The last thing you want when you have just spent a lot of money on kitchen cabinets, new flooring, and even kitchen appliances, is for them to become damaged beyond repair due to water intrusion.
However, the infamous UK weather means that this is a problem that many of our customers often face. In fact, over 5.2 million properties in England are deemed to be at risk of flooding.
At Kitchen Warehouse, we’re not just interested in selling our products – we care about our customers and want to ensure that their investments are protected.
In this guide, we’ll look at how you can safeguard your new kitchen against flooding, what to do in the event of a flood, and how to limit the damage should the worst happen.
Keep up to date with flood advice
As we know, flooding can occur almost without warning.
That being said, it is a good idea to contact your local authority to get advice on the potential for your home being flooded.
Even though some houses suffer water damage in areas where the risk is quite low, getting expert advice on your location, drainage situation, and other environmental factors can really help you prepare for a flood.
Also, sign up to the Environment Agency twitter alerts (@EnvAgency) to get up-to-date information on potential floods. This will ensure you’re updated with breaking news regarding flooding and heavy rainfall, giving you enough time to prepare for any eventual water intrusion.
How do I know if my home is at risk of flooding?
If you are wondering if your home, or a house you are considering purchasing, is at long term risk of flooding, the easiest way to find out is to visit the government’s long term flood risk assessment page. This allows you to enter your postcode (or that of a property you are considering buying) and find out the flood risk level.
The website categorises flood risk from rivers and the sea, and also surface water from rainfall. They are grouped into four primary risk levels. These are:
- High risk (over 3.3%)
- Medium risk (1% -3.3%)
- Low risk (0.1% – 1%)
- Very low risk (under 0.1%)
What do the different flood warnings mean?
Flood warnings are grouped into categories, including:
- Flood alert – This means that flooding is possible and is usually announced several days in advance of any anticipated flooding.
- Flood warning – A flood is expected. This is the point at which you should take some of the steps outlined below and make plans to evacuate.
- Severe warning – Flooding is imminent and poses a serious threat to life.
If you live in an area which is often at risk of flooding, it may be a good idea to sign up to the Environment Agency’s Flood Warnings direct service which keeps you up to date on flood risk in your location.
How to flood-proof your home
Whilst it’s impossible to make your property completely safe from flooding, you can take numerous steps to defend your home from flood water entering, limiting the damage to both your home and your belongings.
The Environment Agency lists two ways in which you can protect your property.
The first is ‘flood resistance.’ This means taking steps to prevent water from entering in the first place.
The second is making your home ‘flood resilient’. This means taking steps to minimise the damage done from flood water which enters the building. Flood resilience strategies are used where flood resistance measures cannot be put in place due to building structure, cost, or other factors, or where flood resistance measures may fail.
How to make your home flood resistant
Floodwater can enter a property through a vast range of routes. The most obvious being areas such as doors, and patios – but also through airbricks, drains and pipes.
Blocking off these routes helps to protect floodwater from getting into your home in the first place. They could be temporary measures that you put in place when you are aware that you are at risk from flooding in the near future, or you could have them in place permanently.
Temporary measures to stop water entering your home include:
- Placing of sandbags
- Putting up barriers on doors and windows – such as boards
- Adding covers to air bricks, appliance vents and cat flaps
- Toilet plugs and pipe bungs
Permanent ways to protect from flood water entering your home include:
- Fitting specialist flood doors and windows
- Adding non return valves on drains and pipes
- Painting your home using water resistant paints
- Choosing anti-flood bricks
- Creating flood barriers or water diversions by way of garden landscaping and layout
When water gets in – how to make your home flood resilient
In some instances, it’s not possible to entirely avoid water getting into your house. This is where flood resilience comes into play – reducing the amount of damage caused and protecting items within your home.
Flood resilience measures which can be taken include:
- Raising electric sockets to a level which is likely to be above flood water levels
- Choosing flood resilient paints and flooring
- Resilient insulation
- Installing pumping systems
- Making sure TVs are wall mounted at a high level
How to prepare in the event of a flood warning
One of the best ways to be ready for a flood is to make sure that you are prepared. Here are some of the most important things to consider when a flood warning is in place in your area.
