags.
They require no sand, no setup, and can be deployed 6x faster than normal sandbags, making them an ideal water dam choice for business owners looking to prevent intrusive water damage.
Flood gates are normally installed to protect your business entrance.
The size and height of flood gates varies depending on your business's entrance points.
These gates come in both portable and permanent options to choose from. This portable option can be setup in less than 15 minutes.
Purchasing or leasing a sump pump is another great way to protect your business. It is ideal to connect your pump to the battery backup, so it can immediately start pumping flood water during power outages. It is ideal to regularly check your backup power system to ensure that it is working properly.
Overland flood insurance can help insure losses from a water-damaged business.
The water must be caused from intrusive floodwater that enters through doors & windows or was caused by storm water, overflowing lakes, rivers or ponds.
Usually, overland flood protection is not included in a normal home insurance policy, so be sure to inquire about it with your insurance provider.
Follow these steps, and you can minimize losses to your businesses caused by flooding disasters!
For more information on protecting your property, check out our flood blog!
A flood wall is used to stop the flow of intrusive floodwater and direct it away from a property.
Most commonly, flood walls are made from stacking sandbags.
Sandbags offer simple & effective flood protection, but only if you stack them properly.
Remember, the idea of sandbagging is to divert water away your property, not to create a dam.
Attempting to stop the flow of water dead in its tracks is a losing battle.
Keep that in mind when considering the angle of your sandbag barrier.
First, you're going to need to fill and tie a bunch of 3/4-full sandbags.
If using sandless sandbags, you can skip this step.
Next, lay the first bag parallel to the expected flow of water and debris, then lay the next bag over the fold of the first bag so that they partially overlap with each other.
Stamp them down firmly with your knees as you repeat the process of laying each sandbag. Compressing the sand and flattening the sandbag will create a tighter seal.
If using sandless, self-expanding sandbags, you can skip this step. The gel-polymer in sandless sandbags automatically forms a tight seal.
A single-width sandbag wall works well in most situations, but should not be stacked higher than 3 units-tall (About 1 foot in height).
If you’re dealing with more water than that, its best to use the pyramid stacking method.
To create a pyramid berm, determine the height and length of your desired pyramid wall.
Then use this handy tool to determine how many sandbags you need to build your wall.
Once you've determined how many bags you need, roll up your sleeves and begin filling & tying the required number of sandbags.
It's quite a time-consuming process, so grab 2 or 3 friends to lend you a hand.
If using sandless sandbags, you can skip this step because these sandbags require no filling or tying.
As mentioned before, don't aim to stop the flow of water, but rather use your sandbag wall to divert the flow of water away from your property.
If you're working in a confined space & unable to divert the flow of water, you'll have to take extra precautions to prevent the water from pooling-up and flowing into the foundation of your home.
To do this, you'll need a roll of polypropylene plastic:
Tape the poly-plastic sheeting to climb at least two feet up the wall of the building you are trying to protect.
Then, stack the sandbags tightly against the poly and fold the excess under the sandbags. You can also thread the poly-wrap vertically through your sandbag wall for even tighter protection.
Once again, if using sandless sandbags, this step isn't necessary. The gel-polymer inside these sandbags forms a much tighter seal than normal sand-filled sandbags.
Filling & tying sandbags is time consuming, so be proactive, have all of your dike-building supplies on hand and begin construction BEFORE the flooding occurs.
Use this calculator to see how long does it take to fill sandbags.
Failing to build your water dam wall in time can result in thousands of dollars in damages to your property. Use this flood water damage cost calculator to see how much.
It's not easy to predict when a flood will strike.
If you're worried about not setting up your sandbag barrier in time, use Quik-Response self-expanding sandbags. They require no filling or tying and can be deployed in minutes by one or two individuals.
Use polyethylene sheeting that is at least 5 mm thick.
If your dike is going to be taller than three-feet high, you can strengthen it by digging a trench one-sandbag deep and laying your first layer of bags in the trench.
Remove any debris between your dike and the ground before building. This will ensure a tight seal and stop water from seeping through the barrier.
Follow these instructions and you can successfully prevent water and debris from damaging your property.
Want to know more about household water damage?
These are 6 things that every Canadian homeowner should know.
QUIK-RESPONSE ™ Self-Expanding Sandbags
How many sandbags do I need to build a flood barrier?
Looking to purchase sandbags to prevent flooding and to protect your property?
There are many types and kinds of sandbags, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Some sandbags have shorter longevity (lifespan) than others, and some are used for indoor or outdoor purposes.
In this article, we focus on emergency sandbag use and how each different sandbag type compares.
Woven Polypropylene is a surprisingly light-weight yet strong material. These durable, circular, woven polypropylene bags are UV stabilized, weaved, and sewn tightly.
Because polypropylene is made of tightly woven fabric, it prevents sifting which keeps the sand inside the bag. Also, they are puncture resistant.
