Water, Water Everywhere: How to Prevent Flood Damage

by Jon Nunan

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Flood Facts
According to HomeAdvisor.com (an online resource matching homeowners to contractors in their area), when compared to the figures for this time last year, requests for water removal service have increased by 447.8 percent!

The Insurance Information Institute states: "Flood damage is excluded under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies."

A 2005 article on CNNMoney.com states that: "Every year, flooding causes more than $2 billion of property damage in the U.S." and "In a high risk area, your home has a 26 percent chance of being damaged by a flood during the course of a 30-year mortgage, compared to a 9 percent chance of fire."

Since floods and flash floods occur in all 50 states, homeowners all over the country can benefit by making sure their homes are as prepared as they can be!

Retaining Walls
Residential retaining walls are generally meant to hold soil in place and prevent erosion. When properly placed and designed, retaining walls can also deter flood water and protect your property. Their cost (installing a masonry retaining wall averages over $5,000) can be prohibitive for many homeowners; unless you have experienced lots of trouble with flooding, it might be better to consider other options first.

Clean Your Gutters
On the cheaper side of preventing water damage and flooding is gutter cleaning. Gutters, though often overlooked, can be a great benefit but only if they are properly maintained. Clean gutter systems are designed to carry water to an area where it will create the least damage. On the other hand, clogged gutters don't just perform poorly, they have been linked to erosion, basement flooding, and even foundation damage. At an average cost of $191 nationwide, having your gutters cleaned is one of the most affordable ways to reduce the risk of water damage.

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Flood Damage

Get an Inspection
Even capable do-it-yourselfers may not have the knowledge necessary to predict how their home will perform under flood conditions. Hiring a professional to inspect your home can identify areas where water damage is likely and help you to better fortify your property. A general home inspection averages $324.

Permeable Paving
Conventional asphalt and concrete pavement blocks water from naturally seeping into the ground. To counter this effect, consider using permeable pavement, paving stones, or grasspave. If you really want to save some money and reduce runoff at the same time, skip the paving all together and opt for gravel fill instead (residential asphalt paving averages $4,704; gravel fill averages less than $1,000).

Sump Pumps
Sump pumps are basically the last line of defense against excess water. When ground water rises to a critical point, a sump pump begins to divert that water away from your home where it won't harm your property. While installing a sump pump is not an infallible defense against flooding, when precipitation threatens property damage, the average investment of $866 could save you thousands!

Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.