Recently, Seattle and Tacoma residents and officials watched helplessly as torrential rains caused flooding in many neighborhoods. Parts of Washington saw rain and snow totals that were 200 to 600 percent over normal precipitation amounts. The fact is, homes all over the state are at risk of or already suffering flood damage.
Additionally, due to the increased chance of flooding in coastal areas across the US, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has redrawn flood maps. FEMA recently raised the base flood elevations in the Tacoma area by several feet, meaning a new area of homes along Washington’s shoreline are expected to be vulnerable to intermittent flooding.
No matter where you live in Washington, climate extremes and flood-plain changes are your signal to act now to flood-proof your home.
Flood-Proofing Takes Many Forms
How best to flood-proof your home depends on your property’s elevation, topography, and drainage. The type of home foundation you have is also key. Whether you have a basement, crawlspace, or slab, there are specific methods to waterproof your foundation. No method is guaranteed to prevent all flooding, but most methods will protect a home in the average heavy-rainfall situation.
New drainage tiles may need to be installed where water pools in your basement or crawlspace. Your foundation pillars may need to be waterproofed, and the area around the pillars may need to be graded and drained. Repairs should be made to any leaks or degraded mortar in foundation masonry. The area around your foundation should be landscaped and drained to divert water away from the home.
Doing Nothing Could Cost You
In some areas of Washington’s coast, homes that are now effectively in official flood plains will be grandfathered in and allowed to be inhabited. That special status changes if the newly designated homes are damaged, rebuilt, or renovated. In those cases, the homes must be built at a higher elevation to reflect the new base flood elevation.
It’s wise to stop severe flood damage to your home now by flood-proofing your basement or crawlspace. Then, your home will be more likely to withstand high waters, and you won’t be required to completely rebuild your home sooner than you can afford to. When you have taken the proper precautions such as these preventive measures, you can buy yourself time, especially if you live on the edge of a floodplain.
Insurance Issues Are Compounding the Storm
Many parcels in Pierce County were actually removed from the flood zones in the new maps. This change ends a mandatory requirement to carry flood insurance, which FEMA must provide if the home is in a flood plain and has a mortgage. Some mortgage lenders will still demand that you continue carrying flood insurance even if your property is removed from the flood zone. Flood-proofing your home may help lower your monthly insurance premiums in that case.
Flood insurance premiums have risen drastically in recent years. FEMA is advising that its premiums will increase by 25 percent each year as it phases out the coverage. Property owners will need to spend $1,000 on an elevation certificate if they want to prove their structures are not at a high risk of flooding.
If you do no waterproofing, thinking your insurance will cover you in case of a deluge, you may be in for a rude awakening. Your “flood” insurance may not compensate you for flood damage due to tidal surges or storms. Read the fine print and make sure you’re actually covered for flood damage with your current policy before you forgo the installation of proper flood protection.
Selling Your Home Is a Big Consideration
Even if your property is not in a flood plain, waterproofing and draining your basement or crawlspace adds value to your home. You won’t have to spend time mopping up pools of water or pulling up ruined carpet. Your home will be more valuable to the buyer who wants all of the safeguards possible in a new home.
Basement and crawlspace flood-proofing, when done by professionals, makes a home more secure. When your floor sills and joists are kept dry and sound, your home is on a more solid foundation. The work also makes the home’s foundation look well-maintained and tidy.
Shrewd home buyers love to tour homes on rainy days to check out leaks and drainage issues. When you have your home’s foundation waterproofed or encapsulated by the pros, buyers are going to choose your home over other properties with musty basements and wet crawl spaces. By making the necessary changes now, you ensure that you get the highest return on your investment.
The experts at Perma-Dry Waterproofing & Drainage, Inc are ready to help you flood-proof your Tacoma area residence. Contact us today to schedule an inspection of your property and a discussion of all the options to keep it dry and secure.