They provide an economical solution for flood mitigation and erosion control. However, they are not biodegradable and therefore must be disposed of properly.
Polypopylene is most often used for commercial purposes such as highway barriers, including many other traffic and construction applications.
In stores, they are sold in bales of 1000, weighing around 40 pounds when filled with sand and can hold up to 50 pounds of water.
If you are looking for a strong, durable sandbag material, look into Nylon.
Nylon sandbags are made of urethane. Urethane makes nylon sandbags highly efficient for water repellent and dust control. It also has double stitched seams which contribute to its durability.
Although they are not as robust as polypropylene sandbags, nylon sandbags have a puncture strength of up to 1200 p.s.i. and can also hold up to 50 pounds in capacity.
Its extreme water repellent capability makes it a great choice for indoor flood control use.
Burlap/ Jute bags are often the most commonly used sandbags since they are easily accessible and low in cost.
Burlap/ Jute bags are organic, eco-friendly, and 100% biodegradable sandbags. Its stitching and ties make them extremely durable and strong.
This material also lasts through strenuous weather conditions exceptionally well and is able to absorb water and allow airflow at the same time.
Jute is often a go-to choice for outdoor flood protection, such as traffic control, local roads, and the garage of homes.
If burlap/ jute sandbags are properly stored, they can be used several years later.
Burlap/ jute sandbags are also able to hold up to 50 pounds of water and form an ideal water dam.
High- Density Polyethylene (HDP)
Sandbags made of high- density polyethylene are very long-lasting. High- density polyethylene plastic is extremely strong allowing it to retain a lot of liquid without distorting its original shape.
They are also weather resistant and capable of carrying extreme weight while remaining flexible.
The heavy- duty material also allows the sandbags to be UV protected enabling the sandbags to last 1-2 years compared to traditional sandbags where they only last up to 6 months.
High-density Polyethylene sandbags can hold up to 70 pounds of water and are mainly used for erosion and flood control.
Sandbags come in so many different forms and sizes. Depending on your situation, you can choose one type of sandbag over another.
It is important to also know how to correctly use, store, and dispose sandbags. This enables you to be able to use the sandbags to its full capability. And most importantly, to divert water from your property to avoid costly damages.
Using sandbags is just one part of the flood prevention process. To learn more about how to properly prepare for a flood, check out our helpful flood safety guide.
Sandbag barriers are an effective and very-commonly used method for protecting property against flooding.
In recent years, a number of alternatives to the traditional sandbag have emerged- including sandless sandbags.
These self-expanding, sandless sandbags utilize a polymer substance that expands in both size and mass when exposed to water.
Faster Preparation Time
Faster Deployment (6x faster)
No Sand Required
Easier to Store
Save On Labor Costs
Save On Transportation Costs
These are some of the main benefits of using sandless sandbags over normal, sand-filled sandbags for flood protection barriers.
Looking to protect your property from flooding?
Identify and protect these 6 areas of your home NOW.
QUIK-RESPONSE ™ Self-Expanding Sandbags
How many sandbags do I need to build a flood barrier?
"Is it necessary to pre-activate my Quik-Response Self-Expanding Sandbags or can I use the floodwater?"
It's one the of the most common questions we receive.
In most cases, we certainly recommend that you pre-activate your Quik-response Self-Expanding Sandbags.
A flood barrier is only effective if it is set up BEFORE the flooding occurs.
Remember, the whole purpose of building a flood protection dike is to divert water away from your property, so it makes sense to have the barrier setup beforehand.
If left un-activated, there is no guarantee that the floodwater won't simply carry-away the un-activated units. It's not certain that this would happen, but why even risk the water damages to your home?
If you don't have time to fully activate your units, you can also partially activate Quik-Response.
This takes anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute and will allow Quik-Response to gain enough mass so that it wont be swept away by the flood current.
Then, the bags will continue to grow as they are subjected to more and more floodwater. This can be especially convenient in flash flood scenarios and other instances where time is of the essence.
One thing to consider when partially-activating your Quik-response units is to consider the magnitude of the impending flood.
Always activate Quik-Response to a mass large enough that they wont be swept away by the floodwater.
Instances when pre-activation is not necessary:
In some flood situations, such as internal basement flooding, you can use un-activated Quik-Response bags to absorb water.
You can also place un-activated units under pipes to act as an absorbent mat should any leakage occur.
These instances aside, we recommend that you always activate (or at least partially-activate) your Quik-Response Self-Expanding Sandbags.
Remember, QUIK-RESPONSE is activated by the presence of water.
Pre-activate your units in the following ways:
Submerge bags in water for 3-5 minutes. (Recommended)
Flooding often occurs near rivers, lakes & coasts.
You can use this water to pre-activate your Quik-Response units.
If at home, use a Tupperware tote or any other basin filled with a few gallons of water.