- Pack a bag that includes important documents, medicines, and belongings. Don’t forget to include insurance documents, as you are likely to need to access these should a flood cause damage to your home. If you live in a high-risk area, it may be wise to keep this on standby whenever there is any risk of flooding.
- When you know that a flood is likely, start moving furniture and belongings to the upper floors. This is the time at which you should implement your temporary protective measures, such as placing sandbags around the entry areas to you home. This is also the time to add boards to windows and add covers to air bricks.
- When a flood is imminent, remember that the most important thing is the safety of you and your family. Be sure to cooperate with any evacuation plan, and work quickly to get to safety.
- Turn off all gas, electric, and water supplies, if water is close to entering your home, but only if it is safe to do so. If water has already begun to get inside the home, DO NOT touch any electricity sources, as this can lead to electric shock.
- Put plugs into your sinks and baths and consider weighing them down with sandbags or other heavy objects.
- It can be easy to underestimate how dangerous flood water is. For example, sharp objects can easily be hidden. Just six inches of fast flowing water can knock over an adult, and two feet of water is enough to move a car.
So, now we’ve covered the Environment Agency’s official advice on how to make your home both flood resistant and flood resilient, let’s move on to specific measures you can take to flood-proof your kitchen.
Protecting your kitchen from flood damage
Your kitchen is likely to be one of the rooms in your home that will cost the most to repair if flooded. After all, we tend to spend a lot of money on kitchen units and fittings – and, unlike our furniture, these are items which are not easily removed when we know a flood is coming.
However, there are some measures which you are able to take both to protect parts of the kitchen, and also to make them more resilient should flood water get in. Take a look at these measures below.
- Turning off the electricity to the affected room is crucial. This can be easily done via the fuse box in your home.
- Remove any furniture from the room, such as chairs and tables, to prevent them from being damaged. For any furnishings that you can’t move, a good tip is to wrap the legs with aluminium foil. This will prevent significant damage if the water level isn’t too high.
- Choosing kitchen units which are on legs (with a removable kickboard) offers some resistance against lower rainwater – as the units are raised.
- Consider removing kitchen doors if you know a flood is on its way. If this is not possible, ensure that you cover any kitchen units with watertight plastic sheeting.
- Consider a raised plinth for appliances such as your fridge freezer or washing machine, as this will help to protect them from damage.
- Consider choosing waterproof flooring. There are a number of laminates available which are 100% waterproof and will mean that there is no need to replace your flooring in the event of a flood. For those who prefer tiles, opt for waterproof adhesive and grout.
- Choose waterproof coating for paintwork and ensure that any tiling uses waterproof grouting.
- Water can enter through drains and pipes, as the water pressure created by flooding can reverse the flow. This means that water can come back up the pipes and enter your home via sinks, washing machines etc. Consider adding non-return valves to your drainpipes to prevent this.
- Flood guards and barriers are a very effective method of reducing the chances of water coming into your kitchen. These can be fitted to the external doors in your home and create a reliable way to prevent water intrusion. Sealing drainage pipe surrounds and flood-proof airbricks (or at least covering them) will also work well.
- Water tolerant plasterboard that is one metre above floor level for existing homes, or from top to bottom for new builds, is another effective method of limiting water damage.
- Whilst our kitchen cabinets are highly durable and will withstand the everyday rigour of a busy family kitchen with ease, flooding can cause significant damage to them.
MDF kitchen cabinets, for instance, can warp if they are exposed to a significant water level. Stainless steel or solid wood kitchen cabinets provide much better water resistance than MDF, and will therefore stand a better chance of surviving flood damage.
If there are frequent flood warnings in your area, with a very real risk of water entering your home, then you should consider taking some of the measures we’ve mentioned above to limit any damage.
Unfortunately for many people, flooding can occur without warning, so some of these measures aren’t always possible.
If this has been the case for you, and your kitchen has been flooded, your kitchen could still be salvageable. Read on to find out steps you can take to limit the damage.
