As Hurricane Earl barreled up the East Coast in 2010, Virginians can be taking some precautionary measures to prevent costly damage to their homes due to potential coastal flooding. In fact, according to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in Virginia. Just one inch of water can result in $8,000 in clean-up including replacing drywall, baseboards, floor coverings, furniture and some utilities and heating equipment.
JES, a local engineering solutions company specializing in basement and crawl space waterproofing, offers these tips to help reduce some of the costly damages caused by flooding:
- Remove obstructions and debris from gutters and downspouts so water flows freely.
- Make sure downspouts are extended at least 7 – 10 feet away from the foundation.
- If the soil around your foundation is pitched towards the foundation, add dirt so that the soil slopes away. Do not use sand or mulch since water flows right through these materials and keep the dirt as least four inches down from the siding.
- Eliminate any low lying areas of soil which will allow water to run back to the foundation.
- Remove any personal property from below grade spaces that you do not want to get wet.
- Check that your sump pump is working properly by filling the sump with water. The pump should come on before the sump overflows. Since power outages are common with hurricanes, consider having an automatic back-up sump pump that is powered by a battery designed for long term standby use.
- If your home is located in a flood plain, replace air vents with flood vents which are designed to relieve the water pressure more quickly when the space is flooded.
Jesse Waltz, a Professional Engineer and a 1985 Virginia Military Institute graduate, is the founder of JES Foundation Repair. JES is a regional foundation repair, crawl space and basement waterproofing company with locations in Virginia Beach, Richmond and Northern Virginia.
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