Be prepared for rain

A little rain doesn't need to cause worry. B&Q has plenty of ideas to help you prepare for wet weather and make the most of a rainy day, from protecting your home to harvesting this valuable resource to keep your garden in bloom.

A lot of rain, however, can cause a lot of worry. Extreme weather conditions can cause serious damage to your home and in turn create unexpected costs and hassle. We're here to help with simple steps that can be taken to avoid problems like these.


Gutters are an essential part of your roofing system. The purpose of the gutter is to collect and funnel away any water that lands on the roof. Gutters are important as they take water away from the building's foundations, protect your exterior surfaces, and stop water from entering the home.

Check the guttering outside your home isn't broken or leaking, and clear out any leaves or other debris. This will reduce the risk of blockages during heavy rain.

Blockages will cause your guttering to overflow, causing all sorts of problems for your home.

If water penetrates your home, woodwork can perish, mould will begin to grow, condensation forms and erode brickwork. Damp patches quickly spread and health problems can become an issue.

If you're worried about blockages, there are preventative steps you can take.

Tight-fitting wire mesh or plastic caps are available to fit most types of downpipe. They allow water through but trap leaves and dirt.

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Top Tip

You might want to consider cutting back any over-hanging trees as the autumn fall of leaves will most likely cause blockages and guttering problems every year

If your guttering is broken, or new guttering needs to be installed, we can help with our handy guide to installing guttering.

Secure your roof

Don't wait until water is unexpectedly pouring into your home by way of a leaky roof. Start protecting your home by using some simple observation skills.

Make sure your roof is in good condition - walk around your home's exterior, inspecting the roof from the ground for signs of damage, sagging, and aging. Take notes of any possible problem areas, or areas in need of closer inspection. Check particularly for loose or missing tiles and for any cracks in the chimney. Missing roof tiles means your roof is directly exposed to adverse weather conditions.

Hire a professional roofing contractor to patch up any gaps you might find.

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Sheds & storage

Garden equipment and power tools can be seriously damaged by wet weather. To keep your furniture looking its very best for longer, store it in dry conditions and ensure that all pieces are fully dry before putting away.

If you've already invested in a shed but are concerned about weatherproofing, it's worth felting the roof of your shed if you want your garden equipment, tools and other appliances to stay in good condition.

We can help you get started with our video guide to felting a shed roof.

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Safety first

Do not use ladders during adverse weather conditions.

Always have someone holding the ladder at the bottom.


If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain you should look into applying a water sealant to your wooden garden furniture. This will save you rushing to cover furniture every time rain is forecast.

Water sealant will keep the beautiful look of your wood while also giving it the protection it needs. It will not only protect your furniture from the liquids outside, but it will also allow the wood within the sealant to evaporate in order to avoid splitting, rotting, and warping.

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Barbecue covers

If you've not already put your barbecue away for the winter, make sure you safely store it away before the rain to prevent rust occurring. If you've not got somewhere to store it, a waterproof barbecue cover can work just as well.

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Don't let the outside in

Check your roof from the inside to be sure there's no issues. Grab a torch and take a trip to the attic to check for any potential problems.

Things to look for from the inside, are:

  1. Places where the roof is sagging
  2. Signs of water damage or leaking
  3. Dark spots and trails
  4. Outside light showing through the roof.

If you stumble across any of the above, it could be an issue. It's worth contacting a professional for some expert advice.

Draught proofing

Prevent rain, wind & dirt coming into your home with our range of rain boards. Just attach to the bottom of your door to deflect rain and dirt.

Also available for the bottom of doors, are brush seals. Sealing against smoke, odours, draughts, dust, insects and light, brush seals are attached to the bottom of doors that experience particularly heavy usage, such as front doors. Brush strip sealing is perfect for solving draught problems, and particularly good for retaining heat in the home and lowering heating bills.

For more draught proof seals that will protect your home from the elements shop all draught excluders.


When the rain starts, it's usually a sign that we're entering into a period of bad weather. Some simple rain can soon become gale force winds and thunder storms. Insulating hot water tanks and pipes will help keep your water hot for that nice long bath after a day battling the elements. It will also protect your pipes if you're unlucky enough to experience extreme weather, such as flooding.

Check that your heating system is working properly; it's a good idea to get it serviced before wet, windy and cold weather set in.

Make sure you know how to turn off the water, gas and electricity. You may need to do this in an emergency, so be prepared. If you live in a flat, your water supply may come from outside your flat, so make sure you know where it is.

