Design & DIY

Simple ways to protect your home or cottage from spring flooding

Flooded cottage

As the spring thaw gives way to green grass, it’s hard not to start daydreaming about warm long weekends spent at the cottage.

But for cottage owners, the season should also be a time for concern—the combination of spring showers and rising temperatures can result in disastrous conditions. Melting snow produces a large amount of runoff in a short period of time that can’t be absorbed into the frozen ground, resulting in flooded basements.

We can only hope that this year’s spring melt won’t mirror that of 2013’s flooding in Huntsville or the devastating floodwaters that hit southern Alberta that same year. But we can also be prepared.

Here are seven simple ways to protect your home or cottage from spring flooding.

Check your foundation

One of the most common causes of basement flooding is a weakened foundation. Check your foundation, walls and floors for openings and seal any cracks or openings in your foundation using epoxy or masonry sealer. For more serious problems, be sure to call in a pro.

Make sure sump pump is ready for action

Check your sump pump well to ensure that it’s free of debris. And remember that sump pumps need power in order to work—a back-up generator may be a worthwhile investment. You may also consider installing a leak alarm in your basement.

Move valuables off the ground and out of the basement

If you moved valuables into the basement for safekeeping during the winter, make sure they’re on higher ground or returned to their rightful position. Important documents should be placed in watertight containers. If the sump pump gets overwhelmed, they could quickly become ruined.

Ensure your plumbing is in good condition

Protecting your cottage from flooding is a yearlong effort. Prevent plumbing blockages in the kitchen by properly disposing of kitchen grease and avoid flushing objects down your toilet. Spring is also a great time to have your sewer inspected or your septic tank cleaned.

Clean your eavestroughs

Ensure that your downspouts are draining properly. Remove any debris and position them to drain at least two metres away from your foundation. If this isn’t possible, consider adding extensions to your downspouts.

Improve lot grading or drainage

Snow should be removed from around your foundation. You can also dig downhill channels in the snow to allow meltwater to drain away from your home. Finally, planting a garden of native plants and shrubs will improve absorption of meltwater, as will porous pavement.

Do you have any other tips on how to keep your home or cottage safe from spring flooding?

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