FFE Magazine

How to flood-proof your home in the Philippines

If you bought a house and lot in the Philippines be sure that you would not get the shock of your life when you go to visit it next time you go home.

With storms getting stronger and stronger due to climate change, many are worried that we will see floods intensify in the future. While the government is cleaning up plugged drainages and relocating those who live near waterways, it is an important concern to make homes flood-proof to prevent injury, death and loss of property.

 

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Flooding is a perennial problem in the Philippines. Not only has it led to extensive damage to property, flooding also kills and displaces a lot of Filipinos, forcing them to live in makeshift homes that are very vulnerable to future floods.

Checking vulnerable neighbourhoods

The first thing to do is to know if your property is in a flood-prone area. It is your responsibility to research if your existing property or a property you’re buying is prone to flooding. If the property is in Metro Manila, check this list of flood-prone streets and neighbourhoods compiled by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA). If you are contemplating buying a property in the Philippines here are some tips to spot if the property is prone to floods.

 

To know if your neighbourhood is one of the flood-prone areas in the country, visit Nababaha.com. This site has hazard maps categorised per region. Check if a neighbourhood is one of the flood-prone areas by zooming in and out of the maps.

 

This flood map of Metro Manila from Nababaha.com follows a colour scheme that shows how high the flood waters can reach in each area

This flood map of Metro Manila from Nababaha.com follows a colour scheme that shows how high the flood waters can reach in each area

 

Flood-proofing methods for the home

Here are some reconstruction methods and areas of improvement to flood-proof your existing home:

  1. Wet flood-proof. If we can’t beat the water, then go with the flow. Wet-flood proofing involves allowing the water to pass through the lower level of the house. This balances the pressure to the home reduces the impact of structural damage brought by water.

 

The open areas under raised homes can be used as garages or storage areas for items that can easily be moved when floods threaten the neighbourhood

The open areas under raised homes can be used as garages or storage areas for items that can easily be moved when floods threaten the neighbourhood

 

To wet flood-proof a home, the existing house must be raised on sturdy foundations well away from the flood line. This technique is similar to those used by the Badjao in their homes which are raised on stilts by the seashore. Not only is this ideal for flood-prone areas, this technique also reduces the impact of storm surges and landslides to a certain degree.

 

  1. Dry flood-proofing. If raising the existing home is difficult, then the next best method to apply is to install sealants that will prevent water from entering the house. Aluminum or PVC doors and windows are watertight and do not rust. Elastomeric paint acts as a shield that covers the ‘pores’ of walls, preventing water from seeping in.

 

This flood-proof barrier can be installed and taken down conveniently depending on the threat of flood

This flood-proof barrier can be installed and taken down conveniently depending on the threat of flood

 

Applying water-proof sealants and coatings, window and door shields will stop water from seeping into the interior of the house. But this method can only be used in houses where flood water doesn’t reach higher than 3 feet. If the flood line is higher, then water pressure can still damage the house and lead to collapse.

 

  1. Elevation. This involves adding another floor on top of the existing house to serve as storage area or living space. This extra room becomes a double for the first level of the home in case floods occur.

 

With an elevated house, the owners will still have enough dry room to stay in even if the first level of the house is flooded

With an elevated house, the owners will still have enough dry room to stay in even if the first level of the house is flooded

 

Before applying this method, some factors to consider are size of the house, design, shape, access and amount of elevation since these all affect the costs of remodeling the existing house.

 

Have you ever encountered flooding problems in your home? How did you solve them? Share your experiences and suggestions by commenting below!

 

 

 

 

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