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Wet weather gardening

Wet weather is part and parcel of gardening in the UK, but there are numerous problems that wet weather can cause in the garden.

Waterlogged soil

When soil is waterlogged, plants can drown. Water fills all the air spaces between the soil particles and this prevents oxygen from reaching the roots. This causes the soil to stagnate and prevents root growth.

Soil compaction

When waterlogged soil is walked on or driven over, the soil becomes compacted and drainage gets worse.


Waterlogging and compaction can create ideal conditions for diseases such as phytopthora and other fungal attacks.

Problem solving:

  • Do not walk on wet soil because this aggravates compaction
  • Dig up waterlogged plants in pots, remove damaged parts of roots and replant in fresh, free-draining compost
  • Remove any dead or dying shoots

Problem prevention:

  • Apply mulch over the root area
  • Feed during the growing season to encourage new root growth
  • Water regularly in dry spells because plants are more prone to drought stress after prolonged periods of waterlogging
  • In clay soil, use plenty of organic matter and horticultural grit before planting to improve soil structure and drainage
  • Gently break down the sides of planting holes with a fork
  • With free-draining soil, add organic matter to bulk up the soil and add nutrients, which would be washed away in heavy rains
  • Build raised beds and fill with well-drained topsoil
  • Install a drainage system or soakaway. Dig ditches filled with gravel to drain water away from the garden or talk to a builder about a pipe drainage system if the problem is more extreme
  • Do not over water pot plants

If you live in an area that's prone to a lot of rain in early Autumn, and you're planting a lot of seeds, it may be worth investing in a cold frame or grow house. The protective area will extend the growing season, as well as help maintain temperatures and keep vermin at bay.

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Top tip

A rain gauge can be useful to check how much water your plants have been exposed to, and asses the needs of your garden.

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Make the most of it

If poor drainage, flooding and waterlogging are persistent problems, it could be worth rethinking your planting scheme. Choose shrubs, trees and perennials that thrive in wet soil.

Trees and shrubs that do well in moist conditions include salix, cornus, betula, sambucus, liquidambar, ash and amelanchier.

Create a bog garden, which is good also for attracting wildlife. Plant irises, carex, gunnera, primulas, hostas, rheum and rodgersia.

If you are planning to lay a lawn, ensure the ground is not compacted and dig in plenty of organic matter, grit and sand before laying turf or sowing seeds.

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Utilising the rain

Water is one of our most vital resources; it's too precious to waste.

Keep your garden in bloom by using bark on flower beds, which helps to retain moisture while feeding the earth.

Installing a water butt and a handy rain water kit for your greenhouse will help you to store and recycle water for your garden with ease.

Not only is rainwater free, but it is better for plants than tap water as it contains more nutrients. Rainwater will not leave limescale deposits or increase the alkalinity of the soil. The best way to collect rainwater is in a water butt connected to a downpipe.

Water butts are inexpensive and easy to install. Beat those hose pipe bans and keep your metered water bills down by using free rainwater in your garden.

We can help you get started with our video guide to installing a water butt.

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Be prepared for pests

Our often wet, mild weather sees slugs and snails arrive in their thousands and with gardens coming into bloom they're last thing that gardeners want to see on their patch.

So, a quick fix to keep gardens looking their best and slug and snail free is to pick up a pack of slug pellets. They'll kill both creatures and will keep plants looking their best.

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For expert advice on coping with wet conditions visit our YouTube channel and search 'garden'.

If you live in an area that's likely to flood, it's important to be prepared. Floodwaters can rise very quickly, so don't wait until a flood warning is issued - this may not give you enough time to get things ready.

Here are some simple things you can do to prepare:

  • Make sure your buildings and contents insurance covers you for flood damage and keep the details of your insurance policies somewhere safe and handy.
  • Keep valuable items and documents in waterproof bags and store them upstairs or in high places.
  • Make sure you know how to turn off the gas, electricity and water at the mains - remember, you may have to do this in the dark, so make sure you know where your torch is kept and always make sure you have some spare batteries handy too.
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Protect your home

Invest in some sandbags, vent guards or other flood protection, to help keep water out. Make sure everyone in your household knows where they are stored and how to use them.

  • Self-inflating hydro sacks

    Sandbags have long been used to block doorways, drains and other openings into properties as well as to weigh-down manhole covers, garden furniture and to block sinks, toilet and bath drains to prevent water backing up.