Cleaning up your kitchen after a flood
Whilst prevention is always better than cure, sometimes severe weather and extreme rainfall mean that it’s just not possible to prevent flooding in your kitchen. If you’re unlucky enough to find yourself in this situation, there are some helpful tips that can help you with the clean-up process.
Air out your kitchen after a flood
The weather warnings have passed, and you’ve removed the worst of the flood water from your home. The next step in getting your kitchen back to normal is to let it air out.
It sounds basic, but it’s vital that you air your kitchen out properly, even if only a small amount of water has managed to enter the room. By opening doors and windows, your kitchen cabinet doors, units, and furnishings will have a chance to dry out thoroughly.
You should also open all your kitchen cabinet doors, even if they are above the level that the water came to. Fans are also a very useful tool here, as they encourage air circulation.
It’s important to do this prior to starting work on your deep clean, because doing so with a lot of moisture still present in the room will make your cleaning less effective.
If you have wood furnishings, wipe them down with a dry cloth to get rid of moisture.
Once the kitchen has dried out sufficiently, you can proceed to the next stage – a deep clean.
Deep cleaning your kitchen after a flood
The kind of cleaning your kitchen will require after a flood will be much more intense than a quick wipe around with the anti-bac. Imagine your normal kitchen cleaning routine, then times it by about 10!
It means cleaning every part of your kitchen, even those little corners and the hidden bits you never normally bother with. This will not only get rid of any damp, but also remove bacteria and germs that thrive in moist conditions.
You’ll need anti-bacterial spray, limescale remover, furniture polish, floor cleaner and oven cleaner for this.
Using desiccants such as silica gel, clay or calcium oxide can help to absorb moisture. This can help to dry out tricky areas such as the insides of kitchen cupboards, airing cupboards or awkward nooks and crannies.
If mould does start to form, consider using commercial mould and mildew removers to remove it.
Be sure to discard wet objects – such as furniture or carpets – to help to reduce the moisture levels inside your home. Throw away any wet insulation under flooring, and remove any vinyl or lino to promote evaporation.
Take out your fridge and freezer shelves and soak them in warm soapy water. Do the same for your oven rack and any other shelves that can be soaked in water.
In summary, after a flood, you should clean your kitchen in a rigorous manner, making sure that every part of your appliances, units and kitchen cabinet doors are scrubbed effectively. Even parts of your kitchen that are seemingly unaffected by flood water should be cleaned with the same amount of effort as those that are.
Does my house insurance cover flood damage?
The average cost of fixing flood damage on a house in the UK is £50,000, so it’s important that you choose the right insurance to cover flood damage.
If you live in an area which is deemed to be at high risk, or have previously experienced flooding in your home, you may find it hard to find affordable insurance. However, there are specialist agencies who will cover these types of property, and it’s worth undertaking comparisons.
There are two types of insurance for your home. Buildings insurance covers the structure of your home and will help with costs relating to structural damage or exterior damage caused by flooding.
Contents insurance should cover replacing belongings and fittings such as curtains, carpets or kitchen units that have been damaged by flooding.
Even if you rent your property, you need to ensure that you have contents insurance to cover your belongings.
How Kitchen Warehouse can help with flood damage
We have witnessed the devastating effects of flood damage first hand. Many homeowners have found their kitchens either partially or completely submerged in water. Unfortunately, flood damage is sometimes so extensive that a new kitchen is the only option, as even a small amount of water can have drastic consequences.
There are a couple of factors that set Kitchen Warehouse apart from other kitchen suppliers.
Firstly, we cut out the middle man, selling our kitchens directly to the end user. This means that we can afford to make our prices extremely competitive.
Secondly, we care about our customers. This is why we have created a discount code – Flood5. Use this code to receive a 5% discount on all our website prices if you need to buy replacement kitchen doors, or even entirely new kitchen units, as a result of flood damage.
Chat about kitchen flood damage with an expert
While flooding can be devastating, by taking these steps, you can help to reduce the impact of a flood on your home.
If your kitchen has been irreparably damaged by flooding and you want some expert advice, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
We’ll work with you, listening carefully to your requirements and helping you to find a product that meets your needs and budget.