How to strengthen your home's foundation against flood damage

Posted on: 26 September 2018

If you live in a flood-prone area, your foundation may need extra strength against floodwaters. The foundation should also be strengthened against storm surges, strong winds, and heavy flows of water. In this way, your home is likely to experience less damage when a hurricane or tornado strikes.

There are several ways through which you can strengthen your home's foundation. Some foundation work is more complex than others, so make sure you determine the level of strength that your property needs.

1. Attaching exterior walls

A common way of strengthening your foundation is to attach exterior walls. A contractor can drill anchor bolts into your foundation and attach them using metal connectors. The anchor bolts should attach your walls firmly to the foundation for maximum strength.

For the strongest connection, make sure all wall studs are firmly secured to your sill plates. This method is effective because the foundation enjoys more support from the walls of your home. It also reduces the likelihood of floodwaters inundating your foundation and causing extensive damage.

When considering wall-to-foundation connectors (such as pile connectors), make sure the plates or studs are resistant to corrosion. Ideally, the connectors should be thick enough to withstand strong winds, debris and water damage.

2. Ensuring adequate drainage from the foundation

During a sudden influx of water, your foundation will need to be properly drained on a regular basis. If water accumulates on top of the foundation, pressure may build up and cause your foundation to slowly disintegrate.

You can ensure adequate drainage by installing a sump pump in your basement. After the storm passes, use your pump to remove water from the basement and channel it to a storm drain. You should also install quality gutters that channel rainwater away from your home's foundation.

You may also consider hiring a contractor to install a layer of rocks around your home. If your soil is heavy and compact, it can harbour large amounts of water that sip into your foundation. With loose rocks in place, water seepage can be controlled.

5. Reinforce your garage

If you have a garage attached to the home, it can be a weak point for water entry. In particular, the garage door can be blown off and allow water to seep into underlying areas. To strengthen your garage door against this risk, seek out storm-proof doors that are heavy duty in nature. The doors should also have strong edges (that attach to your walls) and solid support at the centre.