A little rain doesn't need to cause worry, it's a 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.
Tools & materials required
Protecting the outside of your home from the elements is the first step in preparing for bad weather. Consider the condition of your roof and gutters to evaluate whether any repairs need to be made, and store away garden furniture and tools.
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.
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, taking water away from the building's foundations, protecting your exterior surfaces and stopping water from entering the home.
If water penetrates your home, woodwork can perish, mould will begin to grow, condensation forms and brickwork will erode. Damp patches quickly spread and health problems can become an issue.
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, which can cause your guttering to overflow and create all sorts of problems for your home.
To reduce the risk of 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.
Do not use ladders during adverse weather conditions and when you are using a ladder always secure it or have someone holding the ladder at the bottom.
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.
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 checking the condition of felting on the roof. If it looks tired or damaged, consider replacing the felt to help keep garden equipment, tools and other appliances dry.
We can help you get started with our video guide to felting a shed roof.
Garden furniture & barbecues
Garden furniture is often subject to sharp showers and heavy downfalls, which can cause damage over time. Look to apply a waterproofing treatment to wooden garden furniture - which will keep the beautiful look of your wood while also giving it the protection it needs. It will protect your furniture from the liquids outside, in order to avoid splitting, rotting, and warping.
If your barbecue often sits outside on the patio, rather than tucked away in the shed, consider a waterproof cover. For the best protection, safely store your barbecue, once cool, in a shed or garage to prevent rust occurring.
Once the outside of your home is prepared, follow these simple tips to make sure that your home is protected from the inside out.
Don't let the outside in
Check your roof from the inside to be sure there are 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:
- Places where the roof is sagging
- Signs of water damage or leaking
- Dark spots and trails
- 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.
Prevent rain, wind and dirt coming into your home with our range of rain bars and deflectors. 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.
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 sets 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.
Preparing for extreme wet weather
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.
Protect your home using sandbags and hydro sacks
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.
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 time and their performance can be improved by using them in conjunction with plastic sheeting. However, they are difficult and time consuming to fill.
Hydro Sack is a new, modern method that creates 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.
If you need to use sandbags or hydro sacks around your home, it is important to know how to use them effectively. Follow these steps to help make the most of these as a flood barrier;
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Preparing an emergency kit for your household will help to save time and worry in case of extreme weather. Keep your kit somewhere easy to access and make sure that everyone in your home knows how to find it.
- 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 and extra batteries
- Battery-powered radio
- Fully-charged mobile phone
- Rubber gloves, boots and waterproof clothing
- First aid kit and disinfectant
- 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
If 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 be contaminated.
- Tune into local TV and radio for the latest updates.
- 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). Call charges apply. See website for details.
Other useful services include:
www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood (England & Wales)
www.flooding.ie (Republic of Ireland)