Flood related problems

Whenever the weather turns bad, and flooding occurs, we are saddened at the lack of understanding by insurers and builders in general about drying out and repairing homes affected. Old buildings are breathable. The traditional materials they are built with are inherently 'flooding resilient'.  The buzzwords at times like this are 'flood resilience', and 'drying process', and we see a rush of surveyors and insurers recommending all sorts of ridiculous chemical strategies to 'prevent' damage in the future. There's one thing everyone needs to understand here - You cannot fight water!  You have to go with the flow as it were - accept that it can get into your home, but make it really easy for the building to dry out afterwards - on its own.

Firstly, if your house has been flooded, you have a right to appoint your own surveyor. The insurance company will want their own loss adjuster to go in and tell you what should be done. You will then find all sorts of strange people get involved who have no knowledge of how to repair and restore an old house.  They will try to specify modern methods and materials, which will simply trap moisture into the structure, and cause problems in the future. We deal with long term moisture problems in houses affected like this on a regular basis.  It is vital that you insist on using someone who knows and understands old buildings and traditional construction.

To repeat - You have a right to appoint your own surveyor, who will then work with your insurer to specify the CORRECT way of getting your house back into tip top condition.  This will NOT involve the use of tanking, waterproofing, modern materials like cement and gypsum, or membranes.

Drying of flood affected buildings is something that almost always goes wrong. You cannot dry old building fabric quickly. Rates of drying are around 1 inch of wall thickness per 3 months.  Insurance companies will specify drying contractors who go in with heat, and blowers. These dry the surface, but fail to remove deep seated water within walls and under floors. They then 'certify' the building as dry, and in go contractors who slop tanking cement, membrane, gypsum plaster and worse, all over the internal walls and floors. This traps residual moisture into the structure, and a gradual process of deterioration starts - which can often take months or years to reveal itself.

What is ACTUALLY needed is the opposite approach - the use of breathable materials that allow drying to carry on naturally even after you think the building is dried out. Not only are these materials - lime plaster, clay paints, and so on, breathable - but they are the most 'flooding relilient' materials on the planet. They allow water to pass through the structure, and leave it as water recedes, to dry quickly and naturally.

Read on, in the pages we've added here - we try to unravel some of the hype that is produced at times of flooding, and the utter rubbish that people are told, and show you how to recover quickly, and in the right way.




So you have been flooded - What Now?
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