    They can keep water out for short periods which can be improved by using them in conjunction with plastic sheeting. However, they are difficult and time consuming to fill.

    Hydro Sack is the new, modern method to create a highly effective barrier to the threat of flood water. Within minutes each Hydro Sack can absorb up to 20 litres of water, which will not be released even when punctured. When built into layers, the Hydro Sack wall produces a highly effective barrier to flood water. Owing to their suppleness, they fit into openings and door-wells snugly, improving their flood prevention qualities.

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Placing sandbags

  • Clear any debris from the area where the bags are to be placed.
  • If you can, put a large sheet of heavy-duty plastic or tarpaulin between the hydro sacks and the wall of your house.
  • Place the bags lengthways, and position pointing into the direction of water flow.
  • Place bags in layers. Like a brick wall, make sure that in the next layer each bag overlaps the one below by half.
  • Stamp bags firmly into place to eliminate gaps and create a tight seal.

Classic hessian sandbags are also available at B&Q

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In areas prone to flooding, your local council may even issue you with sandbags. Don't forget that in an emergency you can make your own sandbags by filling pillowcases with sand or earth.

Safety first

Filling classic sandbags and building a wall is a physically demanding activity so it is important that all those involved are fit enough to carry out the work.

Create a barrier to hold back flood water

Floodstop Flood Barriers, once connected together, rapidly deploy an effective flood barrier to any length.

The plastic Hub fills with flood water and combined with the weighted Hub Keys, means that an assembled barrier will always be denser than the flood water. No bolting to the ground is required and when the waters recede, the units empty themselves and become light enough to be carried away.

It is recommended that every 4th Floodstop unit is pre-filled with water before use.

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In flood prone areas, the weakest points of the, such as doors, need extra protection.

Floodtite Flood Door Panels stop flood water entering your home in times of a flood. Once the fixing frame is permanently fitted to the doorframe, the Door Panel can be quickly and easily installed using the T-handle screws supplied. The Door Panels are available in 5 widths, making them suitable for almost all door openings.

The fixing frame is also paintable, allowing it to blend with the colour of the doorframe, making it almost invisible when a Panel is not required.

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Prevent flood damage

If your home is prone to flooding, store items you don't regularly use in the loft.

Shelving units and storage boxes may help in maximising your storage space - get ahead by laying loft boards.

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Fix audio visual equipment, such as your TV and radio, to the wall about 1.5m above floor level.

Buy extra large, sealable bags or tarpaulin to protect items that are difficult to move, such as large electrical goods and sofas.

Make an emergency kit

  • Essential medication
  • Drinking water and non-perishable food (and a tin opener!)
  • Camping stove, kettle for boiling water, and matches
  • List of useful numbers, such as your local council, your insurance company and local emergency services
  • Note of personal information such as your bank details, insurance policies and national insurance numbers
  • Essential items for children, such as nappies, baby food, clean clothes and toys
  • Food and bedding for your pets
  • A Torch & extra batteries
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Fully-charged mobile phone. Shop our range of battery powered smartphone chargers
  • Rubber gloves, boots and waterproof clothing
  • First aid kit and disinfectant
  • Blankets

An emergency plan

Think about what you would do in an emergency. Discuss the plan with your family or housemates, so that everyone knows what to do.

  • If you have a car, where would you move it?
  • If you need to leave your home, where would you go and how would you get there? What would you do to secure your home before you leave?
  • What would you need to do before you leave?
  • Make a list of essential items (aside from your emergency kit) you’d need to take, such as important personal documents
  • How would you keep your pets safe? If you have to move, would they be able to stay with you, or would you have to make other arrangements.

What to do during a flood

When flooding starts you should stay somewhere safe and be careful. It is your responsibility to look after yourself and your family during a flood.

  • Don’t leave your home unless you have to.
  • Don’t try to walk or drive through floodwater.
  • Phone Floodline on 0845 988 1188 for the latest flooding information in your area.
  • Avoid contact with floodwater - it may becontaminated.
  • Tune into local TV and radio for the latestupdates.

Look out for neighbours that may be old or vulnerable, they may need help

Did you know...?

You can sign up to receive flood warnings at Floodline Warnings Direct. This free service will alert you by phone, text, email or fax if there are any local flood risks and give you time to prepare. For further advice call Floodline on 08459881188 (service available in England, Wales and Scotland).

Other useful services include:

Call charges apply. See website for details.