Hose down bags until fully expanded
Most of us have a hose or water spout located outside of our homes. Hosing down Quik-Response takes a little longer than the submersing the bags, but it is one of the most convenient methods .
Simply turn on your hose and evenly wet each unit of Quik-Response until complete activation is achieved.
If a sufficient amount is available, use on-site floodwater to activate bags
As mentioned before, if using this method, be sure that there is a sufficient amount of water present for the bags to activate and the flood current isn't strong enough to carry away the un-activated units.
Remember, proactive preparations is key for successully protecting a proeprty from flooding.
Likewise, a flood barrier is only effective if it is built in-place BEFORE the flooding occurs.
Follow the above steps and pre-activate your Quik-Response sandless sandbags!
Quik-Response self-expanding sandbags are one of the most innovative flood barriers on the market.
Whether you're a current Quik-Response user or are looking for more information about Quik-Response, this post will go over some of the things you should and should not do with your sandless sandbags!
Pre-activate units before stacking
Follow proper stacking procedures when using Quik-Response sandbags
Build your emergency flood barrier at an angle
Store Quik-Response in it's original packaging
On unsealed/porous surfaces, use polyethylene sheeting that is at least 5 mm thick
When it comes to floods, don't procrastinate
Don't cut open the Quik-Response bag
Don't stack Quik-Response vertically
Follow these rules, and you'll effectively protect your property from emergency floodwater damages with Quik-Response Self-Expanding Sandbags.
What is a sump pump?
A sump pump protects your home from flooding resulting from heavy rains, rising waters, overland flooding, and even internal flooding sources - leaking/burst pipes, a catastrophic washing machine failure, or a drainage backup that leaves behind enormous repair costs and structural damages. It's important to know which of the different types of sumps pumps best fits your needs.
How does a sump pump work?
Sump pumps move water from your basement out of your home. A sump is a naturally constructed pit, typically a hole carved below the main surface of your basement floor. This pit holds the pump. The pump is equipped with valves that sense rising water levels or pressure. When the water gets too high, sump pumps automatically pump excess water out of the basement and away from your property using a discharge line. This line connects the sump pump to a designated drainage area located far away from the building.
Where should a sump pump drain to?
Sump pump water discharges to a designated area, such as a dry well, a creek or pond, or even a neighbourhood drain. Be careful not to set your drain point somewhere that water will return to your home. Ideally, keep the pump 10 to 20 feet away from the foundation. Some cities have building codes that determine where your sump pump can drain, so it is always best to check.
Submersible sump pumps
Submersible pumps contain the pump and motor in one unit. They sit submerged and closed inside a basin in your basement. Because submersible pumps are completely submerged in the water basin, they are often quieter, save space in your basement, and clog less than a pedestal.
Pedestal sump pumps
Unlike a submersible sump pump, a pedestal sump pump consists of a separate motor and pump. The motor sits on a pedestal above the basin, with a hose running to the hole where the pump is placed. Because the motor is not submerged, it often has a higher lifespan than other sump pumps and can be accessed easier for maintenance issues. However, it also means it can be louder and take up more space than the submersible pump.
A battery backup pump is a great way to provide some extra security from flood damage. A battery backup with a float switch allows your sump pump to operate even when your power is out during a storm when you need it the most. If your power goes out during a storm, your sump pump will also lose power. If you live in an area where you lose power frequently, a battery backup is a good idea.
Selecting the right sump pump is very important for the safety of your home. Choose a pump with enough horsepower to handle your level of flooding. If you select a sump pump with a lower horsepower than necessary for the amount of flooding in your area, you're still at risk for flooding. At the same time, a higher horsepower than necessary will cause cycling, turning on and off repeatedly, which lowers the lifespan of the pump.
While many preventative measure are possible to take care of or install on your own, some waterproofing jobs, like installing weeping tile, are very labour-intensive and may require the expertise a professional waterproofing company can provide. Below is a guide explaining everything you need to know about weeping tile - weeping tile is great way to prevent gradual flooding in your home.
What is weeping tile?
It’s nothing fancy, but it sure is effective! Weeping tiles are porous pipes used to divert underground water. Originally, terracotta tiles were used, but modern products are plastic pipes with weep holes or small slits designed to redirect water away from the home. These pipes are installed near the foundation of the home. If you don’t already have weeping tile, installation will require digging up the ground near your home to install.
If your building gets water in the basement annually (often the spring thaw can result in minor flooding) or you are at a low elevation relative to your surroundings, you may want to consider having weeping tile installed.
As gross as it sounds, sewer flooding affects homeowners year round and can cause enormous damage to a structure. We’ve gathered a few sewer flood preventative tips:
Part of flood prevention includes being prepared for a flood that is out of your control. Not all floods can be prevented on an individual scale, but knowing what to do should a flood occur is a great way to prevent unnecessary damage as a result of being ill-prepared.
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