Britain endured severe flash flooding over the weekend, with a month’s worth of rain fall within 3 hours. Hundreds of properties have fallen victim to structural and water damage as a result. The Association of British Insurers states that 1.7 million homes and 130,000 commercial properties are at risk from flooding in England, a real estate risk worth over £200 billion. We say ‘our home is our castle’ and yet, in a recent survey conducted by Aviva, it revealed that very few home owners check the exterior of their properties.
We urge all homeowners to check the key areas to the exterior of their property on a regular basis. Structural damage may not necessarily be evident for some time after the flood. From regular checks on a property, a homeowner will be in a better position to identify the tell-tale signs of damage to brickwork.
Buildings with cracks left untreated and exposed in exterior brickwork are more vulnerable to water damage in flood situations.
Flood water will tend to find its way and penetrate “weak” points in the building such as areas where there is cracking. Cracks to walls, within the brick, blockwork, mortar joints or render, provide a direct path for floodwater to enter a property. Properties with cracks below the expected maximum flood level should most certainly be repaired to minimise potential damage. Where flood depths exceed 1m, there is a risk of structural damage and collapse, particularly if the water exerts pressure on only one side of a wall.
Most modern properties built from the 1930s onwards are constructed with Cavity Walls. Cavity walls have an air gap (typically measuring between 50 and 100mm wide) between an inner wall and an outer wall.
Floodwater can pass through the outer leaf of the cavity wall, through cracks. Once it has passed through the crack, floodwater can build up within the cavity, saturate the insulation, and soak into the inner leaf. Thus the cavity allows water to migrate along the walls and can make it difficult to dry out. Where a cavity appears in Timber-frame constructed walls, water can build up within the cavity and also soak into the inner timber frame construction.
Follow these 6 tips
Good exterior maintenance will limit the amount of water that can seep through masonry walls. Make the following checks on a regular basis;
1. Changes in the line or appearance of a roof ridge (best observed from a distance).
2. Buckling of walls, identified by horizontal cracking or areas that appear to have moved out of vertical alignment.
3. Vertical or diagonal cracks to walls.
4. Bulging / bowing or dislodged wall sections of the property.
5. Deep scouring which has lead to exposed foundations.
6. Any cracks bigger than 2mm.
If you notice any of these signs, contact Helifix and our expert team will be able to advise you on the most suitable and cost-effective repair solution. Freephone 0800 731 7732 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .